Siri launched in 2011 and can now be found on all modern iPhones and iPads. It’s a virtual digital assistant that uses natural language voice control and sequential inference to listen to what you want and provide the best possible information or answer it can provide. It can help you stay connected, organize your life, and get thing done both professional and personal. It can also do a lot of cool tricks… all you have to do is know what to ask!
1. The name’s Bond… No, not boned!
Siri will default to using your name and the name of your contacts. If you want to change that, tell Siri: “Call me ‘honey muffin’ ” or “Gwendolyn is my mom”. If Siri has trouble pronouncing a name or nickname, tell it: “That’s not how you pronounce ‘A Lie’!” and it will ask you for the correct pronunciation.
2. Cone of silence!
If you were out way too late, if you need to get some work done and people just won’t leave you alone, if all you want is a little peace and quiet, tell Siri: “Do not disturb”. If you want to go nuclear, you can tell it: “Delete all alarms” and even “Airplane mode”.
3. Are we there yet?
Not only can Siri take you where you need to go, it can tell you how long it will take you to get there. You can tell it: “Take me home” to get quick directions. “Walking directions to Starbucks” if you prefer sneaker to tire. Even “ETA” to find out how much longer you have to go.
4. Remember the… bacon!
Siri is the faster way to add anything to a Reminders list, and that means it’s the fastest way to add anything to a shopping, packing, party, or any other list. To get specific, tell Siri: “Add bacon to shopping list” or “Add bacon to packing list” (what?).
Thanks to Wolfram Alpha, Siri is great with numbers. For simple math, ask Siri: “What’s 10 times 10?” or “What’s the square root of 50?”. For tips, ask: “What’s the tip on $100”. For conversions: “How many kilometers in a mile”. For chance, tell it: “Flip a coin” or “roll the dice”.
6. What birthday…?
Instead of excusing yourself, racing upstairs, jumping out the window, and tearing off to the only open Quicky Mart, ask Siri: “When’s Kelly’s birthday?”, then: “Set a reminder” for the date or, f it’s already too late: “Buy an iTunes gift card!”.
7. Directed dictation
When you’re telling Siri what to type, you can dictate punctuation like “comma” or “elipses”, symbols like “hashtag” and “copyright sign”, and even emoticons: “smiley” or “winky”. You can format with “new line” or “new paragraph”, prevent formatting with “hyper no space space”, and get loud with “ALL CAPS”.
8. Keep current
Siri can set reminders, make appointments, send messages and email, Tweet or post to Facebook, but it can also keep you up to date. Ask Siri: “What time is sunset in Cupertino?”, “What’s the weather in London?”, “What’s on my calendar?”, “Planes overhead?”, “Pictures of the Golden Globes”, or “Trending on Twitter”.
9. Win fights and influence diets
Siri can quickly settle arguments, bar bets, and flat-out fights. Ask Siri: “Who starred in the Matrix?”, “Who won the last SuperBowl?”, “What did Apple close at?”, or “How many calories are in a Big Mac?”. And if you’re wrong and end up paying for dinner or a movie, Siri can find you tickets and book a table at a restaurant as well.
10. Do over!
If Siri gets something wrong, or if you realize you asked the wrong question, you can tel Siri to: “Change” things like dates and times. You can even tap the question you asked and manually type in different words to alter the query.
11. Goodnight, Siri
When HomeKit accessories start hitting the shelves this spring, we’ll be able to use Siri to turn off and shut down our homes: “Goodnight” or, my preference, “Crash the compound”. While we’re waiting, we can still get Siri to read us a birthday story. Just ask thrice.
12. Bonus: chit chat!
Siri has a sense of humor. Kids can talk to Siri like a virtual friend. Kids of all ages just have some fun. You can give Siri all sorts of pop culture references: “What do you think of Google Now?”, “tell me a joke”, or “Will you marry me?”.