San Francisco Chronicle’s Casey Newton:

Apple isn’t the first to build voice controls into its operating system. Phones running on Google’s Android have long had a microphone icon built into the virtual keyboard, and the Microsoft Kinect allows users to navigate the Xbox 360 using simple spoken commands.

But Siri, which is derived from a popular app of the same name that Apple acquired last year, improves on its predecessors with its ability to take a sentence like “Reschedule my meeting with Jason for Thursday at noon,” break it into relevant parts, and perform the action.

I’m continually amazed by how good Siri is sometimes, and other times how she (excuse me, it) can be rather confused.  I spend a good part of my commute on foot to and from the train, and Siri has allowed me to set reminders and compose text messages without taking the iPhone out of my pocket.  Other times I’ve tried to test it with slightly more complex questions (“what are the prime numbers”) and it will come back with a goofy response (“here are a list of prime restaurants in your area”).

Since the heavy lifting is happening on the server side the functionality will only improve without having to update any software on the phone.

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