Lots of people were tuned in to the Apple announcement event Tuesday afternoon waiting for the company to unveil its latest phone. We learned about the iPhone 4S, and all the upgraded technology behind it, but what struck me as the most interesting thing to come out of the presentation was the arrival of Siri. Siri is Apple’s new iPhone assistant that will come with the new iOS5 software which will be released on Wednesday, October 12.
It does lots of cool stuff. You can use your voice to ask it for directions to a Chinese restaurant. You can ask it for movie times or to send you a reminder to call your wife. It can also give you the weather. Wait, what? That’s my job. During the Apple presentation, the slide displays weather related questions like “What is the upcoming forecast?” or “Do I need an umbrella today?” or even “Is the weather going to get worse today?” These are all questions my wife asks me on the way out the door in the morning, and now Siri says it has all the answers.
Pretty scary stuff perhaps. Let’s take a look back and see how we got here. Fifteen years ago you had to wait around until the 6pm news came on, and hope you weren’t in the bathroom or on the phone when the broadcast meteorologist came on to give the forecast. Broadband internet came along, but you still had to be in front of your computer, with an internet connection, and log on to the web site. Just a few years ago, the use to mobile and smart-phones soared. Today the forecast is in the palm of your hand, although you still need to launch the app and read the forecast for your area code.
Local television stations have tried to keep up, although slowly. Stations have increased the amount of news casts and weather hits within the day. They’ve launched websites and apps, and push weather information nearly around the clock to Facebook and Twitter. It seemed like we were keeping up with the technology and trends, but Siri may have changed that today. If you break down all the barriers to getting information, will it really matter where its coming from? Can it get any easier than asking your phone?
Who knows where the Apple iPhone weather app gets their information. Maybe I’ll ask Siri next week. Who knows how accurate the information will be, but if it is that easy to use will anyone really care? Most people carry the misconception that broadcast meteorologists are usually wrong anyway, so will it matter when Siri busts the five-day forecast? I think what is important to see is that the technology is there, regardless of the content. The delivery method is getting shorter and shorter.
It will be interesting to see how voice assisted, artificial intelligence on mobile phones does. I still think I’ll be here in ten years giving people the weather forecast. I still feel that most people will want weather content from people they trust, especially when things get nasty. There is no doubt though that the playing field is changing at an acceleration rate, and my iPhone now wants my job.
What do you think? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.