Date:14 October 2016
Happy iPhone day South Africa. Yes, today many of you will be lovingly caressing a brand new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus and be contributing to Apple’s world domination. I’m an active participant, just read my ode to the excellence of the iPhone SE – Apple’s previous new iPhone. We’re all sheep, and I think that’s a good thing.
To say I’m disappointed that the Cupertino-based overlords didn’t bless us with the terribly-named AirPods alongside the new handsets would be an understatement. I’m really into Bluetooth audio and am salivating at the opportunnity to try out the latest advancement in the technology. I’m also fully aware that the AirPod is actually the most important new launch.
You see, Apple knows it will sell iPhones by the boat load. The new iPhones are the best iPhones yet, and the iDevice ecosystem is the most mature technology family on the planet. So what are Apple actually selling this time around? Siri.
Many of my tech writing peers believe that Apple has squandered its lead in the realm of AI and Virtual Assistant. Google put on a great show with the Pixel-only Google Assistant at the company’s last product launch, but the AirPods will do more to make talking to your phone mainstream.
Think about it: the wireless earbuds have no buttons.
You want to turn up the volume handsfree? Ask Siri. there’s also no physical button to wake the Virtual Assistant, you have to tap the device and summon it with the prerequisite command.
All your interaction with your device while wearing AirPods, at least, is done via Siri. The company stripped the headphone jack to force users to interact wirelessly and make chatting to Siri just a tiny hurdle in logic away. And that’s how the company further entrenches itself as the leader in on-device artificial intelligence.
To me, that’s what Apple are playing at. The company is breaking down the barriers between the user and the device. It’s a very subtle approach, but a powerful one. And one that I fully support.