Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Siri users generally happy, but don't use it that often

Apple shows its Siri voice assistant doing a huge number of tasks in its computer. Most users are using only a few functions of what is possibly the greatest sales pitch between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4.

Consulting group Parks Associates surveyed 482 owners of the iPhone 4S, which is the only device to carry Siri (for now). Examples of things that Siri can be asked are "is it going to rain tomorrow" or "wake me up at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow." That's not how most consumers are using Siri, though.

87 percent of those who own the iPhone 4S use at least one feature of its Siri virtual assistant monthly. Most of that use, though, is to make phone calls and send text messages, or to look up information. About a third of iPhone 4S owners perform those functions daily or almost daily using Siri.

That said, voice assistants that can make calls and send text messages have been around for a long time, including on Android (such as Vlingo or even Google's Voice Actions). Of course, those "assistants" don't include Siri's snarkiness.

Other functions, such as sending emails, see an even split in terms of use vs. non-use. 30 percent of iPhone 4S owners say they have never used Siri to send an email, while 26 percent say they use Siri to send email daily or almost daily.

Things you'll see on Apple's ads, such as playing music and scheduling meetings aren't often done using Siri. 32 percent and 35 percent, respectively, said they had never used Siri in those ways.

The survey respondents echoed other users: Siri continues to struggle to understand accents and needs silence to work effectively. With that, 55 percent of those surveyed were very satisfied with Siri, 20 percent were satisfied, 9 percent were dissatisfied, and the rest were neutral.

Siri was released in beta form, and users have been challenged by lack of server access, which renders Siri useless, and other flaws in the software. Earlier this month, a class action lawsuit was filed, saying that Apple has misrepresented Siri and that the feature does not work as advertised.


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