Another Siri Fail

I had a fun little interaction with my iPhone, Messages, Apple Maps, Car Play, and Siri last night that sublimely illustrates how far Siri has fallen behind.

The scenario: My wife took a drive last night to drop off one of our cars to my son who goes to college nearby. The plan was that my wife would drive drive the car that was to be dropped off and then I would leave home about an hour later and drive over to pick her up because we were then going somewhere else.

Before I left home, I wasn’t fully sure exactly where my wife would be so I checked “Find My Friend” to pinpoint her location and used that location for my directions. After I left home, my wife texted me to go to a different location. And this was the interaction with Siri via Car Play:

Wife (Read to me by Siri via Car Play): Go to parking lot behind the student center.

Me (dictating to Siri via Car Play): OK. No problem. Send me your exact location.

Wife: Sends me an Apple Maps location pin via Messages/text of the above location.

Siri reading my Wife’s last text: [Wife] responded with a text I can’t read.

So here I am driving my car as Siri says that it is unable to read the text that she sent with her location. You would think that Apple’s iOS should have been aware that the device is in “Car Play” mode, and that I was actively at that moment using Apple Maps Directions. So based on that, if an Apple Maps location pin is sent via Messages, Siri should have then been able to detect that an Apple Maps location pin was included in the message and deliver, at minimum, a ‘canned’ message to that effect, instead of saying that it can’t read the contents of the message at all. To me, Siri should have be able to assess the situation and contents of the message and audibly say “[Sender] has sent you an Apple Maps location. Would you like to open this location in Apple Maps?” The next level, super smart move would have been for Siri to also ask “Do you want this location pin to be set as my Apple Maps Directions destination?” All of these apps are native Apple iOS apps, so there should not have been any 3rd party/’walled garden’ or privacy situations present.

After Siri responded saying it could not read the text, at the next stop light, I had to then quickly grab my phone, open it, open Messages, get to my wife’s text, click on the location pin, which then opened in Apple Maps, and set that as my new Apple Maps Directions destination.

So I’ll acknowledge that this is a ‘first world’ problem and that the pro move would probably have been to call my wife instead of handling this via text while I am driving in my car. Yet even if I called her, she would have then had to tell me her location and I would still would have had to find a way to input that specific information into Apple Maps so I knew where to go. However, Apple’s Car Play is designed to handle this exact scenario. Or so one would think.

Hey Siri. You Stink.

I commute into NYC for work and as part of that commute, I have to drive to my local transit station, which is at most a 5-8 minute drive from my house. And like many people in this situation, I use a “commuter car” that we have had for a long time – in my case a 2004 Honda Pilot (which is a great car as evidenced by the fact that you still see a *ton* of these models on the road today). It gets me to the station and back. This is a model that – gasp – has a tape deck in the dashboard and does not have Bluetooth!

So to bring the car into the modern era, several months ago I purchased a handy Bluetooth adapter that can flow my favorite Podcasts through the car’s audio system. When I get in the car, most times my iPhone 8 will connect automatically to the adapter’s Bluetooth signal. But there are times when that does not happen – not a big deal. Now here is where things get frustrating. So in these circumstances, you would *think* I could just say “Hey Siri, connect my iPhone to Bluetooth signal ‘ABCD'” and the phone would connect. I mean, it seems like a pretty basic function to enable. But no! Instead, Siri says “Sorry, can’t do that” and gives me a link to the Bluetooth section of my iPhone settings. I then need to go into that interface, select the correct Bluetooth signal and wait for it to pair.

It is little things like this that you would think Siri would be able to handle, especially using the new Siri Shortcuts feature, however from the research I’ve done, this is in fact not possible (yet).

Just a miss on an interaction that Apple should have considered.