“The success of semi-smart voice assistants opens the gates to new convenience and new frustration. We use them in the street, on public transport, in the home , office, even the car, but there’s a problem,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “The problem is that most voice assistants, including Siri, don’t have offline modes.”

“That’s frustrating for Apple users. It means you can’t use Siri to control your AirPods when you are in AirPlane Mode, won’t get any data when you try to search your Mac, and can’t discreetly ask for directions using your wired earbuds if you find yourself lost with no network connection in a bad part of town,” Evans writes. “Siri’s fatal flaw is its need to be online in order to function – it needs to speak to the Siri server to engage in the pattern matching and machine intelligence that drive its breed of semi-AI.”

“Apple wouldn’t even need to invest a huge amount in R&D in order to boost Siri with a little offline action – after all, Google already supports offline mode and the company’s aged Voice Control (retired post Siri) could already do these things,” Evans writes. “I don’t think Siri needs to be able to everything it can do online when offline. It makes perfect sense to simply support a limited number of useful features in Siri Offline Mode.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How about, for starters, simply making Voice Control active when there is no network connection without disabling Siri?

Then just build out Voice Control to handle more tasks (see Evans’ collection of commands in his full article).

As we wrote just before Christmas:

If you live in an area with poor cell coverage, you know all to well valuable an offline-capable Siri would be.

Even though Voice Control was later replaced by Siri, it’s still available in iOS:

1. Tap the Settings app
2. Tap General
3. Tap Siri
4. Slide the Siri slider to off.

Now, when you use voice-activation features, you’ll be using Voice Control.

Voice Control only works when Siri is disabled.

Play or pause music: Say “play music.” To pause, say “pause,” “pause music,” or “stop.” You can also say “next song” or “previous song.”

Play an album, artist, or playlist: Say “play album,” “play artist,” or “play playlist” followed by the name of the artist, album, or playlist you wish to play.

Find out more about the current song: Say “what’s playing,” “who sings this song,” or “who is this song by.”

Making voice calls: Press and hold the Home button, say “call” or “dial,” then say the name or number. You can add “at home,” “work,” or “mobile.” For example:
– “Call Steve’s mobile”
– “Call the fire department”
– “Redial that last number”

Apple’s AirPods show just how badly Siri needs an offline mode – December 23, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]