Bajarin: Apple’s iPhone 4S with Siri launch a pivotal moment in tech, but many missed its significance

“While many people were disappointed that Apple introduced an iPhone 4S, rather than an iPhone 5, two weeks back, most missed the fact that they were witnessing history,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine.

“In 1984, when Steve Jobs introduced the Mac, he momentously introduced the graphical user interface. Then he actually topped himself by presenting another technology: the mouse. (The mouse was first introduced with the Lisa but not popularized until the Mac.) In essence, he introduced the next user input device that has been at the heart of personal computing for nearly two decades,” Bajarin writes. “In 2007, Jobs and his team did it again with the introduction of the iPhone. He did not invent touch computing. That technology has been around for more than 20 years via pen input or minimally within desktop touch UIs like those used in HP’s Touchsmart desktops. However, he married it to iOS and gave the world a completely new way to interact with small, handheld computers. With the new touch gestures part of its laptop trackpad designs, Apple has even extended it to the core Mac portable computing platform. Basically, Jobs’ second UI act brought touch UIs to mainstream computing.”

Bajarin writes, “Now we meet Siri, integrated into iOS. Jobs and the Apple team have given something to the world that it will look back on and regard as the next major user input technology: voice and speech. But we will also realize that the real breakthrough is in Siri’s applied artificial intelligence. It is its speech comprehension that will be its greatest advancement… Yes folks, for those of us at the iPhone 4S launch, we witnessed history being made. Unfortunately, a lot of people at that event missed it.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple gave Siri AI personal assistant its edge – October 16, 2011
Apple’s iPhone luring people to ditch BlackBerries, Nokias, Android-based phones – October 15, 2011
Woz: Siri wil change everything (with video) – October 14, 2011
Apple iPhone 4S hands-on: Noticeably faster, amazing camera, Siri is mind-blowing – October 13, 2011
iPhone 4S’s intelligent assistant Siri shows off her sense of humor – October 13, 2011
Wired reviews Apple iPhone 4S: The ‘S’ stands for Siri, a life-changer, the reason people should buy this phone – October 12, 2011
WSJ’s Walt Mossberg reviews Apple iPhone 4S: Siri artificial-intelligence has to be tried to be believed – October 12, 2011
Stuff.tv hands-on with Apple iPhone 4S: Siri is amazing! (with video) – October 11, 2011

19 Comments

  1. I agree. It seems so often at apple events that a lot of people are oblivious to innovation until it catches on. Siri is truly big. Another silent giant step in tech by Apple.

  2. Most people did not miss the significance of the iPhone 4S announcement. For proof, look at first weekend sales records.

    Most tech bloggers did miss the significance. For proof, check the archives of most all serious Apple tech blogs and see what they were saying for the 12 hours after the announcement.

    1. A pattern is emerging: bloggers want to be First.

      They reason that, since no one can keep topping themselves forever, Apple must fail at some point. Call this Assumption #1.

      Going forward with this assumption, they analyze the rumor mill, hold a finger to the wind, then conclude that Apple must have arrived at that point of failure.

      Then, they touch up the “meh” review, story, or opinion piece that they have prepared in advance (to save time), and quickly post it to the internet, crossing their fingers and thinking to themselves “FIRST!”

      One way or another, they artfully wiggle out of the hot seat after having been proven insightless. Time passes. Eventually, the bloggers, relying on a new assumption, Assumption #2 (that people are forgetful, unconcerned, or just too lazy to investigate the bloggers’ abysmal track records), repeat the process, certain that the odds have increased that Apple will fail this time (Assumption #1).

      The motivation for this behavior is money. Bloggers only make a living through garnering attention, the most valuable variety of which is clearly being FIRST. If you’re first, you get linked to, or at least attributed.

      A similar mechanism works with scholarly publications: the larger the number of citations a scientist’s paper receives in other publications, the more important the paper, and the greater the scientist’s fame. But I suspect academics sleep a little better at night.

  3. Those of us following the presentation on line also witnessed history. However, seemed to me that only people with tech backgrounds actually understood what was happening. I remember a lot of people with “English” as their only degree (yes I mean most of the press) shrugging their shoulders getting ready to do bad jokes about SIRI misinterpreting this and that like the non AI version in most other phones. No one had the faintest about what Siri was even amongst most of my friends. All anyone was concerned about was the blasted screen size and shape.

    1. Exactly. The bloggers were fixated on a new size and shape just like when they fixated on the lack of a physical keyboard way back when. It’s what inside that counts!

    2. If bloggers have English degrees then why are they constantly misusing “it’s” and “its”? Besides, it’s not English versus Tech: it’s having or not having Critical Thinking Skills.

  4. its just the start of something huge.

    At some point in the future all devices and computing as a whole will be deeply integrated with this type of technology.

    we’ll be telling our grand children “I was there at the beginning”

  5. I think Apple deliberately underplayed Siri because it is in fact so dramatic an innovation that if everyone did indeed understand it no number of servers would have been able to deal with it. That of course would have destroyed its reputation before it had a chance to make an impact at all. This way the intelligent already get it and the rest do so gradually… rather like the iPad in fact.

  6. I’m still waiting for my iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S looks just like the last iPhone, so it can’t be any better. I want my retractable cooling fins! I want my mommy!

  7. How much more vain and superficial can you get if you were disappointed that the new iPhone “looked the same” and thus people wouldn’t “envy” them, not realizing it was the new 4S? Of all complaints, that was the saddest.

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