Most people will never use Apple’s ‘Siri Shortcuts’

“Of all the features Apple announced yesterday, Siri Shortcuts is my clear favorite,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “I love the ability to create my own commands to perform my own tailored sequences of commands.”

“But I’m a techie. I’m the sort of person who actively enjoys creating Scenes in HomeKit, for example. To me, there’s a real satisfaction in thinking through the sequences of things I do at particular times of the day, and then automating as many of them as possible,” Lovejoy writes. “Mass-market iPhone users? Not so much.”

“As my colleague Benjamin Mayo observed when we discussed it earlier, even the name Siri Shortcuts is emblematic. It’s like Keyboard Shortcuts – and in my view has exactly the same target market,” Lovejoy writes. “The average mass-market consumer will never go anywhere near it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

As we wrote yesterday upon the reveal of Siri Shortcuts: “AppleScript lives!”

We’ll be interested to see if Siri Shortcuts can help in Apple’s eternal quest to bring scripting to the masses.MacDailyNews, June 4, 2018

Apple previews iOS 12 with shared AR experiences, Group FaceTime, Memoji, and much more – June 4, 2018


  1. If Apple’s quest to bring scripting to the masses really was eternal, Apple would never have pulled the plug on HyperCard. It was way ahead of anything else available at the time and was tremendously useful as well as being very easy to use.

    Having tinkered with an employer’s computer in 1989, I was so impressed with HyperCard that I decided that I had to buy a Mac as my next computer because nothing else would run HyperCard and there was nothing else like it. If it wasn’t for HyperCard, I might never have bought my first Mac.

    1. I always thought that Hypercard was a great precursor to the net, and it was fun to use, I certainly loved getting into it because of the results.

      I took a holistic approach when I got into computers, the first item on my first computer purchase was a good computer desk, then the computer and peripherals and software were purchased within the same period, a strain on the budget but the system worked for a long time before I needed to upgrade.

      Apple’s software has often been hit and miss. I would have appreciated more consistency though that has to be balanced with backward compatibility. It’s no fun having to upgrade/reformat your files to accommodate a new system (Claris Office along with Hypercard for example, turned out to be a dead end).

      Mobile computing is the hot item right now, the iPhone and the Applewatch. The hardware update, well it’s looking pretty inconsistent with no idea of what the next cycle will be.

      Thanks for the post, Hypercard was a well loved program by many.

  2. Why do you think Apple ihas been pushing “coding” so hard? So people will use Siri Shortcuts.
    And yup on HyperCard. It was pretty amazing at the time. Could have been faster, though.

  3. People have been trying to teach coding to children for the past 50 years, and no matter how clever the teaching tools (remember Logo?), it hasn’t ever really taken off. That’s because coding, like accounting or anything else, is not for everybody. I used to think that with computers becoming ubiquitous, kids would grow up understanding them. But my kids know as much about the inner workings of computers as I do about refrigerators. Which is almost nothing. Computers are just another appliance that people know how to operate and not much more. And most people don’t really WANT to know any more. My kids come to me for tech support. I think for kids (or adults) that have an interest and aptitude, learning to code is great. But it will never be something a majority of people will ever want to do.

    1. “People have been trying to teach coding to children for the past 50 years”
      If it didn’t take off… then… WHO HAS BEEN DOING THE DEVELOPING! I mean, did those 6,000 people in the audience yesterday just wake up and decide I’M A CODER NOW! YAY!

      There were 6,000 people in a room to listen to a companies development roadmap. That’s not including the people that were there, just NOT at the keynote. 50 years ago, there would have been 100-200 tops, so I think by anyone’s measure, that’s a SERIOUS take off. Just because a few individual kids aren’t interested doesn’t change the fact that getting more exposure to it has led to a greater number of developers overall.

      1. In my experience, it’s the other way around. It’s a few individual kids that ARE interested in coding. When I was in grad school, I taught programming to non-CS students. There was typically 1 or 2 students in a class that really got it, but for the vast majority, coding wasn’t for them (which is probably why they weren’t CS students in the first place). I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t learn some basics, but coding will never be something that “everybody” does.

  4. The important point here is that Siri will be able to access apps that perform functions that Apple apps are poor at or that are not available.
    Reminders for me is the worst app of all. Ideally you should be able to set a reminder and have the choice of an audible or visual cue. Even if you set the alarm function there is no sound made. Defeats the purpose if your phone is in your pocket and the reminder goes off without you noticing it.
    So if another app is available that can fit my needs and Siri can interact with it then great. All I want is to be able to say,”Hey Siri, remind me to do XYZ at this time” and an audible alarm will be set. This would also be great for people who need reminders for medication.
    An example of a 3rd party app is like Audible. It would be great if Siri could start playing the current book at the last stop point without having to open the phone and navigate to the app.

  5. coding is in reality, solving math word problems
    Remember how popular math word problems were in your class – ever since they were introduced around 3-4 grade ?
    Yeah, most people hated them more than any other math. That’s why not everyone will/like/do programming

  6. I think most of the comments here like the article itself are spot on except I think for one lateral thought. I believe this is just the start of something that will become much more automatic and seamless over time as Siri becomes much smarter and ways to interact with it much much more immersive and automatic for us. This is fundamentally a learning curve for both us and the software into the future.

    1. Routinely, I ask Siri to calculate for me. She seems to understand me better when I talk numbers than when I wax philosophical or ask for directions to the Stagger Inn.

  7. I agree that those 99%’ers, you know, those non-geeks, won’t want/need/be able to “program” stuff, but this time it may be a little different. EVERYONE seems to have one of these things in their pocket. No one carried a LOGO-running computer around with them.

    1. It might just follow the pattern of calculator users. Practically everyone has one in a physical form or as an App. How many really use the functions beyond the basic 4 operations and maybe a handful of others (e.g. invert, +/-, etc.)?

  8. I consider myself a nerd and a techie, but I only tinkered with Automator a little bit over the years and most people probably never even knew that Automator existed. But that does not mean that it did not or does not have any value. Its very existence drives Apple to construct its software in a modular fashion that facilitates automation. That is a good thing.

    When I saw Siri Shortcuts, I immediately equated it to a verbal triggering of an Automator script. If Apple had not developed and maintained Automator, then Siri Shortcuts would not have happened, at least not in the same way.

    What Apple needs to do is make the process of developing Siri Shortcuts more natural and intuitive, perhaps via an AI-based learning process?

  9. Hmm. This is not the Siri scripting I was hoping for. But it’s a start, a timid start IMHO.

    I don’t think Apple has anyone who seriously understands Siri’s possibilities. They aren’t even paying attention to what’s been going on with Amazon Echo, which has had significant scripting abilities for a year now. IOW: This isn’t even Apple catching up. More ‘snooze-you-lose’ in action, or rather INaction. 😛

    1. Since Apple has that AI dedicated chip in their newer devices. Perhaps one function it could perform is to notice if you have a pattern of use and then pop up a notification asking if it you would want to automatically generate a Siri shortcut.

      1. That sounds ideal! With time, I suspect ‘smart’ personal assistant software will do just that. I wish I had experience with the Google Home, Amazon Echo and Microsoft whoever for comparison. More reading is in my future…

  10. Like many others, I too miss Hypercard dearly. It’s worth it to keep an old Mac on hand just to see how user friendly programming could be. While I have no doubt I could learn Swift just as I have VBA, both just don’t have the immediate gratification and ease of use HCard did.

    1. The most ‘fun’ I have with VBA is in Excel where when you record a macro it generates the VBA for you which you can then go ahead and tweak to your satisfaction.

    1. Nice to see Apple take a lead here with integrating the acquired Workflow product into Siri.

      Now we get to sit back and watch the leapfrogging of features in the custom commands arena between Siri Shortcuts, Google Routines, Alexa Routines and IFTTT.

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