After watching some demos of Apple’s Siri, the personal assistant for iPhone 4S, I wondered if such technology will come to the Mac, and, if so, when. Then, I wondered how many such apps already exist for the Mac, but with keyboard input instead of the Siri voice. First, I expect Apple will move Siri to the Mac, probably with whatever OS X version comes after Lion. Second, as I checked around, there are a few very useful and popular Mac apps that use plain text natural language input to make things happen. How far behind can a Siri-inspired Mac app be? Not far.
QuickCal: Siri Without The Voice
One of the first apps that turned up in my search was an iCal enhancement app called QuickCal. It creates events in iCal.
Big whoop, right?
QuickCal doesn’t recognize your voice input, but it figures out what you’re saying when you type it in.
Entering events into iCal isn’t difficult, but it’s plenty of steps. Select the day, select the time, enter the title, blah, blah, blah.
QuickCal makes that step-by-step process even easier. Enter Lunch tomorrow at noon with Bob. QuickCal makes the iCal event entry.
When you type in the entry, QuickCal is smart enough to let you know if you have conflicts (just like Siri, but without the voice).
QuickCal is decidedly old fashioned. You enter the event data via the keyboard. But you don’t have to worry about bringing up iCal, moving to a particular date, entering an event title, clicking on a specific time, and so on. QuickCal does it with simple keyboard instructions.
It also works for to-do items. There’s even a version for iPhone, though I’ll bet that Siri becomes the defacto way to enter iCal events in all future iPhones.
Apple is working hard to embed artificial intelligence hooks into iOS, so it’s a safe bet that we’ll see the same thing on the Mac in the next year or so as OS X becomes iOS for Mac.