One of the more longed for technologies from iOS that we Mac users had expected to embrace and love (no, it was not the LaunchPad) is Siri, Apple’s intelligent assistant. Siri, in male and female, and a variety of accents made it to the Mac with macOS Sierra.
I like Siri and use it more frequently the past year or so than the first few years combined. Siri has improved voice recognition, better dictation capabilities, is tied into more actions and apps than in the past, especially on iOS 10, and combined with Watch becomes a rather useful hands free utility.
So, it was natural to expect Siri on the Mac and Apple finally delivered, including options for gender and accent.
Setting Siri up is painless enough. Just enable it, select a particular voice, add a keyboard shortcut, and you’re good to go. One feature I like on both Watch and iPhone is the ‘Hey Siri…’ option where all you need to do is call out Siri’s name and it responds, ready for action.
You can do the same thing on the Mac. Jack Miller has the step by step details and calls his Mac ‘Yo, Siri…’ so it doesn’t invoke the nearby iPhone at the same time.
So, Siri on the Mac is a good thing, right? After all, if Siri gets used in the car, while rummaging around with chores at home, or even watching Apple TV, then Siri on the Mac must be another blessing. Right?
Oh. You haven’t used Siri on the Mac much, either, huh?
Yeah. Me, too. And I’m not exactly sure why. The keyboard shortcut works perfectly, as does the click to the Siri icon in the Menubar. No complaints. Siri opens apps and performs a few other parlor tricks but I’ve decided that my use and workflow on the Mac is different than on the iPhone or iPad, and definitely on Watch, so that distinction inhibits Siri usage on the Mac.
Maybe the problem is ‘Hey Siri…’ which is convenient as all get out on iPhone and Watch (and iPad), but less so on the Mac. I use a Mac most of the time at work and set up Siri to function with ‘Hey Siri…’ and, again, it is convenient, works often but not all the time, and yet talking to your computer hasn’t gained much office acceptance. Yet.
That, and a lack of a long list of good, actionable commands that I can remember and integrate into my keyboard workflow could be a reason Siri doesn’t get as much use on my Mac.
One of my co-workers, who heard me using Siri often when I first set it up on my office Macs, asked if Siri had broken up with me. I said, “We’re just not on speaking terms right now.” I don’t want to disturb co-workers or passersby with a Siri-inspired conversation, yet I want the usefulness of getting Siri to do some chores while I’m pounding away on the keyboard.
See? Multi-tasking and increased productivity should be the result of using Siri, not getting raised eyebrows from co-workers. That leaves me with mixed emotions and a bit broken hearted over Siri’s presence. The utility can be capable but often is an annoyance, especially when I’m asked by my Mac to repeat myself.