iPad omission: My theory on Siri
Summary: A couple of theories about why Apple left Siri out of the third-generation iPad. Mine is that it all comes down to dollars, and Siri’s an annuity on the iPhone but a pain on the iPad.
One of the biggest omissions in the new iPad is Siri. It was a virtual shoe-in for inclusion in Apple’s third-generation iPad but it didn’t make the cut and it’s a curious omission. Siri runs on the iPhone 4S which has an A5 processor, but the new iPad has an A5X processor which is faster. So it isn’t a technical issue, at least specs-wise.
So why did Apple leave the marquee feature from the iPhone 4S out of the third-generation iPad?
Well it didn’t entirely. Voice transcription (a.k.a. Siri-light) did make it into the third-gen iPad. This manifests itself in the form of a microphone button that appears on the iPad keyboard (above). Touch it and you can dictate a reply to an email, tweet or status update. But you can’t hold the iPad’s home button and ask it “How does my calendar look today?” or “What’s the weather like?”
Here are a couple of theories about why Apple left Siri out of the third-generation iPad:
On the PowerPage Podcast my co-host Rob Parker suggested that an iPad doesn’t always have an Internet connection (like an iPhone does) and since Siri processing is done in the cloud, not having a permanent Internet connection would lead to a bad user experience. (”Siri? Can you hear me?”)
I don’t buy it.
Another theory is that Siri already has too many users and that it’s saturated. As of iOS 5.1 Siri now speaks six languages: English, British English, Australian English, Japanese, French, and German. The thinking is that too many people simultaneously asking Siri silly questions on iPad delivery day (March 16) would make it a bad user experience.
Bah. Doesn’t Apple have a new billion-dollar data center just for things like this?
The last, and my personal pet theory is that Apple wants to sell more iPhones. If you want Siri, buy an iPhone. Plain and simple. Apple likely makes more money on iPhone sales because it (famously) commands a kickback from carriers from every user’s monthly bill. Therefore Siri on iPhone is an annuity and a cash cow, but Siri on the iPad is just another drain on resources.
Siri will definitely arrive on the iPad at some point, but I hear that it won’t happen until Apple delivers iOS 6 and “the new iPhone” in the Fall.