„The Siri Shortcut”
It is disappointing that Apple is leaning so heavily on shortcuts as a mainstream way for customers to get more from Siri. It flies in the face of how you want a voice assistant to work and behaves differently from every other type of Siri interaction. When you ask Siri for the weather, you can say ‘What’s the weather?’ or ‘What’s the weather on Friday?’ or ‘tell me the forecast’ or ‘do I need to wear sunglasses?’ or just ‘weather’. The whole point is the user does not have to revise a set list of triggers. Apple has made entire ad campaigns to this effect, promoting the flexibility. Forget custom variables, the Shortcuts system cannot support multiple ways of saying the same thing. A truly good voice assistant does not require the user to remember something.
This philosophy is exactly what drove Apple to design the SiriKit API in the way they did. SiriKit abstracts aways the parsing or semantics of a snippet of speech. It is the responsibility of Apple engineering to enable the understanding, across English locales and foreign languages. Under SiriKit, the third-party apps only supply the data for the response. All of the work Apple puts in to improve Siri’s understanding of commands automatically benefits every SiriKit app, and every SiriKit app of the same domain should respond consistently to the same commands. The downside to SiriKit is that it can only work with a subset of applications, those which Apple has done the legwork to create a domain for. So, a user has to know which of the apps on their phone works with Siri, but they don’t have to register a corpus of commands and can interact with the app through Siri with an order of magnitude more freedom.
Siri Shortcuts sind explizite Befehle für explizite Funktionen innerhalb von einer einzelnen App und funktionieren damit sehr vergleichbar wie Amazons „Alexa-Skills”. Der Blogpost von Benjamin Mayo ruft in Erinnerung, dass diese Fähigkeiten natürlich nicht die flexiblen ‚Siri intents‘ ersetzen (dürfen).
Wie er richtig schreibt, dauert der Ausbau von Themenfeldern, die Siri versteht, jedoch ewig. Siris Kurzbefehle sind deshalb eine sinnvolle Ergänzung, aber kein Ersatz.