The iPhone 4S has been a surprising success for Apple, being what I'd think of as an interim release (just like the 3GS two years before). For some, the biggest improvement will probably be the camera; others might enjoy faster gaming, but right from the start I was hooked on Siri.
My O2 contract is a long one, so my next upgrade will be this year (and I'm praying for a new iPhone release... which I'm sure will come). But in the meantime, a company called True Knowledge have come up with Evi, an artificially intelligent, voice (or text) driven assistant for iPhone and Android. And check that link out too; they've managed to nab a 3 letter domain name (which can't be cheap).
What gripped me from the start, and made me head straight for the app store, is that Evi's promo video features a woman speaking English (the original, not the ranch). So I hopped straight on, and with feverish delight pressed the button.
And d'you know what? It understood every word I said, yet at the same time was unable to deliver me a single answer. However I'm going to put that down to this TechCrunch article, which was published today.
I'm excited by Evi's potential, because if it can understand my speech without learning it and turn every spoken word into text, it should be up to the task of discerning the meaning behind it. It seems to do some of that within the app too. When I asked it who Etta James was, it capitalised her name. It even handled more complex questions like "how do you spell onomatopoeia?"
As a way to bridge the gap between iPhone 4 and 4S (or its younger, as yet unborn sister) and to prevent Android users from finding out what they're missing by not owning one, it looks really exciting. It seems to rely more on the Internet than Siri (which can do a lot of in-phone calculations), but if it works over 3G (and since it does the speech recognition in-phone), who cares all that much?