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Don't Unveil a TV Without This Feature, Apple

By Tim Beyers - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:47PM

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Siri may have had a rough start but there’s a future for the voice interface.

So many have weighed in on Siri's flaws that it must be difficult to take Apple's (AAPL 4.08%) voice assistant seriously. But she isn't useless. To the contrary: I think Siri should be the default interface of the next version of Apple TV.

Frankly, it's the least Apple can do. Microsoft (MSFT 2.76%) has spent years transforming the Xbox into a wonderfully functioning media console as well as a gaming platform. The 360 already includes Kinect voice commands for activating common features:

Sources: Microsoft and YouTube.

Now, there's talk that the next Xbox will include more natural language commands. Say you're playing the latest Halo but want to try something new. The next Xbox should allow you to ask "What are my friends playing?" to bring up a list. Text-to-speech is also planned, The Verge reports.

Both features are interesting. But of the two, I think Apple's best option is to transform Siri into a personal TV assistant. Remotes have too many steps. Giving customers the ability to go directly to a show or a menu with one command could be a huge game-changer.

Nuance Communications (NUAN), long rumored to be a Siri partner, is already working on this sort of advanced interface as a sort of personal assistant that travels from your computer to your phone and car. Why not add TV?

Whatever the plan, Apple needs to upgrade soon. Microsoft is improving Xbox TV while Google (GOOGL 4.20%) adds its own subscribers via an expanded fiber network. The industry is moving fast; Apple needs to move faster.

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