Why My Grandfather Just Got His First iPhone

It’s his first smartphone. Siri is the reason he got it. After a few days of use, he now interacts with Siri flawlessly but still struggles with simple tasks on the touch interface, like slide to answer calls and typing with the soft keyboard. The technology is nascent, but for the first time I saw that voice could be an effective input method for an everyday computing device – as in an alternative to the mouse, click-wheel and multitouch.

If you want to understand why I (and many others) are obsessed with Apple as if it’s a religion, listen to this podcast on disruptive interfaces from Horace Dediu, founder of Asymco. The company, Apple Inc., is what I (we) revere, respect and love – not just Apple products.

Horace Dediu has three main theses in the podcast:

(1) Disruptive input methods are what revolutionize industries
(2) Apple’s DNA allows it to disrupt industries (“pirate” projects)
(3) Data and knowledge provide an important foundation, but decisions are made on intuition

He makes compelling cases for all three – and he seems to think voice input has a serious chance to be the next disruptive input method for computing devices. Of the three popular interfaces for communicating with computers over the last 40 years, Apple introduced all of them to the mass consumer market: The mouse. The click-wheel. Multi-touch. We shouldn’t be surprised if Apple brings the next major interface to the masses either – and maybe they’ve already begun.

It’s been said many times before, but you really can’t understand how good Siri is until use it. Or at least until you see my grandfather use it.

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