When the original iPhone was released, it had no third-party apps, no voice control, no games, and no to-do list -- among many other things. But it was still revolutionary, completely different than what came before, and over time many of its shortcomings were addressed by hardware and software updates.
The same is true of Siri now. It has very little in the way of third-party integration, and there are many things that it cannot do -- but there is much promise. One piece of evidence to this future potential is Vocal, a new app that allows voice control of a Mac from a Siri-equipped iPhone 4S.
Vocal works by pairing a free application that installs on the Mac with a $1.99 app that is downloaded from the App Store. It allows the user to send commands and dictate text straight to the Mac, using the voice recognition feature on the iPhone 4S.
Lex Friedman at Macworld used his copy of Vocal to "control iTunes; send emails and tweets; look up definitions; select, copy, and paste text; search Amazon and Google; print; and create new documents." He reports that some commands are more successful than others, but on the whole:
Vocal is definitely cool. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper way to get your Mac to take dictation. Its support for other actions is a mixed bag; some work well, some don’t. If nothing else, Vocal proves that Siri—natively—on the Mac could be nothing short of remarkable.
The app updates its library of commands over the air, making updates and new feature additions easy for Vocal's creator, Matthew Roberts. He explained the thinking behind the software to The Next Web:
Vocal came essentially from playing with Siri on my new 4S as a sort of “novelty” as I just acquired the device, and since I use my Mac so much I wanted to see if I could write a Siri-like app for it. After looking around the only main competitor was the software from Nuance, but it was over 1GB to download and cost upwards of $50. Considering the 4S can already dictate text, I thought I could make a super simple app “for the masses”, I guess you could say.