Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple TV to Gain Dictation, Siri App Store Search

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

There’s now support for onscreen text entry via dictation in countries where Siri is available. When updating to tvOS 9.2 beta 3, users will be prompted to enable or disable dictation. With dictation, Apple TV users can dictate text and spell user names and passwords rather than typing them. […]

Siri is now able to search for App Store apps, improving the app discovery process in the App Store. It’s now possible to ask Siri to search for an app or to search for a category of apps, such as games and bring up a listing.

I resist the use of the “f” word — finally — but these are two features that should not have taken several months after launch to be added. tvOS is based on iOS, which already has dictation enabled systemwide in text input fields. Whatever the case, this should solve an awful lot of frustrating back-and-forth single-line keyboard manoeuvres.

It’s the same story for App Store search. I frequently forget that I cannot find apps with Siri until I try to do it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

As a whole, Siri on tvOS seems inexplicably weaker than it does on iOS. Last night, I was watching Law & Order: SVU on Netflix, and I forgot Ice-T’s real name. I held down the Siri button and asked what it was. Siri understood, but told me “sorry, I can’t find that information”, or something to that effect. I asked Siri on my phone, and a Wolfram Alpha result was returned. The tvOS version clearly doesn’t use the same data store as the iOS version, but I’ve got to wonder why it doesn’t, and why it can’t answer similar — and pertinent — questions.

Tangentially, I hereby declare a new barometer for password effectiveness: if you can reliably enter your password by using dictation, it’s too weak and needs to be changed.