Apple’s Shortcuts will flip the switch on Siri’s potential

Matthew Cassinelli, TechCrunch:

It’s undeniably convenient to get facts by speaking to the air, turning on the lights without lifting a finger or triggering a timer or text message — but so far, studies have shown people don’t use much more than these on a regular basis.

People don’t often do more than that because the assistants aren’t really ready for complex tasks yet, and when your assistant is limited to tasks inside your home or commands spoken into your phone, the drawbacks prevent you from going deep.


In Apple’s ecosystem, you have Siri on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, CarPlay and any Mac. Add in Shortcuts on each of those devices (except Mac, but they still have Automator) and suddenly you have a plethora of places to execute all your commands entirely by voice.


Even more important than all the places where you can use your assistant is how — with Shortcuts, Siri gets even better with each new app that people download.


Shortcuts opens up those capabilities to Siri — every action you take in an app can be shared out with Siri, letting people interact right there inline or using only their voice, with the app running everything smoothly in the background.

Hard to overstate just how important Shortcuts is to Siri and to the Apple ecosystem. Rather than the ability to simply launch an app, Shortcuts gives you the ability to get inside your apps, accessing data and launching functionality exposed by the app’s developer. This is the power of AppleScript, but for voice and just made for Siri.

Terrific article by a former member of the Workflow team. Shortcuts is based on Workflow, the app Apple acquired last year, and is being rolled out in private beta now.