updated 08:30 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012
Both tout major advantage over alternative phones
Apple has quietly added two new iPhone 4S ads, both showcasing Siri's voice recognition and intelligent-assistant technology, to its iPhone videos web page. In "Road Trip," a man decides to travel across the US from what appears to be Boston to Santa Cruz with his partner, and both of them consult Siri throughout the trip. In "Rock God," a young man progresses from locating a guitar store to forming a rock band and changes the name Siri addresses him by.
Both commercials continue Apple's low-key approach of showcasing the iPhone by emphasizing user interaction rather than dwelling on features or specifications. In neither ad is Siri ever mentioned by name, or even that the feature is exclusive to the iPhone 4S -- a notable change from similar ads that touted Siri which aired during the holidays. The actors speak both questions and statements and receive answers, ranging from "what does Orion look like?" to "I gotta get a guitar."
The ads also illustrate Siri's ability to carry out tasks. In the "Road Trip" spot, a command to "remind me to do this again" is the only non-question and serves as the "punchline" of the ad. In "Rock God," the user issues several commands, including "add 'Migraine Headache' to my list of band names" and "tell Julie and Kate we're playing at the garage tonight." The ad closes with the young man asking Siri to "call me Rock God."
In both, the real-world usefulness of Siri is featured. The couple ask where they can find a gas station "we can walk to" when they run out of gas, and the young man (practicing his guitar) asks for help with "how do I play 'London Calling'?" The function sets reminders, points the users to businesses, sends messages and appends spoken dictation to lists, in addition to finding answers. The iPhone is never seen in the ads actually used for a call or the normal way of running an app, but rather -- like previous ads featuring Siri -- emphasize a new way of interacting with a smartphone that is not yet possible on Android or other competing platforms.