The capabilities of devices like the iPad and iPhone are the kind of thing you could only dream of a few decades a go. And apparently that’s exactly what Apple was doing, light-years ahead as usual. This 1987 concept video for the Apple Knowledge Navigator – an iPad-like device with a built in virtual assistant – is set in an imaginary September 2011, breathtakingly close to last month’s release of the iPhone 4 with built-in PA, Siri (nice spotting Andy Baio).

But now that your phone can speak, should it do so with a male or a female voice? Curiously, the new iPhone’s Siri is female in the US model, male in the UK. Here’s a good blog on some of the conspiracy theories – the suggestion is that there’s still a view that the male voice is inherently more authoritative. Politics of gender aside, maybe Siri’s sex isn’t the most important thing – maybe what matters most is where on earth
(s)he’s from. Siri seems to cope with most accents, but check out this video of a frustrated Scot trying to create a reminder…

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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