By Dan Moren
October 21, 2015 8:25 AM PT
Wish List: Siri for AirPlay
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
Siri is pretty smart: it can figure out the weather in far off lands, find local restaurants, and even do math calculations.1 But one curious omission to the virtual assistant’s magical powers is its inability to interact at all with other devices on my network. Case in point: AirPlay.
I’ve got an Apple TV hooked up in my living room, and on occasion, I use it to play music from my iPhone—yes, I can play that music directly from the Apple TV, but the interface is much less friendly. But what would be great, especially now that the iPhone 6s lets me trigger Siri from across the room, is if I could tell it to start playing a song on my Apple TV.
This isn’t complete off-the-wall crazysauce du jour. One of my absolute favorite features of the Amazon Echo is “Alexa, connect my phone.” As long as my phone has at some point gone through the pairing process, I don’t need to navigate into the Bluetooth settings and manually connect to the speaker—the Echo can do it all on its own. That means that if I’m in the kitchen, washing dishes, I don’t need to dry off my wet and soapy hands to play any song on demand; I just have to go through the slightly ridiculous process of telling the Amazon Echo to connect to my phone, then telling Siri to play a song.2
Perhaps some of this most first-world of problems will be alleviated when the new Apple TV ships with its own implementation of Siri. Granted that doesn’t solve problems if you wanted to use a similar feature with, say, an AirPlay speaker3. And in general, I think it would be handy to have Siri be aware of other devices in my home. After all, what’s a virtual intelligence for if not managing your surfeit of technological gadgetry?
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @email@example.com or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]
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