Apple's Siri -- the voice recognition interface that helps me make a spinning class reservation or reminds me to buy my father a new Elvis Presley-style toupee -- could be the future that will eliminate TV remotes. It's the entertainment butler I never had.
Most importantly, it will eliminate the need for electronic program guides. This could drastically shift -- again -- the way we watch television. If Apple will truly be coming out with an Apple Television set next year, there is strong expectation that Siri -- a highly recommended voice command app -- will be a big part of it.
"Siri, I'll like to watch a show with some comedic appeal that also has dramatic elements. Any suggestions?"
"How about 'Desperate Housewives,' Wayne?"
"Okay. But I was looking for something new."
"Hmm... scripted or unscripted?"
Technology has, of course, already drastically changed the way we watch TV now due to DVRs, the Internet and social media. Voice commands could change things again. All this might cause more marketing headaches for network executives, further removing all those "lead-in" and "lead-out" programming strategies.
If you think this is just an Apple thing, you're be wrong. All those makers of Android-system phones and tablets are looking at apps similar to Siri.
Ben Elowitz, co-founder/CEO of digital web publisher Wetpaint, says the possibilities would seem to expand the idea around entertainment referrals. So even if you don't know what to ask Siri about TV shows, you might say something like, "Siri, I don't really know what to watch. But I'm wondering what Wayne Friedman is recommending or watching tonight?"
For diehards, we imagine we'd also have the old-school options: "Siri, please get an on-screen program guide" or "Siri, please give me a list of some highly positively reviewed shows on ABC."
With cloud-based services set to expand, all our TV viewing history could remind us just what we have seen -- and maybe whether or not we really even liked it.
We could also ask for simple, crazy, short videos to help us counter the heavily scripted, big-media TV shows. "Siri, I'd like to watch a cat, dog, or parrot water-ski in a pool and slam into a diving board. Do you have anything like that?"
Then again, maybe TV advertising and messaging efforts will get harder. "Siri, please -- if I'm forced to watch commercials -- can I only see ads for violent movies, video games and Victoria's Secret?"
Read pretty much the same application for web content too of course - "Siri, I'd like to read articles on the web about your impact on media consumption - what have you got for me?"