(CBS) - Voice recognition technology has been around for years, but many are hoping Apple's Siri will be even more sophisticated than its predecessors. In the video above, Jason Snell, MacWorld editorial director, put the feature, which is available on the iPhone 4S, to the test.
At first, Snell demonstrates what the iPhone 4 can do, such as provide weather updates and play songs from your music library. "What's the weather like today?" Snell asked Siri. "What's the weather like in Chicago?"
Then, the he told Siri he wants to have lunch. Siri suggested eateries nearby. After that, Snell asked Siri to be more specific. He wanted to see suggestions for places downtown. "How about downtown?" he asked. Siri didn't quite understand. "I want to have lunch downtown," Snell followed. Siri still didn't quite get it, but Snell pointed out that it once worked for him.
Snell also asked Siri to send a message to a friend. So neat, Siri on iPhone 4S can take dictation. Though it's a little strange when you have to tell it when a sentence ends in a period or question mark, it's pretty neat how accurate it worked for Snell. Let's just hope you don't get so used to doing so that you start saying punctuation marks when you speak to real humans.
Snell continued testing... At one point, he even spoke like Yoda to Siri. Even so, Siri still managed to provide accurate assistance. As it turns out, Siri is merely looking out for special keywords to figure out what it is you want.
Tech Talk's Chenda Ngak and I also put Siri to the test. Instead of being Yoda, we spoke in hip-hop slang to start. "Yo, Siri. Text my friend." And, it worked.
Then, we tried a joke. "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Siri answered. "To get to the other side," Siri said.
Then, we tried a question that can only be answered by opinion. "Why is Christopher Walken so awesome?" Siri didn't quite know the answer, but it did a web search for us to get to a conclusion.
Then, we asked a question many kids ask their parents. "Where do babies come from?" Did Siri know the answer? Yes. It said simply, "From their mothers."
So the takeaway? Siri works pretty well even in beta. However, you will have to get used to being specific in your commands to get the proper results.