The problem with such prognostications is how easily they look like the ravings of a fool under the harsh light of reality. For example, this past week every instance of Siri stopped working for five hours because of an outage somewhere in the iCloud.
I find it amazing as well as disconcerting that for Siri to properly function it needs to be eternally connected to another service external to the iPhone. And that's not good, especially when it stops and delivers the equivalent of "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that" when it looses access to its back-end services. But before I continue, let me introduce eight facts of distributed computing life that still apply to today's cloudy world, including and especially Apple.
|The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing|
It's those first three points that have the greatest effect on any cloud-based service, especially if that service is running on the public Internet. Apple knows this as well as any. It's Apple's cheerleaders and rabid apologist squads that Have No Clue.
How many AT&T users complained about dropped calls and poor 3G service, starting from the first iPhone that was released on the AT&T network? How about all those Blackberry users who put up with another service outage in early October, this one lasting for three days before it was finally fixed? Or the two service outages for Amazon's EC2 in April and August of this year? Amazon's outages took down Reddit in April and Netflix in August (bit of karma in that one). Siri is interesting, but Siri is little more than an interesting beta application. The idea that Siri will take down Google, let alone strike long-term fear into the Googlean heart is ludicrous. To sum it up best:
There's a broader issue and lesson to be learned from it [Siri's outage]: How much should mobile devices depend on cloud services for key functionality.
"Given the state of data services in the US right now, I don't think a service like Siri is ready for prime-time" Paladino asserts. "Nor do I think ChromeOS was a good idea without offline capabilities. The fact that Siri needs a data connection to do local tasks like play a song or schedule an appointment is the big fail in my eyes".