The late Steve Jobs will always be remembered as a tech giant, but he was also a consummate music lover—many Apple press conferences ended with artists like John Mayer and Norah Jones performing live; a photo of a young Bob Dylan appeared in Apple’s original 1997 “Think Different” ad campaign; and of course, there’s the trivial matters of the iPod, iTunes, Logic, Garageband and other music-related products that emanated from the company under his reign.
Now, with the arrival of Apple’s iPhone 4S—the last one created under Jobs’ auspices—comes the introduction of Siri, a personal assistant application that uses voice recognition to complete tasks. Basically you ask it a question (“Where can I get a Pad Thai around here?”) and it comes up with an answer. Siri’s been programmed to have a bit of an attitude as well as provide the occasional amusing response, all of which has helped make the gimmicky app popular in a very short time.
With all that in mind, we started wondering—since Jobs was such a rock fan, might Siri have some musical knowledge installed? We threw together a list of popular "musical questions," ranging across the spectrum—The Beatles (a Jobsian favorite); Jimi Hendrix; Lenny Kravitz; Duran Duran; Pet Shop Boys; a traditional folk song; The Contours; Barry Mann; and Arthur Conley—and started talking to Siri. Here’s what we got:
Other musical questions we threw at Siri included:
“Is she really going out with him?” (Joe Jackson)
“How will the wolf survive?” (Los Lobos)
“How soon is now?” (The Smiths)
“Do you wanna dance?” (The Beach Boys)
"Where have all the cowboys gone?" (Paula Cole)
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” (Queen)
…and there were plenty of others, all of which were met by Siri with the same level of bewilderment. For now, the app’s depth of musical knowledge won’t replace the counter guy at your local record shop, much less Colin Larkin’s epic Encyclopedia of Popular Music. And it certainly will never wind up singing a terrible duet in a viral video. That would never happen in a mill—oh...wait….