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Maps

Siri offers amazing integration with the Maps app on your iPhone 4S. Just this morning, we asked Siri to find an ATM near us, and within seconds we had a map in front of us with a sprinkling of red pins designating all money machines within a few mile radius of our location.

Of course, you have to look at the iPhone screen to see where everything is, so the combination of Siri and Maps is not a very good replacement for a turn-by-turn navigation app—yet. We can’t wait until that functionality ships in a future version of Siri itself or via application integration with TomTom, Navigon, or some other turn-by-turn app.

One common use case for Siri and Maps is finding out where certain businesses are near your present location or an area where you might be traveling. Here are some examples of how you might use Siri to locate vendors (see Figure 5-9).

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Figure 5-9. Hungry for a good burger? Siri gives you a list of the best restaurants of a specific type, listed by Yelp review ranking.

• Find coffee near me.

• Where is the nearest McDonalds?

• Find some pizza restaurants in Taos, New Mexico.

• Where’s a gas station within walking distance?

• Where’s an ATM around here?

When Siri finds a business or list of businesses, just tap on one of them to see a map showing the surroundings. A tap on the red pin that pinpoints the business displays an information page with information like the address and phone number, as well as buttons to get directions to or from the place.

It’s also possible to ask Siri for directions directly. This is helpful if you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood and want to get home—just ask Siri “How do I get home?” and a Google map showing up to three alternative routes appears on the screen (see Figure 5-10).

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Figure 5-10. While trying to get home, Siri displays three different routes, along with estimated trip durations, distances, and the major thoroughfares traveled. Tap the Start button to begin seeing turn-by-turn directions. You can tap on each route to highlight it.

As Figure 5-10 shows, just tap the Start button to view the turn-by-turn directions. At this early stage of the life of Siri, it doesn’t read the directions to you. Other direction-related commands that Siri understands are as follows:

• Show 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California.

• Directions to Barb’s office.

• How do I get to Taco Bell?

Siri is quite useful in terms of finding businesses and directions. Just remember not to use the maps functionality while you’re driving, because you will need to interact with your iPhone screen. Let your passenger help out, or pull over to get those directions from Siri.


Image Note

We can’t wait until Apple offers developers Siri API integration. This will allow third-party developers to integrate Siri requests into their apps. Some day, telling Siri “Take me home” will allow your favorite navigation app to provide the same turn-by-turn vocal directions they do now, but do so via a Siri request.


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