One of the cool new features of the iPhone 4S — and the most hyped in Apple’s advertisements — is using the digital assistant Siri to set reminders. When you use Siri, you can usually speak as if you were talking to another person and Siri will figure out what you mean. Tell Siri “Make an appointment with my dad for next Tuesday at 3 p.m.” and Siri is capable of assessing who your dad is and the date of “next Tuesday.”
But there’s a big glitch by Apple with this system and that’s when Siri is offline as “she” frequently is. Then you are left to set the reminder by hand. And the problem is that the new Reminders app absolutely stinks. Here are the steps and clicks to set one reminder without Siri:
1. Click on Reminders app
2. Click plus sign – almost never registers first click, so click again with verve.
3. Blank reminder comes in – type in content of your reminder.
4. Be puzzled about how to set the date and time. The virtual keyboard is still up. There is no indication of how to set the date and time.
5. Tap uselessly on the reminder text you just typed. iOS helpfully offers to select a word or paste.
6. Get frustrated and click “Done” even though you’re not done.
7. Back to the list of all your reminders. Click again on the reminder you just wrote. Now iOS shows a screen to get to the part where you can set the date and time or other details of the reminder.
8. Click on “Remind Me”
9. Slide the “On A Day” switch to “ON”
10. Click on the day and time. Use the slider control to reset the day and time (be prepared to slide forever if the reminder is not close to the current date).
11. Click “Done” to get out of the time setting slider
12. Click “Done” to get out of the reminder setting screen.
Phew! That’s a minimum of 10 clicks and slides to set one reminder. And the biggest problems with making the app so unintuitive and hard to use is that, usually, you’re using the excellent Siri interface to set reminders. So you only have to wade into this morass occasionally and, when you do, you never quite remember all the different steps and tricks. Yuck.