Apple had plenty to show off last week during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The MacBook Pro’s retina display and iOS 6 got plenty of attention, but a trend that bears on the future of computing went mostly unnoticed.
The revolution in voice-controlled computing is advancing slowly and quietly, with Apple’s Siri personal assistant leading the way. Apple didn’t invent the idea or even the technology Siri is based on. It purchased Siri through an acquisition, polished the user experience and baked it into the iPhone 4S. The launch of that device last October kicked off a new era in computing: one in which people command data, content and services using their voices.