Siri, Apple’s sometimes snarky virtual assistant, is supposed to be able to help you streamline appointments by knowing where you are supposed to be and when. While I've found Siri can be useful for this, I've discovered several alternatives that have their own advantages.
There are several third-party apps that are stronger for personal productivity and organization, especially given that much of what Siri performs is pretty consumer-focused. Here are some choices that will prove to be a good virtual assistant for the day-to-day business user.
This app offers much that you would find in a service like Siri - talk to it and it will perform actions. You can dictate an iMessage, open web site, create calendar entries, and a myriad of other tasks.
It has a somewhat funky interface with a cartoonish avatar that serves as your assistant. But beyond that it is rather useful, especially given that it powers email, calendars, maps and other productivity-oriented apps. The developer says support for additonal services is in the works.
Google’s search app includes its competitor to Siri: Google Now. If your company uses a Google Apps account connecting it to Google Now is tremendously useful as it pulls in a list of calendar appointments or can perform reminders through its card interface.
What makes this even more appealing is that Google Now works across iOS, Android, and the Chrome browser. So if you use an iPad but have an Android phone your connection to important events remains.
The newest calendar from Readdle isn’t just for finding the date - it is a full-fledged task manager and organizer. One signature feature is its support for “natural language.” You can type “Meet Susan in her office at 2:00” and it will create an event, which is much faster than tapping through a menu to create an event.
It also offers the day's agenda in a very user-friendly setup, making it easy to glance at what awaits.
Meeting Assistant is great for business users because it is specifically built for the purpose of organizing notes, contact information, and other essential details for running from one meeting to another.
The interface is built like a retro binder, but it has many powerful features like keeping calendar invites accessible, notetaking and connecting contact data with social networks.
While not yet optimized for iPad, Mynd certainly can be used on the iPad as well as the iPhone - which the current version is designed for. Mynd makes the list given its interface that makes it easy to discover the content surrounding your day. It creates an attractive, tile-based setup of upcoming appointments, weather, time and news.
Mynd says it will learn your habits and provide contextual information, such as suggesting to space out appointments based on travel time or assigning meetings to specific locations that you frequent.
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