Siri and iOS 5 Make Apple’s 1987 Vision of the Future a Reality

The future, the new era of technology, is officially upon us. Twenty-three years ago, as the idea of personal computing was gaining momentum, Apple envisioned a device that was at that time almost completely based on science fiction. It was one of the few concept videos that really struck a chord worldwide as a stunning look into where technology could (seemingly quite impossibly) head.

From the collective minds at Apple, the dream computing device was conceived. Complete with a deeply-personal assistant, a touchscreen, and face-to-face video communication, it was a contrasting far cry to even supercomputers of that time. You would be the center of computing, making the experience entirely natural and replete with usefulness.

When the first iPhone was introduced, that was the first time groundwork was truly set to begin a transition into this new generation. Then the iPad’s form factor expanded upon what the iPhone had brought, adding to potential functionality as well as its ability to replace a standard PC. Last year FaceTime came along, making video communication effortless. That brings us to today, when the final part of a shared vision was brought to fruition.

Siri, a new feature exclusively in iPhone 4S, lets users speak naturally to find information they need as well as to perform other tasks such as setting a calendar appointment. While many phones have voice control, Siri goes far behind simple commands. It is contextual so it can understand many of the things you could say, not forcing you to conform to it. Siri is your own assistant, missing only the simulated butler look. Many of the things you could do in iOS 5′s built-in apps by hand can be accomplished quicker with just your voice, very similar to the highlight of Apple’s 1987 video.

Another big standout of the video has been fully-integrated into iOS 5, Reminders. Reminders is simply that, utilizing time and location to give you a heads up when requested. It becomes much more powerful and intriguing when combined with Siri, truly adding to the assistance factor.

Perhaps the most staggering thing about the 1987 concept is that Apple predicted the date when it would be brought to life. As points out, the professor is requesting a five-year old article that was written in 2006. Thus 2011 was the year depicted.

Not many unbelievable concept videos go further than initial mockups. It is quite the achievement for Apple to work so precisely towards a specific vision. If 1987′s impossible is sold by the tens of millions now, then where will we be in 2035?

Take a look at Apple’s 1987 vision of the future below, then compare to where we are now. Artificial intelligence is not quite up to that level, but devices and interfaces are much sleeker today.