I’m unsure about whether or not I’ve mentioned this before, but I have an iPhone 3GS. For those of you unaware, this means that I was able to upgrade to iOS 5, but unable to use quite possibly the best new function of the operating system, Siri. Prior to being purchased for iOS integration by Apple, I actually had the app Siri. At the time, I thought it was a neat app and saw its usefulness, but wasn’t using it on a regular basis. Now that it’s been integrated into iOS, Siri is an all-purpose function of the iPhone.

If you are like me, and would like a voice activated personal assistant, I’d like to throw Orchestra into the mix. Orchestra is really a to-do app that has voice recognition as a function. Voice recognition has come a long way in the past few years. I have spent hours watching friends try to get their phones to voice dial only to have it dial someone in China. Orchestra’s voice recognition system is not perfect, but it does work. I tested it in three different scenarios: silent, minimal noise and a lot of noise. With a lot of noise – in this instance, a car radio – the voice recognition was not able to distinguish the words I was saying. The phrase it came up with was only about 10% correct. With minimal noise – car/road noise, no radio – the voice recognition was about 75% right. It only messed up one or two words instead of the entire phrase. With no noise, it was 100% accurate.

After comparing the voice recognition function in Orchestra to Siri, I want to stress that Orchestra is simply a to do list while Siri does many other functions. One really interesting function of Orchestra is the ability to assign tasks to others. Users can create tasks and send them to people in their contacts even if they don’t have Orchestra. I can see this function being handy for team project situations.

Overall, Orchestra is a neat, functional app. Is it a replacement for Siri? No. But, it does hold its own as a to do list.