I see more people using wireless headphones like AirPods and various over-the-ear headsets lately. I also think Apple's removal of the headphone jack is an interesting indication that we might be transitioning towards a future with voice-controlled interfaces.

However, AI technology and existing voice assistants are not efficient enough for me to say that we're close to the reality depicted in the film "Her" but it seems like a strong possibility.

Deep down, I want a future where our mobile devices are reduced to connectivity, cameras, and storage apparatus. And we primarily interact with the device using our voice. As I imagined this future, I started to sketch some use cases for a voice-first device. Games are usually the best way to get people used to a new medium. The first popular usage of the iPhone was gaming. I think voice-first needs to follow this trend and start with games that require as little use of the screen as possible.

Imagine a location-based mission app where users are given assignments as they arrive in new locations around the city. The clues to solving the mission are audio playbacks and there is no need to look at the phone screen.

Another idea for a voice-first app could be a Chinese whispers game - also known as Telephone, Rumors, and Secret Message in other countries.  It's a children's game where three or more players form a line typically in a classroom or playground. The first player comes up with a message and whispers it to the second player in line. The second player then repeats the message to the third player and so on. When the last player is reached, they announce the message they've heard to the group, and the first player then compares the final message to the original version. The objective of the game is to pass around the message without it becoming garbled along the way, but this usually ends up happening. Errors occur in the retelling of the message, so the statement announced by the last player differs from the original, usually with amusing or humorous effects.

How the app will work:

  1. A player will record a short vocal message.
  2. They will select three or more friends as recipients from their contacts and send it over.
  3. The recipient will get a single opportunity to listen to the whispered message before it disappears. They will then have the ability to repeat the message and send it to the next player in line.
  4. If the recipient hasn't installed the app, they will receive a snippet of the audio message as a voice iMessage and can download the app to hear the full message or repeat what they think the message is via voice or text message to the next player, and so on.
  5. The last player's message will be sent to the entire group, and the first player can confirm if that was their original message or not.

Airpods offer the opportunity to create new and different user experiences. With their advanced sensors and seamless integration with other devices, they can be utilized for more than just listening to music or making phone calls.