Distance Based Reminders

You’re driving down the highway, across the desert, on a long road trip. You see a sign:

Gas 16 Miles

Next Gas 203 Miles

You glance at the fuel gauge and observe that the tank is running low. Your first thought is: “Dang! I better not miss that exit, or I’m hosed.” So you activate your nearest Siri device and speak:

Hey Siri, remind me in 15 miles to get gas.

Okay, I’ll remind you.

Ahh, you relax back into your chair, crank up the Apple Music, rest assured that all will be taken care of. My, isn’t the future great?

45 miles later you’re stuck in the middle of the desert with no gas, no cell coverage, and limited battery life on your stockpile of iOS devices. You look at your Reminders list to figure out what went wrong:

In 15 miles to get gas.

There it is, on the list. Ungrammatical, uncompleted, unhelpful, uncool.

How would this be solved? By introducing a notion of distance-relative reminders in iOS and by extension in Siri. In the same way that Siri allows you set a reminder for a specific time or for a relative time from now, it should offer the same functionality for distance.

There are other scenarios where this kind of position-relative reminder would be helpful, and it sort of plays into the same kinds of reminders currently offered by e.g. “Arriving Home”, etc.

Imagine you’ve headed out for a run, for example, and intend to cover 6 miles. Just lift your watch and speak:

Hey Siri, remind me in 3 miles to turn around and head home.

In any event, Apple could amend Siri so that it recognizes phrases of relative distance, and cops to not being able to help:

Remind me in 3 miles to turn around

I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t help you with distance based reminders… (YET!)

I love Siri, and I’m pretty happy with most of what it does. But the possibilities for improvement are literally limitless. (Radar #25728339).