Using Apple’s Siri to purchase movie tickets sounds great, right?
That was the intriguing promise tucked away in a handful of tweaks and features in Apple’s iOS 6.1, which was released last Monday. More specifically, Apple puts it like this: “Additional updates in iOS 6.1 include the ability to use Siri to purchase movie tickets in the US through Fandango.”
I expected some initial set-up, and there was. You need the free Fandango iOS app installed. And you should have a Fandango account, preferably one with a credit card linked to it.
From there, I envisioned the following scenario: I’d say “Siri, I want to buy movie tickets to Silver Linings Playbook for Saturday night.” Siri would then show me a list of showtimes for nearby theaters. She’d ask me which theater and showing, how many tickets and what type of tickets (senior, adult, or child) I wanted to buy. And then, Siri would helpfully slip those tickets into my Passbook app.
Turns out, that scenario is pure sci-fi. (For now, at least.) Here’s the reality: After asking Siri the above question, she showed me a list of nearby movie theaters and showtimes. I read the list, then told Siri which theater and showing I wanted. Siri gave me more information about the movie but no option to buy tickets.
The only way I could purchase tickets was to click to select the desired theater and showtime from the list Siri provided. Not all the theaters in the list Siri provided support online ticket purchases through Fandango, however. I had to tap on several theaters before I found one that allowed me to buy tickets through Fandango. An icon that indicates which theaters in the list were available for Fandango purchases would be helpful.
Siri’s inability to take care of the movie-ticket purchase isn’t exactly a major tragedy, of course. But Apple’s statement, in my opinion, is misleading. What Apple should have said is: You can use Siri to help you find a movie showtime, which you may or may not be able to buy tickets for by clicking through to Fandango.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.