Did anyone in the tech community with knowledge of the complexity of NLP (which I would hope to be most of HN readers) really believe that Siri was anything but a gimmick? It's not as if it introduced ANY new technology--Siri's functionality has been in OS X for as long as I remember, and has sucked just as much the whole time.
However, I really like it when driving, so I don't think it's entirely a gimmick.
The new technology is the ability to track the subject of a conversation through multiple steps of indefinite pronouns. This is a subtle change but, as I understand it, very difficult to accomplish. Here's a paraphrased example I've published here before:
Me: Will it be cold tomorrow?
Siri: Not too bad, the low temperature will be 57 degrees.
Me: How about Saturday?
Siri: Looking colder, the low temperature will be 34 degrees.
It is my second question that is the hard part. Siri "knows" that I'm still asking about the temperature, despite no reference to temperature in the text of my question. OS X and previous versions of iOS cannot do this.