Whether Siri is ready or not, Apple’s (AAPL) virtual assistant is the future. Although OS X 10.9 is still largely a mystery outside of a few Web sightings, 9to5Mac reports early builds of the next Mac operating system could see Siri and the widely criticized Maps app baked in. The Apple blog says it’s unsure if the two features will make it past the early testing stages and says if they do, they could be features Apple only supports on brand-new Macs. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion’s Dictation is believed to be a hint that Siri is on its way, much like how the third-generation iPad only had dictation at launch but was later gifted with Siri in iOS 6. If the rumors of Apple moving OS X towards an annual release schedule are true, 10.9 could be pushed out by the end of summer next year.
iOS 6 gave Siri the ability to track sports, look up movies and ratings, launch apps and make restaurant reservations. The update was a step in the right direction to fleshing out Siri’s capabilities, but there’s still a long ways to go before Apple’s (AAPL) personal assistant becomes more than just a novel gimmick. According to 9to5Mac, developers who are testing iOS 6.1 have discovered that Siri will be have the ability to help you purchase movie tickets through Fandango. The solution is somewhat half-baked, though, as Siri will only bring up showtimes and a purchase button, but the final checkout for the tickets is routed through the Fandango app. In the end, you still need to use the Fandango app, anyway. 9to5Mac says the feature appears to be U.S. only and will only work at select movie theaters.
Gizmodo decided pit Apple’s (AAPL) Siri against Google’s (GOOG) new iOS Voice Search application in a speed test, and the results were not pretty for Siri. Although Gizmodo found neither voice search app to be perfect, it said overall that Google’s app “came up with a quicker response almost every time, was more accurate, and frankly sounded much less grating than Siri.” In a video of the speed test, it’s clear to see that Google Voice Search almost instantly comes up with responses to questions while Siri takes at least a couple of seconds to “think” before coming up with its reply. Google first released its Voice Search app for iOS last week, marking the first time the company had ever released an app for the iPhone capable of directly taking on Siri’s functionality. Gizmodo’s full video is posted below. More →
Apple (AAPL) is in the news for the second time in two weeks for hiring another top employee from a competing company. According to AllThingsD, Apple has hired Amazon (AMZN) executive and head of search William Stasior to fill the void left by Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer when he left last month. AllThingsD says that Stasior could end up “strengthening Apple’s search and search advertising technology in the wake of its increasing competition with Google.” Despite the fact that Siri is now more intelligent in iOS 6, it’s still a beta service that’s been criticized by the likes of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for being worse after the Cupertino-based company acquired it. More →
New York iPhone users who ask Siri for a weather forecast this week might be surprised to learn that the Big Apple is expected to register temperatures in the mid-90s for the next several days. Of course, that’s not the actual New York weather forecast, but a weather forecast for the town of New York that’s located in Texas. MacRumors reports, and BGR has independently confirmed, that Siri is coming up with the wrong results for weather requests in several towns, including the particularly egregious example where Siri pulls up the weather in New York, Texas when asked for weather in New York. BGR also experienced intermittent connectivity issues with Siri on Monday, although it’s unknown whether this is related to Siri’s weather forecast mistakes. More →
Voice control is the way of the future, or at least that’s what Apple (AAPL) wants people to believe. With the launch of Siri on last year’s iPhone 4S, Apple opened up a new world of using a natural language user interface to the masses. Today, Siri is on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad, and it will land on the new iPod touch, too. And with Apple’s rumored HDTV supposedly coming with a Siri-like interface, it seems fitting that the Cupertino-based company is also toying with the idea of a personal assistant on Mac computers. More →
Another one of Siri’s daddies is leaving home. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday afternoon that Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer was parting ways with Apple (AAPL) just two-and-a-half years after the electronics giant acquired his company. Unnamed sources told Bloomberg that Cheyer had left the company “recently” after spending time with Apple’s mobile software group. The sources did not list a reason for Cheyer’s departure. As Bloomberg notes, Cheyer is the second major Siri-related departure from Apple over the past two years as former Siri CEO Dag Kittlaus left the company in October 2011.
Apple (AAPL) introduced its Siri voice assistant with the launch of the iPhone 4S last October and since then, a number of copycat apps have been made available. While all these services show potential, in their current state they are just too limited for everyday use. IBM (IBM) is looking to change that, however, with the help of its supercomputer Watson. Bernie Meyerson, IBM’s vice president of innovation, said that he always envisioned a voice-activated Watson that would answer questions based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies. More →
I recently penned a quick piece on Apple’s (AAPL) Siri and Google’s (GOOG) new voice command support in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, explaining that while there are undoubtedly issues to iron out, services like these are going to change the way we interact with devices. But people are still fed up with Siri, and rightfully so says David Pogue in the latest issue of Scientific American. “We’re used to consumer technology that works every time: e-mail, GPS, digital cameras,” he wrote. “Dictation technology that relies on cellular Internet, though, only sort of works. And that can be jarring to encounter in this day and age.” More →
A Taiwanese university has sued Apple (AAPL) for allegedly infringing upon its voice recognition patents, Reuters reported. Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University claims the technology found in the iPhone-maker’s Siri voice assistant infringes on two of the school’s U.S. patents dealing with speech recognition technology. The suit was filed on Friday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. More →
Poor, poor Siri. Apple’s (AAPL) virtual personal assistant was welcomed with open arms when it was unveiled last year, and the new feature was also credited with being the driving force behind Apple’s record iPhone 4S sales. But in tech, new features quickly lose their luster and in recent months, complaints surrounding Siri have mounted. Several lawsuits have even been filed against Apple claiming that its Siri commercials are “misleading and deceptive” when they portray the virtual assistant as being easy to use and quick to respond. There is no question that Apple’s personal assistant needs work — I’ve had my fair share of disagreements with Siri (NSFW) — but an article titled “The Stupidity of Computers” published in a recent issue of n+1 magazine helps explain just how impressive Siri really is. More →
There’s been a lot of angst recently over America’s trade deficit with China, but it seems the United States has finally found something that it can successfully export to the People’s Republic: patent suits! Per the Dow Jones Newswire, a Chinese company called Shanghai Zhi Zhen Internet Technology has filed a patent suit against Apple claiming that it had originally patented the technology behind Siri all the way back in 2004. A company spokesman says that Zhi Zhen holds a patent for a digital personal assistant known as Xiao i Robot, a Mandarin-language automated voice system that’s “similar to Siri.” This all raises an obvious question, of course: How long until Steve Wozniak comes out and says that Xiao i Robot is superior to his former company’s voice-enabled software in every respect? More →
Fortune reports that Piper Jaffray has conducted a little study comparing Siri and Google in terms of both query comprehension and response accuracy, and has not surprisingly found that Google bests Siri in each category. In a way this isn’t a fair fight since Siri has to recognize the human voice and speech patterns while Google has to interpret text that’s (presumably) clearly written. At the same time, the results are pretty interesting: the firm found that Google comprehended queries 100% (A+ grade) of the time and gave accurate responses 86% (B grade) of the time while Siri comprehended queries 89% (B+ grade) of the time and gave correct answers 68% (D+ grade) of the time while in a quiet room. More →