There’s no question that smartphone developers believe voice-activated personal assistants are the wave of the future, but in their current state, they have failed to generate much excitement. Case in point: just 15% of iOS 7 users said they had used Siri in a survey conducted earlier this year.
Siri is a competent personal assistant as it stands, but not much more. Although Siri is capable of finding a great deal of information very quickly, it is limited by resources it currently pulls data from, which include Yahoo, Bing and WolframAlpha. Apple might be looking to remedy this issue, however: A patent application filed with the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office back in March and published this Thursday entitled “Crowd Sourcing Information to Fulfill User Requests” could be the first sign of a huge addition to Siri. More →
Apple’s personal assistant has received some significant upgrades in its transition over to iOS 7, but is anyone actually using Siri? According to a survey by Intelligent Voice, a surprisingly small number of people on iOS 7 have used Siri even once, much less used it on a regular basis. Intelligent Voice interviewed 2,330 people for the survey, and only 15% of respondents said that they had used Siri. In a related survey, nearly half of a much smaller pool of respondents said that they believed Apple had “oversold Siri’s voice recognition capabilities.” Smartphone manufacturers have been attempting to perfect voice commands for years, and no matter how effective Siri truly is, many users just don’t want to take the time to learn a new method of interaction.
It looks like Apple is finally confident enough in Siri to call it a finished product. 9to5Mac points out that Apple has at long last removed references to Siri being in beta on its official Siri webpages. Siri has technically been in beta since its launch nearly two years ago and since then Apple has worked to refine the voice-enabled personal assistant to make it faster, more accurate and more consistent. Although Siri was a first of its kind for smartphone platforms when it was released in 2011, it has since gotten stiff competition from Google Now for Android and is expected to get another competitor next year when Microsoft releases its own Cortana personal assistant software for Windows Phone.
SRI International, creator of Apple’s voice assistant Siri, is hard at work on a new intelligent assistant known as “Bright” that could one day know what users want before they even ask for it. Google Now already attempts to do this using location data, Internet browsing history and more, however SRI International’s Bright project will be even more sophisticated. The software is currently being designed for cybersecurity and emergency response in order to aid IT professionals in preventing the spread of a computer virus, or even to help 911 operators send the proper assistance to the scene of an accident, but it could also one day come to consumer electronic devices as well. More →
Samsung’s smartphone commercials didn’t really begin to generate any buzz until the company took aim at Apple and started to mock its products and users. Now, it appears Microsoft is going to try to take the same road to riches with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Alongside a new campaign that compares Windows RT tablets like the ASUS VivoTab Smart to the competition, Microsoft has debuted a clever ad that pits Apple’s iPad against Windows RT. As the commercial shows off various features of Microsoft’s tablet OS, Siri on Apple’s iPad continuously complains that it cannot perform all of the functions being demoed on the Windows slate. The full video follows below. More →
Apple has updated an earlier lawsuit filed against Samsung with claims that the Galaxy S4 and its Google Now feature violate two Apple patents covering functions of its own virtual personal assistant, Siri. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents relayed news of the updated complaint on Wednesday, and he noted that two of the patents — U.S. Patent 8,086,604, and U.S. Patent 6,846,959 — cover technologies related to Siri. Both filings describe a “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.” Apple also added three more patents to its earlier complaint that are not related to Siri, according to the report.
A recent study suggesting that Siri and other voice-to-text services are just as dangerous to use while driving as traditional text messing is seriously flawed, according to one of Siri’s co-creators. The study, conducted recently by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, found that drivers who were texting took about twice as long to react as drivers concentrating only on the road. The delayed reaction times were roughly the same for drivers using Siri, but the service’s co-inventor Adam Cheyer argues that the study “seems to have misunderstood how Siri was designed to be used.” More →
A new study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University found that using a voice-to-text feature such as Siri to send messages while driving is just as dangerous as texting. Researchers found that both methods significantly delayed a driver’s response time. The study involved 43 participants who were required to drive along a test track while concentrating only on driving, and then repeat the task once while texting and again time using a voice-to-text feature on a smartphone. More →
In line with reports from late last year, a new job posting on Apple’s (AAPL) website suggests the company plans to bring Siri functionality to its desktop operating system. First introduced with the iPhone 4S, Siri combines voice recognition with enhanced search features to create a virtual personal assistant of sorts. Siri is currently available only on iOS devices, but Apple’s “Siri UI Engineer” job listing specifically seeks programmers possessing “familiarity with Unix, especially Mac OS X,” who have a “passion for the Macintosh platform and writing simple, elegant software that is easy and fun to use.” Rumors suggest Siri could become available on Macs in the next major OS X release, OS X 10.9, which is expected to launch later this year.
Since the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple (AAPL) has touted its intelligent voice assistant Siri as a key feature of the iOS ecosystem. The startup company behind the app originally launched Siri as standalone program on the App Store and had plans to release Android and BlackBerry versions in the future. Siri was quickly acquired by Apple, however, and plans to expand the app were cancelled. More →
Apple (AAPL) is apparently looking to give Siri a personality boost. 9to5Mac has found a new Apple job posting looking for “a uniquely creative individual to help us evolve and enrich Siri” for future updates. More specifically, Apple wants to hire “someone who combines a love for language, wordplay, and conversation with demonstrated experience in bringing creative content to life within an intense technical environment.” The post notes that Siri is “known for ‘her’ wit, cultural knowledge, and zeal to explain things in engaging, funny, and practical ways,” so it’s safe to assume that the new hire will be responsible for enhancing those aspects of Siri’s “personality.” The real question, though, is whether Apple can make Siri realistic enough to date Notre Dame linebacker Manti T’eo.
The holidays are over, but if you find yourself the owner of an iOS device with Siri and a Raspberry Pi computer, you can combine the two to automatically open up your garage door with this cool little hack by “DarkTherapy.” Using “SiriProxy running on the Raspberry Pi, along with wiringPi to access the Pi’s GPIO pins and turn a relay on/off,” DarkTherapy was able to upgrade his iPhone 5’s personal assistant with a nifty new skill — the ability to open garage doors. Brave geeks can head over to DarkTherapy’s forum post for instructions on the hack and a video of Siri the butler opening a garage door follows below.