“Hey Siri” is the famous hotword that activates the voice assistant iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s also infamous for the misses at interpreting voice commands in the early days. But Apple has improved the digital assistant significantly over the years. The next significant upgrade for Siri concerns the activation keyword. Apple is looking to replace “Hey Siri” with a simple “Siri” voice command to trigger the assistant.
Mark Gurman wrote in his latest Power On newsletter that Apple has been working on the change for several months.
If everything goes according to plan, the switch will happen next year or in 2024. Changing the “Hey Siri” hotword would easily be a standout feature of future iOS, iPadOS, and macOS releases, especially if paired with new Siri features.
Even though the change might be simple to implement, the Bloomberg reporter says it’s a technical challenge. It “requires a significant amount of AI training and underlying engineering work.”
The company has been testing the hotword internally, collecting data from employees using the new wake word.
The problem with using “Siri” over “Hey Siri” is that the iPhone has to understand the former in multiple accents and dialects. Having two words in the trigger increases the likelihood that the system picks up the command correctly That’s why commands like “Hey Siri” work.
Apple would be one of many companies to transition to simpler trigger words for virtual assistants. Amazon already has “Alexa” in place instead of “Hey Alexa.” Google uses “OK Google” and “Hey Google” but lets users reply to the assistant for follow-up requests without repeating the wake word.
These changes will make possible more seamless communications with computers in the future, similar to what you’d see in Sci-Fi movies/shows like Star Trek.
Gurman says Apple isn’t just changing the “Hey Siri” hotword. It’ll also integrate the voice assistant deeper into third-party apps and services. Apple will also improve Siri’s ability to understand users and take the correct course of action. The particularities of such features have yet to be described.
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