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Apple’s switch from ‘Hey Siri’ to ‘Siri’ is so much better than everyone realizes

Published Jun 7th, 2023 8:02AM EDT
Siri iOS 17
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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During the WWDC 2023 keynote, Apple previewed iOS 17. With the first developer beta now out, one of the many features I have been enjoying using is the new Siri call to action. After years of saying “Hey Siri” to ask the personal assistant for help, I can say just “Siri” with iOS 17.

As silly as it sounds, saving a “hey” makes the conversation more straightforward and feels more personal. Interestingly enough, although I also own an Amazon Echo (which means I only say “Alexa” constantly), it almost feels like a relief that Apple is slowly improving Siri.

That said, I only use Siri on iOS 17 for requests I know it will understand: “Turn on the TV,” “Turn off bedroom lights,” “Play something I like,” and “How’s the weather?”

Another feature arriving with iOS 17 that should have been available for ages now is new back-to-back requests for the personal assistant. Once you activate Siri, you can issue multiple requests without needing to reactivate it.

While I praise Apple for this feature, Siri in iOS 17 still feels outdated as it doesn’t understand the context. Apple acknowledges that in the system’s preview page. When featuring back-to-back requests, these are the examples the company gives: “Siri, text Emma I’m on my way,” followed by “Remind me to water the plants when I get home.”

Although the communication is encrypted – and Apple wants to ensure it stays that way – why can’t Siri understand just a bit of the context, like “How’s the weather in São Paulo?” followed by “What about Rio?”

When I asked the personal assistant that, it showed me the contact of someone I saved as Rio, so… maybe iOS 18?

As the company just teased the Apple Vision Pro spatial computer, and Siri plays a big part in the experience, I don’t understand why it still feels so 2015 – although many recent reports explain the issue regarding the personal assistant.

A public beta of iOS 17 is expected for July, with the official release by the fall, most likely around September.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.