Well ladies and germs, it’s Sunday and you know what that means: another edition of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter has graced our inboxes and inside are secrets only those worthy of shilling out money to Bloomberg can attain! Huzzah!
This week, we’ve learned via Mark that Apple is devoting a lot of effort and dev time to making Siri suck a whole lot less. That would be an extremely welcome change, because it’s been a solid 11 years of Siri sucking big peen. Let’s talk about it!
The company is working on an initiative to drop the “Hey” in the trigger phrase so that a user only needs to say “Siri”—along with a command. While that might seem like a small change, making the switch is a technical challenge that requires a significant amount of AI training and underlying engineering work.Mark Gurman
Apple dropping the “Hey” from Siri’s trigger phrase would certainly minimize the pain of using the voice assistant. Gurman goes on to note that Apple is one of the last to party when it comes to a simplified trigger phrase:
If successful, the shift from “Hey Siri” to “Siri” would match Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa, which requires to users to simply say “Alexa” rather than “Hey Alexa.” Google requires the prompt “OK Google” or “Hey Google,” but has been working to let users make follow-up requests without repeating the wake word.Mark Gurman
Other than Siri’s debut, Apple’s voice assistant has always been a step behind other services like Alexa and the Google Assistant, however Mark notes that even Microsoft’s Cortana had its trigger phrase shortened to just “Cortana” before the eventual shutdown.
Gurman also gives us a general timeline for an upgraded Siri’s rollout, and it’s looking to be in the next year or two:
Apple has been working on the change for several months and—if all goes to plan—hopes to roll out the switch either next year or the year after. The company has been testing the simplified wake word with employees and collecting the necessary training data.Mark Gurman
Who knew that making an AI-based, voice activated, actually usable virtual assistant would be so much work, huh? It’s all fun and games when Siri messes up your alarm but trying to get it to actually be… uhh… useful is just the worst. Let’s hope Apple can make me actually want to use Siri, because at this point I’d rather just do it all myself.
Unless I want someone to accidentally turn on when I’m having a separate, unrelated conversation – THEN Siri is the best!