Oh, Siri. Apple’s little voice-activated personal assistant in iOS can handle questions, give recommendations, and delegate requests, but does it really live up to expectations?
The folks in Cupertino like to roll out advertisements that show Siri capable of compiling individual preferences with personalized results, and even completing basic tasks like finding a nearby restaurant, but the software met very mixed reactions after it Beta-débuted on the iPhone 4S in October. Those who felt misled by Siri’s functionality depicted in commercials eventually sought reimbursement by filing a class action lawsuit against Apple earlier this year.
Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky wrote about how chief executive Tim Cook is changing Apple in an interesting piece this morning, but he also touched upon the contention surrounding Siri. He noted Apple’s future relies on the quality of its products, which holds true for any company, but then he pointed to the iOS-maker’s knowledge navigator:
“Those looking for deficiencies have found them in Siri, a less-than-perfect product that Apple released with the rare beta label in late 2011, a signal that the service shouldn’t be viewed as fully baked. Siri’s response time has been slow, meaning the servers and software powering it are inadequate. ‘People are embarrassed by Siri,’ says one former insider. ‘Steve would have lost his mind over Siri.’”
It is interesting that an unnamed insider claimed Jobs would “lose his mind” over Siri, especially because it is well-known the late CEO worked with former Siri founder and subsequent Apple Engineering Director Dag Kittlaus on the project. Kittlaus admitted last March at Network World that Jobs felt they “cracked it” in regards to Siri, which alludes to the chief’s satisfaction with the voice assistant and contrasts with the insider’s opinion.
The poll is after the break.
On the other hand, Siri’s preemptive Beta release marks one of the first-ever occasions where Apple did not perfect a product before launch. When the class action lawsuit against Siri surfaced, the company readily confessed to The Wall Street Journal that Siri is still in Beta, but it also maintained Siri is “cutting edge.” Nevertheless, critics love to lambast the feature. One Foot Tsunami, for instance, often covers the “Callousness of Siri.” The blog even took aim at Apple’s recent commercial starring Samuel L. Jackson:
If you’ve used Siri yourself, however, you know the disclaimer of “Sequences shortened” is more than an understatement. They’ve edited out the inevitable “No.…NO.…NO!” as well as significant quantities of exasperated sighs. After hearing Jackson say the word “hotspacho” for the umpteenth time, I decided to run a little test.
O.K., we get it. Siri is not perfect–gasp! T3N took a more optimistic look at Siri and created an entire infographic that details users’ satisfaction and how they interact with Siri regularly. Appropriately titled “Siri, why don’t you understand me?” (click thumbnail, right), the artwork alleged 51 percent of users think it is extremely important for their next smartphones to have a Siri-like service.
Android users want a similar voice service, too. Many are jumping on the personal assistant bandwagon as developers keep churning out alternates to the iOS feature. Samsung even launched its own S-Voice app in the latest Galaxy lineup, and it plans to integrate voice-control technology into upcoming smart TV products. So, whether or not Siri is an accurate success, it seems like voice is an insatiable, key technology for the future. What do you think: Is Siri a success for Apple? Submit your response in the poll (after the break, above).
- Siri-like Voice Dictation coming to OS X Mountain Lion? (9to5mac.com)
- Apple defends Siri’s performance in class-action lawsuit (9to5mac.com)