Steve Wozniak traveled to upstate New York recently to visit a farm of rescued horses, and the local paper managed to snag a brief interview with the co-founder of Apple, where he discussed the criticism surrounding Siri.
Apple’s little personal assistant in iOS can handle questions, give recommendations, and delegate requests, but many wonder if it really lives up to expectations. The folks in Cupertino like to roll out commercials 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 débuted on the iPhone 4S in October. Those who felt misled by Siri’s beta functionality depicted in ads eventually sought reimbursement by filing a class action lawsuit against the company earlier this year.
While in Patersonville, N.Y., Wozniak described his strong opinions on the voice-recognition application.
According to The Times Union:
“A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo,” Wozniak said. “I was using it to make reservations long before Apple bought it.”
“I would say, ‘Siri, what are the five largest lakes in California?’ and it would come up, one, two, three, four, five. And I would ask ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and they would come up all in a row. That was pretty incredible,” Wozniak said.
He said he told family and friends about Siri and how “This was the future: speaking things in normal ways, feeling like you’re talking to a human and how Siri was the greatest program,” Wozniak said.
“Then Apple bought Siri,” he said. He then paused, lifted his right hand and gave it a big thumbs down.
“‘What are the largest lakes in California?’ I’d get all these lakefront properties. And I’d say ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ And I’d get prime rib,” Wozniak said.
“I’m really disappointed, but it’s still a market for the future,” Wozniak said. “I think voice recognition for all the platforms is going to get better and better and better at putting together complete sentences and phrases. What did a human really mean? Like, if you said ‘Five, I mean six.’ It will understand a backup, the little faults in our speech that humans understand. It will understand that eventually.”
Wozniak iterated similar rumblings to a developer at FourSquare earlier this year. He even used the same lake/prime rib example. The reporter in this interview should have asked him, “Perhaps Siri knows you like prime rib?”
Despite Wozniak’s criticism of Siri, the quirky businessman seemed enthusiastic about Apple’s latest developments revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference. He specifically said he is excited about Apple’s new computer lineup and app called “Passbook,” which essentially turns a user’s iPhone into a digital wallet.
“People are always going to be disappointed,” he added, when asked if Apple let down consumers at WWDC. “I really like the new MacBook.”
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