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Why Apple’s Siri Has Fallen Behind Competitors According to Insiders

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Citing several interviews from a number of former Apple employees who worked on various teams responsible for creating Siri or integrating it into Apple’s ecosystem, an article by The Information has given an insight into why the iPhone maker’s virtual assistant has has turned into a “major problem for the company”.

Siri

For the first time ever, many of Apple employees interviewed by source acknowledged that Apple rushed Siri into the iPhone 4s before the technology was completely ready for public release. Scott Forstall, who at the time was one of Apple’s SVPs and oversaw the Siri team, also had his attention divided by other major projects, including the Apple Maps.

Forstall then named Richard Williamson as the head of the Siri group, who according to several former employees made a number of decisions that the rest of the Siri team disagreed with.

Team members said they argued in vain that that model was wrong for Siri, which they believed needed to be an online service that continuously improved, not updated annually.

Mr. Williamson, in an emailed response to an interview request, wrote that it’s “completely untrue” that he decided Siri shouldn’t be improved continuously. He said decisions concerning “technical leadership of the software and server infrastructure” were made by employees below his level, while he was responsible for getting the team on track.

“After launch, Siri was a disaster,” Mr. Williamson wrote. “It was slow, when it worked at all. The software was riddled with serious bugs. Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team, certainly not me.”

The report also highlights that seven years later, Siri continues to be a problem and arguably the main reason why the HomePod has underperformed as compared to similar offerings from rivals Amazon and Google.

You can read the lengthy article in its entirety at this link.

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  • jay

    because she is not smart. they are so many things google does better because they collect data but do i really care? NO because i get service.
    and for all these people talking about privacy. why you using google and facebook…

    i believe apple need to restart siri all over or just leave it. people used it and did not like it and thats it for them.

  • Joe

    I agree that privacy is important. I do not like how Google monetizes their users. Apple products are premium priced, they shouldn’t be making money off me after I buy it.

    That being said, they do need to improve Siri. If the ONLY way to do that is to steal user’s data, well, then I don’t know. I think if you do that, you’re admitting that Google was right and Apple was wrong. I don’t see Apple doing that any time soon.

  • FragilityG4

    I use her only to select music as I drive. I’m happy.

  • Salinger

    I use Spotify and I’m not happy. LOL

    Me: “Hey Siri, play “insert my favourite song title” on Spotify.
    Siri: “I can’t play Spotify, but here’s “insert vaguely similar song title” from your library.”

  • Siri is the most widely used assistant around the world. As for those few people that say that’s it for them then there’s Google. See there’s something for everybody, even the ones that don’t value security, privacy, quality, and everything else that ends with the e-sound.

  • I love Siri, but having used all platforms, it’s not too hard to notice she’s lacking.

    I mostly use Siri to control lights in my house (turn living room to 30) , (lights off)

    Music – (play ____ by ____). While I’m at work.

    The odd dictated message and that’s about it. I’ve tried using it in other ways with hit n’ miss results, too many retries to make it worth while. Either I’m saying the phrase incorrectly to what Siri is ready for, or simply doesn’t hear me correctly.

  • Siri lies to me… When I ask her if my dress makes me look fat, she says no and I am ok with that.

  • FragilityG4

    Hahaha

  • FragilityG4

    Update your library ?

  • Bwah hah ha ha ha… Not to be outdone By Alexa, Siri now has her own maniacle laugh that she uses late at night when you are all alone.

  • FragilityG4

    I’m sorry, you’ll have to unlock your iPhone first before I can preform that action

  • Salinger

    No need for a library any more with streaming services, however Apple’s still living in 2001 requiring users to download a program to listen to music on a desktop/laptop. If it weren’t for that (because I listen to music at the office all day) I’d switch to Apple Music and Siri would be a lot more helpful; still dumb, but more helpful. ?

  • Rather than always listening, even during private conversations like a nosey neighbour hiding in the bushes outside your window.

  • Where is whole Siri is dumb thing coming from? The actual use case scenarios from real people for all of the “assistants” is very similar in abilities. The fringe use case scenarios for the majority of users would never have a purpose for any of the none sense commands fanboys are whining about.

  • FragilityG4

    I can’t see myself, at this point, signing up for a streaming service. I’ve invested too much in CD’s so I’ve converted them all to mp3.

  • Salinger

    Yeah, everything I’ve read says Siri is “very similar in abilities” to Google Assistant and Alexa.

    “fanboys”. LOL I love irony.

  • Salinger

    Yeah, I should have been more clear. I just meant I have no need to make further investments in a library any more. I have a few thousand songs, burned from CD’s and purchased from iTunes, but streaming is awesome. No matter how large my library is, it’ll never match what Spotify or Apple Music can offer. I didn’t think I’d go for it either, but after using it for a while, I simply can’t imagine not having it now. Especially good with my Sonos. There will always be a place for purchased music though too. Occasionally there’s something you just can’t get without buying it.

  • Are you reading blogs? Because bloggers are a super reliable source if you want to get facts. I like ice-cream. Does my love of ice-cream make me a fanboy? Hell yeah it does!

  • FragilityG4

    Like Tool ?Although they say they’ll be on a streaming service soon.

  • Gerry Lee

    I hardly use Siri. Only time I’ll use it when I’m driving and need to make a quick request to call (if needed)

  • Salinger

    You’re right. Tech blogs are far less reliable than taking your word for it when, even on here, a site dedicated to Apple fans, it’s generally agreed Siri is lacking in comparison to Alexa and Google Assistant. That, plus years of first-hand experience using an iPhone with Siri on it. Siri pales in comparison to other assistants; that’s simply a fact. As an iPhone user, I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. I don’t have to ask it fringe questions to see its shortcomings, it fails on even basic queries that don’t involve on-phone functions.

    No, loving ice cream doesn’t make you a fanboy. Loving ice cream, and saying because you love it, anyone who doesn’t love it is wrong and that ice cream is the healthiest thing you can eat; that makes you a fanboy.

  • Tony

    I used to use Siri a lot but sometimes it gets it wrong and i started to start doing things myself since I’ll do with 100% accuracy. I still use Siri to turn on and off my lights. Alarms and timers. Find my friends for family locations. Sometimes check the hockey scores but I tend to do it myself. I never text because it gets it wrong a lot

  • You literally don’t understand what irony means. And also did you literally LOL? And I resent being called a fanboy, as I prefer to be called a FanMan.

  • MrXax

    Siri is a daily frustration, which is hard to believe this far into its lifecycle.

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