iOS 15 brings a number of enhancements to Siri, its virtual assistant, including native, on-device command processing that no longer requires an active internet connection, albeit limited to selected devices.
Of course, Google Assistant has been able to work offline for quite some time now, and Android 12 has only made the platform’s patented virtual assistant better.
The comparison was made between a Pixel 3a and an iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Pixel 3a’s processor is roughly three times slower than the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s A14 Bionic SoC, which is important since on-device command processing uses the CPU’s processing power.
Users still have to ‘wake Siri up’ by tapping on the Siri button or saying the magic words before they can issue a command, whereas Google Assistant can process a string of commands without needing any additional prompts after being woken up.
During the course of the video, offline command processing on iOS 15 was found to do exactly what it says on the box — from toggling system settings like Bluetooth to controlling music playback, commands are processed successfully and, thanks to the Pro Max’s lightning-fast CPU, quickly.
As for the speed test consisting of 14 back-to-back commands, Assistant successfully processed all 14 commands in 1 minute and 6 seconds, whereas Siri took 1 minute and 8 seconds to successfully process 12 out of the 14 commands, failing to create a note and increase screen brightness.
It should be noted that the time scores do not account for the fact that Siri has to be woken up after every command to process the next one, whereas Assistant does not.
Siri can now directly share what’s on a user’s screen with contacts as images, links, screenshots, and more via text messages, and test results show that it does slightly better than Google Assistant in sharing content.
Apple noted in the iOS 15 release notes that the way Siri maintains context through consecutive commands has been improved significantly. However, testing reveals that Apple still has a lot of work to do in this area.
Asking Siri how far it is from Dubai to Abu Dhabi gets you the right result, and following up with, “What about Ajman?” tells you exactly what you need to know: how far it is from Dubai to Ajman.
However, ask Siri about the cast of The Conjuring 3, and the assistant returns links to search results whereas Google Assistant directly displays the film’s main cast. Follow up with, “Who is the director?” and Siri returns search results for the term “director” instead of telling you who directed The Conjuring 3, like Assistant does.
Notification announcements via wireless earbuds have been a thing on Assistant for a while, but Siri seems to have finally caught up and does just as well, if not better, than its competitor.
Siri on iOS 15 is undeniably faster than previous generations and has caught up to Google Assistant in a number of key areas. However, having to wake Siri up after every single command still holds users back, and context maintenance is far from what it should be.
Granted, both platforms are currently in beta and will be polished over the next few months, so another comparison may be in order once they start officially rolling out to the masses.