Since its launch with the iPhone 4S, Siri has had the makings of a fun and useful feature. But somehow, it still hasn’t managed to live up to its potential. There are many reasons why many iPhone users, including us, haven’t integrated Siri in their daily lives. Two of the most common complaints about Siri are its lack of contextual understanding and learning user preferences, and Apple is set to address both these issues in the next iOS version.
According to a report by Verifier, Apple is going to introduce some significant upgrades for Siri during this year’s WWDC in June. Verifier claims that the information is ‘received directly from the development teams based in Israel and the U.S.’ It notes that Apple will enable iCloud integration for Siri, which will help it index the user behaviour. Along with that, Siri is expected to get the much needed contextual learning boost. If true, this is very exciting news!
Speaking from personal experience, it’s a tedious task to acclimatise Siri to one’s voice, especially if you have a strong accent like we do in India. Every time I buy a new iOS device, I make an attempt to use Siri for day-to-day tasks but give up within a few weeks. One of the prime reason for this frustration is that I have to start the Siri training process from scratch with each new device. It would be so much better if Siri’s learning of an individual user can be transferred between devices. It looks like Apple has finally realised the problem and will enable user profiling by Siri through iCloud integration. Better late than never!
Another big frustration with Siri is its complete lack of context. It’s very much a do-as-directed virtual assistant with no creative inputs. Amazon Echo and Google Assistant has light years ahead of Apple in this regard. iOS 11 promises to fix this issue by add Siri to more system level apps like iMessages and enabling it to interact with them contextually. For example, if you and your friends are discussing dinner plans on iMessages, Siri can jump in to recommend nearby restaurants.
Now that Apple has expanded Siri’s reach from iOS to Macs, Apple Watch and even Apple TV, these fundamental updates to Siri have become critical for its successful adoption. Apple is counting big time on Siri to act as a primary mode of interaction with all its devices; but for that to happen, Siri needs to improve, a lot, and fast.