Artificial intelligence is changing technology, and Apple is falling behind with Siri

Artificial intelligence has been with us for years, even in small things like recognizing faces in a picture with the recommendations we see in our favorite apps. But more recently, we’ve seen new types of AI capable of doing things unimaginable years ago. These new AIs are changing the way people interact with technology. But at the same time, Apple clearly lags behind its competitors.

Apple started a trend with Siri, but it quickly became outdated

It’s impossible to talk about AI and not think of Siri. Apple’s virtual assistant was officially introduced in 2011 after the company acquired Siri’s technology from a startup in 2010. The technology was capable of understanding a series of commands to help users with web searches. Apple naturally had ambitious plans for Siri and so added it as a feature of the iPhone 4S back then.

For the time, Siri’s capabilities were quite impressive, albeit limited. Siri could tell you the weather, set a timer, search the web, call someone, play a song or create a reminder. Everything is based on voice commands. Apple always said this was just the beginning. But it turns out that Siri never reached its full potential.

Years have passed and very little has been added to Siri. It has gained some new tricks, support for new languages, and even new interfaces over the years. But never anything revolutionary about how it works. But of course, everyone was interested in voice assistants, and quickly Apple’s competitors announced their own versions of Siri.

Google launched its own Assistant, Microsoft came with Cortana and Amazon with Alexa. But while these companies have worked hard to make their assistants smarter over the years, Siri has remained basically the same since 2011.

A new era for virtual assistants

Almost 12 years after Siri was announced, artificial intelligence has become more advanced than ever. This year, tools like ChatGPT are showing how virtual assistants can think and even create new content instead of just providing short answers to obvious commands.

Earlier this week, a developer showed how GPT-4 technology can even create iPhone apps using Apple’s SwiftUI language. Another great example is Brave Search’s new Summarizer feature, which uses artificial intelligence to create a short summary based on multiple sources of what the user is looking for.

Artificial intelligence is changing the way people interact with technology, and Apple is lagging behind Siri

More recently, Microsoft announced that it is bringing GPT-4 to the Office productivity suite with a new “Copilot” feature. With this feature, users will be able to do things like open PowerPoint and have the app create a complete presentation exactly as described by the user command. And while those companies are already shipping products with a new generation of virtual assistants, Apple is sticking with Siri.

What happened to Siri?

Apple always promised in its presentations that Siri would get better and smarter. But this never happened in practice. According to multiple reports, the team behind Siri simply isn’t able to improve the assistant because of the way it’s built.

When Siri was released with the iPhone 4S, Apple essentially implemented the code it had acquired from the launch. The idea was to ship the product and then work on a new version for the future. But over the years, the company just added small updates to the original Siri code instead of actually working on a new version of it.

The result is that the Siri code is now a mess, and what many sources say is that no one at Apple really wants to be the one to change it. Based on what 9 to 5 Mac knows about the code underneath Siri, most of the assistant’s responses are predefined and not really AI-based.

tvOS 16.2 brings multi-user voice recognition to Siri on Apple TV

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Apple engineers are testing “language-generating concepts” for Siri. 9 to 5 Mac found reports to confirm this report in the latest beta version of tvOS 16.4, the software that runs both Apple TV and Apple’s HomePod smart speaker.

However, it’s all very experimental at this point and it’s unclear when we’ll see this new AI-powered Siri in real life.

It may be too late for Siri

Apple is known for not being the first to release a feature. But in this case, the company is far behind its competitors. Siri is currently a joke and there are many users complaining about how the assistant can’t even understand basic commands.

Apple seems to have already lost the battle of virtual assistants. While it’s trying to make Siri better or less bad, its competitors are already launching new assistants that can generate natural language text, images, and even create new software. It’s time for Apple to stop trying to just improve Siri and work on something new. Because it’s already too late for Siri.

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