Apple’s been investing a lot in Siri, and it’s paying off

“I use Siri all the time. It’s gotten so that I’m often too lazy to tap or type. I use it for reminders, for alarms, for searches, for reservations, and for a lot more,” Rene Ritchie writes for iMore. “If I have an idea and I’m driving and don’t want to forget it, I’ll just say ‘Hey, Siri,’ dictate a note, and touch it up later as needed. And in my experience, John Gruber is spot on.”

I’ve noticed over the past year that Siri is getting faster — both at parsing spoken input and returning results. I use iOS’s voice-to-text dictation feature on a near-daily basis, and it’s especially noticeable there. I’ve been using a Moto X running Android 5.0 the past few weeks, so today I did a side-by-side comparison between Siri and Android’s Google Now, asking both the simple question, ‘What temperature is it outside?’ Both phones were on the same Wi-Fi network. Siri was consistently as fast or faster. I made a video that shows them in pretty much a dead heat.John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“iOS 8’s streaming speech-to-text is especially notable,” Ritchie writes. “You see it rendering while you’re speaking and what’s more — you see it changing the words it’s already rendered as it gets additional context. Apple’s been investing a lot in voice, and it’s paying off.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Sounds like she is insatiable. I would like to see a comparison with the ugly sister Cortana if only as I would like to see if Micorsoft are as boastfully ballshiting as much as they were when they tried to claim Bing was technically superior to Google search. Having used both it is a laughable claim as usage stats confirm.

  1. Siri could of course be a lot faster if it didn’t have to send our chatter across the Internet in order to get a response from Apple’s Siri server. I expect that over time Siri will be come more directly integrated into iOS hardware/software directly on the device. I’m going to guess that it isn’t already because of:
    A: Learning on the server end of the system.
    B: Massive interpretation software on the server end of the system.
    C: Nuance mandates that their speech recognition be run this way.

    1. D: Battery life vs. processing power. Dictation software is very processor intensive. Sending your recorded voice to a powerful server and receiving a text file in response requires much less of your phone’s CPU.

      1. That’s true. But you do end up paying for the bandwidth to sent your audio off to Apple. It also takes more time as you wait for the back and forth across the net than if everything was handled right there on your iOS device ASAP.

      1. And to be able to DICTATE audio to your Mac and have it transcribed is amazing. Happily, I wasn’t interested in voice recognition way back when it cost $10,000. But I do remember when Dragon Natural Speaking cost substantially more than $150.

        (The current equivalent on Mac is Dragon Dictate at $150. You can currently get the Home Edition for $75. Dragon Dictate Medical is $1000).

  2. My girlfriend (iPhone 5S) prefers Google Now; whereas I hate Google so prefer to use Siri on my iPhone 6. We have competitions to see who can find answers faster. Google nearly always wins, sometimes by a considerable margin. And Google often gives more appropriate answers. All too often Siri just opens an obscure Wolfram Alpha page for me to read to try to find the answer to a simple question whereas Google just gives the answer straight up. For example, one evening we asked when the next full moon was. Siri opened a Wolfram page on phases of the moon which required a minute’s reading whereas Google just said “tomorrow.”
    I hate that Google beats Siri.

    1. This iMore guy is living in la-la land.
      Google trounces Apple in search and always will.
      I just tried the moon question. Instead of telling me when the next full moon was, she said the moon is in its waning crescent phase. I asked again and got the same answer.
      On a related topic, we were on vacation in Florida and asked directions to Downtown Disney, which was only a few miles away from Epcot. We got directions alright, to Disneyland California.

      1. To be fair, Disneyland is in downtown LA whereas Disneyworld is sort of on the fringes in Kissimmee. I agree that it would have been smart of Siri/Apple to answer your question in the context of your location. Did you have location services turned on? Perhaps you have framed your question better?

  3. Siri recently failed at calling one of my contacts by name, and at opening one of my apps by name. It got the text right, but somehow didn’t connect it to the matching contact or app. I feel like Siri used to get that stuff right. Oh, and when sending a message the other day, Siri somehow completely forgot who my wife was. What kind of assistant does that?

    Siri is still good at setting alarms and unit conversions, so she’s still good for something.

  4. I still find Siri a pain to use.

    Names are constsntly mispronounced and simple messages are dictated inaccurately.

    As a result I rarely use Siri. In my experience, it’s still in Beta.

  5. Siri is still really stupid. It should be able to actually answer questions. On the occasion when it does find an answer to something, it pulls it up on screen rather that actually telling you. Sometimes it will tell you the weather forecast and other times it will just pull it up for you to look at. It can’t do something simple like: How do I spell “onomatopoeia”. It will show you the word. But it should also spell it out for you.

    Siri can’t tell you what’s on TV tonight. It should be able to do that.

    Siri can’t find flights for you. I should be able to say “Find me a flight to Las Vegas on February 15. It could then ask the questions it needed to complete it. Or it could pull the query up in a travel app.

    General knowledge is also rotten. If you type “average lifespan of a house cat” Bing and Google have an answer for you. Siri gives you a selection of web pages.

    If you ask Google or Bing, they’ll find the answer. Siri will find websites. Try it yourself with Googles iOS app.

    Siri sucks.

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