Apple’s Siri digital assistant made Cortana look bad at WWDC

“Siri upstaged Cortana Monday morning, in a digital assistant battle that’s just starting to heat up,” Mark Hachman writes for PCWorld. “As part of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple executives showed off macOS Sierra, the next iteration of Apple’s Mac operating system. An integrated Siri wil be one of its star features. “It’s the same Siri on the Mac that we know and love, but now it can do so much more,’ said Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, in describing the new Siri.”

“What can Siri do that Cortana can’t…or says it can’t?” Hachman writes. “I used Siri [sic Cortana] [How Freudian. – MDN Ed.] on my own Surface Book, challenging Federighi to bring his best stuff. Unfortunately, he did.”

“Federighi came out swinging. ‘Show me the files I worked on last week about the offsite,’ he ordered Siri, who did. Cortana, however, stumbled out of the gate,” Hachman writes. “Unfortunately for Cortana, Federighi then pulled out the big guns: “Just the ones that Ken sent me that I tagged with ‘draft’,” he said. I tried my own version: “Just the ones about AMD,” I commanded. Nope, not a chance… And, as a PC fan, it rankles.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Solution: Dump your “fandom” of crappy PCs – upside-down and backwards Macs – and get yourself the real Mac you’ve obviously subconsciously wanted all along!

We are armed with Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs and nobody lacking such a lineup can come even remotely close to our day-to-day capabilities. We are more efficient and we can accomplish much more than non-Apple device sufferers because our devices are infinitely more integrated. No other platform or ecosystem can compare.


  1. Tell ’em MDN! If only Facebook would shut up and Apple would fix the bug where braille resets to the first position of the current element being read so I won’t have to keep scrolling back to where I was after a notification. Grrr.

  2. I would rather wait a little longer to get things right even if the trolls go on about this or that was available somewhere else earlier ( indeed predictably there was one doing just that on one of the other Sierra threads re Cortana). In terms of Cortana on the PC some of the forums after its release were not exactly impressed, it being deemed by many as inconsistent and an annoyance more than a useful function as it stood, but hey it got there first for boasting points which is all thats important to the mind-dead. Hopefully siri will garner better revues on her debut though, first impressions give great hope.

    1. Sniping is part of the competition process. We have some serious competition going on in the ‘virtual digital assistant’ (VPA) realm and we’re finally getting some of the results in Siri. That’s a great thing!

  3. How is anyone a PC “fan”? I understand that a lot of people use PCs, and even like them. But being a fan implies some kind of emotional connection to the product. How this is possible with a PC is beyond me. I guess he’s the one guy that actually goes to the Microsoft store events.

    1. I know of *extremely* few PC “fans” (read: Windows Fans). Really, of all the computer users I’ve met over the last 50+ years, I can probably count the Microsoft OS (PC DOS, MS DOS, or any variant of Windows) on both hands — and this includes all the IT people I’ve known over the years. Even of the ex-Microsofties that I’ve known over the years only a couple were hard core MS OS fans.

      Most of the people who use a Windows based systems do so for any number of reasons:
      1) Corporate IT says they must do so at work and to have a consistent environment they use a Windows machines at home. (The average home user does NOT want to know two different operating systems.)
      2) They utilize software that has no equivalent on the Mac (e.g., Analytical Graphics’ System Tool Kit — though AGI had a Mac variant of STK before the Dark Days).
      3) They need to do simulations or other processes that required multiple GPUs to do number crunching or transcoding to keep the simulation/transcoding time down to a reasonable length of time
      4) They are hard core gamers
      5) They love to tinker with their machine and/or always want the absolute latest hardware

  4. I have been saying for a while that Apple would not bring Siri to the Mac until it made sense. Apple is not one for bringing new features to their products unless it serves a specific purpose. What Federighi demonstrated yesterday shows that Apple did their homework and was very thoughtful in this implementation. It’s about the race; not finishing it. This is the type of thing that gives me hope about Apple. There are still amazing things happening there. Here’s hoping that the remainder of the year brings us some really great (and updated) Mac hardware to house Siri. To paraphrase Steve Jobs: “this is 5 years ahead of anything else out there”. Google and Microsoft have some engineering work to do.

  5. No thanks. I know people who do worship Apple and whenever anything happens, multiple nanny annoyances buzz beep and flash to tell them about it. It’s pure distraction that wastes time. Apparently no one at Apple has bothered to think about the power of concentrating without distractions.

    I can live very well without the artificial Siri snark and the useless iOSification. With Widgets, all the stuff that one would ask Siri is also available one click away — and silently so you don’t annoy everyone around you!

    All Apple has done in the last 7 years is push people to rent iCloud. Apple apparently thinks everyone lives in a perfect WiFi environment at all hours of the day and has every Apple iOS gadget at all times. We don’t, nor do we want to. One shouldn’t rely on an iOS device when working on a Mac. The only thing of any value to me that Apple seems to be doing — FINALLY — is a new file system for the Mac. And they didn’t even think it was important enough to share during the WWDC presentation. That shows how iOS-centric Apple has become. No focus on productivity or efficiency, and all about emoji, curated music, Apple watch fashion, and iOS bullshit. Just tell me how to turn all that off!!!

    1. I don’t agree with you, in general, with regard to macOS (nee Mac OS X, nee Mac OS, nee Mac System). The Mac OS (except for the late System 7 through Mac OS 9.x days) was rarely, overall, behind the curve with regard to functionality and capability. Yes, the file system has lagged for the most recent dozen years or so, but HFS+ with Journaling turned on has been sufficient in all but the largest of file systems and complex backup implementations.

      Besides, all the iOS add ins that you decry can be ignored. Will I use Siri on macOS? Maybe, but very rarely. I don’t use Spotlight much now. Siri won’t be much different for me. But to some people it will be a godsend. If you don’t like it, don’t use it.

      The same goes for the other items you mention — even iCloud. I don’t use iCloud as I keep everything local and locked down with multiple local backups and such. Again, don’t use it if you don’t want to do so.

      What I have had a problem with , for the last 2-3 years, has been Apple’s complete lack of regard for keeping Mac hardware on the leading edge. If we go back to the 1998 through 2007 Apple often had leading edge hardware (and sometimes bleeding edge hardware) to show off its OS.

      Why did the Mac sales numbers continue to grow while the personal computer market in general was shrinking? It was the great hardware on which to run the Mac operating system. Why have the Mac sales numbers started to contract like the rest of the personal computer world? It’s because the Mac operating system and apps cannot do the job keeping people enthused about the Mac on behind the times hardware.

      There were many, many times when the Mac took the lead — from the original Mac to the Mac II that could support six monitors to the Mac IIcx and IIci that re-defined serviceability of PCs to the Mac 840 that had a digital signal process standard, to the iMac that led the charge on the move to USB, to the MacBooks that redesigned the laptop keyboard placement which shortly thereafter everyone copied, to the original 30″ Cinema Display, to the first MacBook Air, and so forth — and I’m sure I’ve left more off the list than I’ve mentioned. The only thing in recent memory that comes even close is the 5K iMac. The rest of the Mac line has languished often coming to the playing field with a “me too” implementation if things have shown up at all.

      Apple senior management should be ashamed at how they’ve treated Mac hardware in the past 2-3 years.

  6. I installed the latest iOS on my mobile devices and El Capitan on all my Macs because it gave me the ability to access critical documents in iCloud wherever I was, including sitting at my Dell Windows 7 machine at work.

    I’ll upgrade again because Siri on the Mac will be great. Imagine not needing to reach for the mouse and click a few times to open a document. Just tell Siri to open it and presto you are ready to go.

    The combo of a keyboard, mouse, and Siri on a Mac will be phenomenal.

  7. I did think that SIRI was too wordy and cute during that one demonstration. It was cool how it understood what he said and could bring up the files he asked for, but SIRI didn’t need to then add a sentence or two that wasn’t necessary to the task. It was as though they wanted SIRI to be hip or clever or smart.

    I didn’t like that aspect of SIRI and it would drive me crazy if I had a chatty SIRI. Maybe there will be settings like “Sort of Quiet” SIRI versus “Chatty” SIRI or some such thing.

    But I am looking forward to having SIRI on my desktop. Sometimes I look for things using spotlight and it is just too frustrating.

  8. …Delightful! It’s great to know that Apple has indeed been bashing away at Siri: Giving it back its original capabilities and giving it smarter code for figuring out what we humans want out of it.

    Cortana: It’s your turn to play catch up.

    Competition at work.

    1. I think I’d wait on any decision of which voice assistant is ‘better’ when a third party does a test run to squash any doubts of scripting to get the best results from one over another.

        1. That’s right! I forgot Google voice and Cortana were also on iOS.. Comparing them all on the same device would be quite informative. I have doubts of Alexa being on any competitor’s device in the near future.

  9. Hopefully it can do basic functions like save files, zoom in, etc. I think it would be quicker just to say, “zoom in 50%” rather than interact with shortcut keys…

    Also, if I’m away from the computer or have my hands full (like cooking) I hope it can do things like, “Siri, search for instructions on how to make pizza and Air Play that site/directions to the kitchen TV.”

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