Former VocalIQ staff working on Siri in Apple’s R&D office in Cambridge, England

“We learned two years ago that Apple was setting up an R&D center in Cambridge, England, to tap academic research expertise,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “Business Insider thinks it knows the focus of the work the team there is performing.”

“Those working inside are aiming to make Siri talk more naturally, according to a source that knows a number of Apple’s Cambridge employee” Business Insider reports. “Apple’s Cambridge office is home to less than 30 people, including many of the employees from VocalIQ — a voice recognition startup that was spun out from the university and acquired by Apple in 2015.”

Lovejoy reports, “VocalIQ is a tool specifically geared to allowing truly conversational queries…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Maybe their work help to rapidly advance Siri’s capabilities!

Apple employs Artificial Intelligence guru from university that taught computers to ‘defeat humans’ – October 19, 2016
New hire could be critical step toward attracting high-profile AI research talent to Apple – October 18, 2016
Apple hires a big brain in AI to smarten up Siri – October 17, 2016
Apple transforms Turi into dedicated machine learning division to build future product features – August 31, 2016
An exclusive inside look at how artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple – August 24, 2016
Apple rumored to be taking big piece of Seattle-area office market in expansion – August 12, 2016
Why Apple will become a leader in artificial intelligence – August 8, 2016
Apple buys machine-learning startup Turi for $200 million – August 6, 2016
Apple touts Artificial Intelligence in iOS and opens ‘crown jewels’ to developers – June 14, 2016
Smartphones to die out within five years, replaced by artificial intelligence – survey – December 9, 2015
Apple’s extreme secrecy retarding its artificial intelligence work – October 30, 2015
Apple hires NVIDIA’s artificial intelligence director – October 24, 2015
Apple acquires advanced artificial intelligence startup Perceptio – October 5, 2015
Apple buys artificial intelligence natural language start-up VocalIQ – October 2, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T.Cook 2012
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T.Cook 2013
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T.Cook 2014
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T.Cook 2015
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T.Cook 2016

    Mr. Cook, even your watch was ho-hum. Forget your “exciting things in the pipeline (so far, so blah) and just get Siri and AppleTV to work. Then we can start talking about excitement.

    1. Yeah at least innovate on the phrase. To be fare though I think the watch was about as good as it could be considering the state of the appropriate technology and thats as much as you can ask, when you know that it will be something increasingly useful in the future even if it takes 5 years to get there. Instant hits are few and far between these days though I am still smarting at the damn echo miss. That really was think different. Though it wouldn’t have had to be very different for Apple considering all the tech was there staring back at them all the time.

    2. So what is a CEO supposed to say?
      “We have things in development”
      “We are very busy”
      “I’m the boss”
      Sheesh, he’s doing exactly what he is supposed to do and that isn’t anything to do with satisfying know-all entitlement junkies who couldn’t fart for their supper or conjure up anything intelligent to say.
      Here’s a thought…go and do better since you’re so convinced of your own superiority.

  2. Interestedly a few weeks back I reported how Siri on my Mac was unable to understand my request to play Air from my music library it just refused to understand the word or the significance of the request and just said it didn’t understand the request.

    Asked the same thing on my iPad yesterday and though again it mistook ‘Air’ for another word it did make a guess at what I wanted and played something that was a more than good enough substitute i.e. Ariels. Just tried it again and it did precisely the same thing. What is it about the word Air that it doesn’t like I wonder. Just checked on my Mac again and this time ‘Air’ became ‘Something’. Oh well at least it played ‘something’ anyway. But I’m getting paranoid that that is the only word it doesn’t understand in that phrase and why.

    1. It must be a pronunciation thing. I can get Siri to do most of what I need…first time. Music tracks by artist, title or whatever, maps, finding destinations, opening apps…I just don’t get the misses all you guys complain about.
      English English is obviously clearer to understand but then my Chinese daughter-in-law has no problem either.

    2. I’m with Gotcha. But there are complicated phrases and sentences that thoroughly stump Siri. I’m to the point in my experience using Siri where I can tell immediately that what I’m about to say to Siri is going to FAIL because it is so limited in its comprehension of anything but simple commands and queries.

      Siri is a toddler, one that still falls on its face when it has to walk on anything but a flat surface. Stairs? Forget it. Too complicated and difficult for those little legs.

    3. It played Air on my phone when requested. Note: Apple Music is enabled on my phone. Siri selected an Air song from the album “Moon Safari”, which is in my collection. For giggles, I also tried Air Supply and it played a song from that band off Apple Music.

      BTW – if you dig Air you might enjoy one of my recently created playlists – “Old School Mix #2”:

      Lately, I’m finding some cool older stuff that I’ve never heard before in the “You Might Also Like” section on Apple Music. Fun stuff.

    4. Oh you poorbaby.

      Never heard your parents, syblings, friends, school chums, co-workers, or your kids, etc., say “What?’ or you said, “I didn’t say that.”

      Ever called in an air strike and heard “Say again,” or you had to “I say again…”?

      Ever wonder why news broadcasters, actors, singers, etc., take speech lessons?

      Heck, ever wonder why there are so many Canadians and Brits hosting News broadcast?

      But no. You can understand a rapper mumble out lyrics and completely understand him on the first spin.

      And you’re paranoid because a hand held doesn’t understand you because it can’t decipher your pronunciation of the word ‘air’? Have you ever looked up the word in a dictionary or searched for words that sound similar?

      I don’t know what you do, but one of my best friends had most of his tongue taken out. At first we texted and texted. Then, we got assistive speech apps, used Mac Dictation and Dragon and finally Siri. Our patience paid off. We spoke to each other a lot. Unfortunately not long enough.

      P.S. If you haven’t yet, try Mac Dictation. If it works perfectly the first time, I apologize for MY rant. As I have learned, voice assistive apps need to learn as well. Some are even smarter than I am. What?

  3. I’m impressed how Siri tries to pronounce words according to which particular dictionary you’re using. With the British English dictionary selected , she pronounces ‘aluminium’ correctly ( ‘al you minium’ ), although when the word is spelt the American way, she still tries to pronounce it a bit like we do in England ( ‘al you min um’ rather than the American ‘a loo min um’ ), which makes it sound strange to both British and American ears.

    She also correctly pronounces ‘tomato’ and ‘potato’ the English way. We now hear ‘tom ah tow’ and ‘pot eight oh’, where we use to hear ‘tom ah tow’ and pot ah tow’.

    None of these things are very significant, but one of the delights of using Apple’s products is noticing the little features that have been cleverly included. It’s always reassuring when you see that people have paid attention to those tiny details.

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