Apple strengthening Siri’s backbone ahead of next-gen intelligent devices and services

“Apple once led the pack with its intelligent assistant Siri, but in just a few years, Amazon, Microsoft and Google have chipped away at its lead,” John Mannes reports for TechCrunch.

“Siri is a critical component of Apple’s vision for the future, so integral that it was willing to spend $200 million to acquire Lattice Data over the weekend. The startup was working to transform the way businesses deal with paragraphs of text and other information that lives outside neatly structured databases,” Mannes reports. “These engineers are uniquely prepared to assist Apple with building a next-generation internal knowledge graph to power Siri and its next generation of intelligent products and services.”

“Broadly speaking, the Lattice Data deal was an acquihire. Apple paid roughly $10 million for each of Lattice’s 20 engineers. This is generally considered to be fair market value,” Mannes reports. “The deal signals that Apple is willing to spend significant capital shoring up the backbone of Siri.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Your personal assistant is only as good as your knowledge graph and the confidence you have in it.

Apple acquires dark data startup ‘Lattice Data’ for $200 million – May 15, 2017
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Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple likely to launch all-new 10.5 inch iPad Pro and Siri Speaker at WWDC – May 13, 2017
Amazon dominates market for voice-controlled speakers – May 9, 2017
Bloomberg: Unclear if Apple’s forthcoming Siri Speaker will feature a display; Amazon would love to integrate Apple Music on Echo – May 9, 2017
Amazon unveils ‘Echo Show’ with a display for video calls and more; ships June 28 – May 9, 2017
Phil Schiller on Amazon Echo-like devices and more – May 6, 2017
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo rumored to borrow trashcan Mac Pro design cues, could arrive at WWDC – April 28, 2017
Following debut of Echo Look with built-in camera, Amazon likely reveal new Echo device with a built-in display – April 27, 2017
Apple said to be working on a Siri-based Amazon Echo rival – April 27, 2017
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo: What if AirPort Extreme becomes the Siri speaker? – December 1, 2016
Apple abandons development of wireless routers – November 21, 2016
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo – September 26, 2016
Apple’s Amazon Echo rival said to include includes built-in cameras to read users’ emotions, recognize faces – September 23, 2016
Apple’s Siri-powered Amazon Echo-like device reportedly now in prototype testing – September 23, 2016
Why an ‘Apple Echo’ would be a hit – June 15, 2016
New Apple TV to take on Amazon’s Echo, source says – May 26, 2016
Apple preps Amazon Echo rival, opening up Siri – May 24, 2016
Apple should make a stationary voice command device like Amazon’s Echo – May 19, 2016
Google unveils its Amazon Echo knockoff called ‘Google Home’ – May 18, 2016
Where’s Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo? – March 31, 2016
Amazon Echo leads mindshare in smart home platform war – February 29, 2016
Why did Apple buy a startup whose tech can read emotions via facial recognition? – January 7, 2016
Apple buys Emotient, maker of artificial-intelligence tech that reads emotion by analyzing facial expressions – January 7, 2016


  1. Doesn’t matter to me, I never use it.
    It is far easier to just do an internet search (DuckDuckGo for security reasons) because you get a list of possibilities to choose from, whereas with Siri you get one answer that is most likely wrong.

    1. Siri can be very handy and will continue to grow in usefulness as the AI evolves. Just because you do not use Siri does not mean that the function is irrelevant for others.

      By the way, Siri does provide multiple possibilities to some queries. Simpler questions, such as “what is the temperature” will naturally result in a single, simple answer.

  2. There is a lot more to Siri than internet searches. Siri needs a lot of help and a lot more native functionality at the device level. Siri shouldn’t have to communicate with the mothership to initiate a phone call when the data to make that happen is sitting on my phone. There are myriad functions like that that shouldn’t need a clean internet connection and undesirable lag time. There are just too many places when one is mobile where the communications isn’t satisfactory for Siri to excel.

    1. Agreed. Here’s a case scenario that I quickly figured out how to make her fail. Leaving a wi-if hot spot (for example pulling out of my garage) and asking Siri something while the iPhone has a weak connection to the wifi but hasn’t quite connected to LTE. She’ll just sit there thinking. I end up having to try again once I’ve lost the connection entirely before she’ll work. In reality, 99% of the time the data I’m asking about is on the phone itself. Addresses, making calls, sending text , etc.

      I will say, Siri seems smarter on the Apple Watch and via CarPlay

      1. Interesting, so would Apple Watch and CarPlay fail the same way if you should use them in the same situations that the iPhone they depend on has a similarly weak connection and hasn’t switched over to LTE?

  3. What this article seems to be saying it that the acquisition will help give Siri the ‘potential’ to be smart but not the knowledge (huge database) that Amazon and Google Assistants have at their disposal. Before that, however it may pay to develop at least a part of Siri that can work w/o any data connection for requests that don’t need to access off-board data and integrate better with the Apps on the device.

  4. Apple once led the pack with its intelligent assistant Siri

    Yeah but it’s technology Apple bought. Then they hobbled it. If Apple’s purchase of Lattice Data has anything to do with Siri, we shall see. Meanwhile, Siri has MAJOR growing up to do. I as I keep ranting, Apple’s old PlainTalk could do things that Siri can’t. That’s ridiculous.

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