Is Apple really falling behind in the artificial intelligence race?

“Edison Investment Research’s Richard Windsor takes a look at Apple today, writing that changes to executive responsibility for Siri are a sign that things aren’t going well for the AI assistant,” Teresa Rivas reports for Barron’s.

“Windsor writes that while Siri used to be under the purview of services and Eddy Cue, it’s now become the responsibility of Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering, which he writes points to a deeper integration of Siri in the Apple ecosystem,” Rivas reports. “However, putting Siri in the software division of the company isn’t enough to address its weaknesses, Windsor argues.”

The way this kind of development works is that the services are developed on top of the finished product of the software department. With Siri as part of the software department it can be much more deeply integrated as the software is created and refined which should allow its functionality to be meaningfully enhanced. However, what is unlikely to change is that fact that Siri is just not that smart and is easily outperformed by Google Assistant and even Amazon (AMZN) Alexa on occasion. This is due to the fact that Siri has not been in existence for very long and that its global learning capability is hobbled by Apple’s implementation of differential privacy. The net result is that Siri is falling behind in the AI race and moving Siri to software will not really solve the problem. — Richard Windsor, Edison Investment Research

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Being committed to privacy does not mean being resigned to following in artificial intelligence. Apple are simply doing what they do: Charting their own course.

Who’d you rather have in charge of your project, Eddy Cue or Craig Federighi?


If Siri lags behind today, it sure isn’t Federighi’s fault. For that, blame The Round Mound of Unsound.


  1. Thank goodness Eddie isn’t involved in Siri anymore. Maybe Craig can do a much better job since Eddie doesn’t seem to be able to do anything well.

    Anyone heard of Planet of the Apps?

  2. No, the blame goes to the CEO who now spends all his time managing the country and US bathrooms and borders instead of doing his job? Would any intelligent CEO have put Eddy Cue in charge of SIRI for the past five years? This may be the biggest boner Tim Cook ever pulled, and that’s saying a lot.

  3. The transfer of Siri may merely suggest that Siri will be getting more powerful capabilities regarding the OS and access to OS information, requiring her development to be embedded in the OS development.

    1. Agree. People are reading too much into this. We should all be pleased that privacy has been a central tenant in Siri’s evolution. It has required Apple to take different routes to solutions than Google, Amazon or Microsoft might take.

      I do want Siri to learn about me and my family, which will make Siri more useful. But I don’t want any company having access to that information. One solution might be to store that learned information in the secure enclave. But that solution would limit Siri’s usefulness to a single device. Maybe use of blockchain technology to store personal records on distributed servers might be the answer.

    2. I agree. I think when Siri was first introduced it was a limited software service which should have fallen under Eddy but as time has passed we are seeing it being integrated in more and more devices not to mention if rumors of a dedicated “AI Chip” being in the iPhone 8 is to be believed, it would make sense for Craig to take over.

  4. Some people complain if Apple harvests personal information while others complain Apple isn’t harvesting enough personal information. A lose-lose situation for Apple.

    Anyone knows that if you have a live personal assistant, the more they know about you, the better they can anticipate and meet your demands. That just makes sense. There’s no way an assistant can be useful if you’re hiding the things you do. They can’t read your mind. Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google will always have the edge because they harvest the most information. I don’t know what Apple can do to build a personal database if they refuse to harvest personal information. Maybe if all personal information was encrypted from end to end it might work but that’s Apple’s only option I can think of.

    I think Apple is going overboard only because all those other companies are harvesting personal data and no one seems to care. Wall Street applauds data harvesters and most users are quite happy to give personal information to virtual assistants. Apple is just making thinks more difficult for itself from that perspective.

  5. I don’t know about their intelligence being artificial, but I know Apple’s stupidity is real. They had better get their ENTIRE desktop line-up figured out and updated soon. I’ve about had it.

  6. Apple’s Privacy Policy is a primary differentiator for them but at the same time is a massive obstacle for developing a Personal Assistant that works across devices that matches what the competition offers. Apple is heading in the right direction with making Siri a platform vs a service. Hopefully they keep in mind that sharing and keeping users’ data it has been given and has learned across all Siri instances in the users’ devices synchronized will also be important to appear ‘intelligent’.

  7. Considering the fact that true artificial intelligence doesn’t exist, I’d have to say no, no, they aren’t (it’s primarily a fiction promulgated by companies that want you to give up your personal data). The hype will blow over. What is legitimately useful will persevere.

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