“Apple’s 2011 ‘Let’s talk iPhone’ event at its Cupertino headquarters was a pivotal moment for the company,” Aaron Tilley and Kevin McLaughlin report for The Information. “It was the first big showcase for new CEO Tim Cook as he tried to fill the shoes of the legendary but ailing Steve Jobs. Yet the event threatened to disappoint because the company’s new iPhone, the 4s, was simply an incremental update and not a flashy new iPhone 5.”
“Siri saved the day. Apple unveiled the digital assistant and showed off its ability to respond to voice commands that created reminders, scheduled calendar events or brought up information on restaurants or weather,” Tilley and McLaughlin report. “Critics marveled at Siri’s potential and speculated that Apple might have developed another revolutionary product. Customers seemed to agree, and three days after the iPhone 4s launched, Apple had sold four million devices, at the time making it the fastest-selling iPhone ever.”
“Fast forward seven years, and Siri is a problem,” Tilley and McLaughlin report. “It’s arguably the main reason that Apple’s latest product launch — a $349 smart speaker called HomePod — has underperformed, based on early estimates from analysts. Although the speaker won plaudits for its sleek look and audio quality, review after review trashed the Siri functionality with words like ‘dopey,’ ‘annoying’ and ’embarrassingly inadequate.'”
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“The article includes interviews with a dozen former Apple employees who worked on the various teams responsible for the virtual assistant,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors. “The report claims that many of the employees acknowledged for the first time that Apple rushed Siri to be included in the iPhone 4s before the technology was fully ready, resulting in several internal debates over whether to continue patching up the half-baked product or start from scratch.”
“The team working on Siri was overseen by Apple’s then iOS chief Scott Forstall, but his attention was reportedly divided by other major projects, including the upcoming launch of Apple Maps. As a result, Forstall enlisted Richard Williamson, who was also managing the Apple Maps project, to head up the Siri team,” Rossignol reports. “According to the report, several former employees said Williamson made a number of decisions that the rest of the Siri team disagreed with, including a plan to improve the assistant’s capabilities only once a year.”
“Another interesting tidbit is that the Siri team apparently didn’t even learn about the HomePod until 2015,” Rossignol reports. “Apple responded to today’s report with a statement noting Siri is ‘the world’s most popular voice assistant’ and touted ‘significant advances’ to the assistant’s performance, scalability, and reliability.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: McDonald’s makes the world’s most popular hamburger and, despite claimed “significant advances” over the years, it’s clearly not the best hamburger in the world. Windows is the world’s most popular desktop operating system. Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system. Need we go on?
A company headed by a caretaker CEO issues empty statements such as, “Siri is the world’s most popular voice assistant.”
A company led by the CEO who built it thought differently: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
Apple released Siri, the first modern digital virtual assistant, in October 2011. Amazon released Alexa in November 2014. Google Assistant was released in May 2016… Why is Siri not regarded as far and away the best, but rather as notably worse than those later entrants?
Mismanagement of the project from the software to the marketing. — MacDailyNews, February 8, 2018
Let’s face it, Tim Cook’s passion isn’t for creating great products, it’s for other things. A man who is, right now, at this very moment, selling a four-year-old computer as his company’s top-of-the-line simply isn’t fit for the job.
Tim Cook has either lost control of his cadre of VPs (he never had any control of Jony) and/or he’s lost the plot.
Here’s hoping that Cook can regain his focus somehow or that he cedes his position to someone who is capable of passionately focusing on, and getting the rest of his team to focus on, creating great products that delight customers once again.
Why has Apple’s reputation plummeted? – March 14, 2018
Apple tumbles 24 spots – from 5th to 29th – in Harris Reputation Poll – March 13, 2018
Siri creator is surprised by how much Apple’s Siri still can’t do – March 9, 2018
Apple shakes up software development strategy to focus on quality – February 12, 2018
What Apple needs to do to improve Siri – February 8, 2018
Apple on Mac flaw: ‘We apologize to all Mac users. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes.’ – November 29, 2017
Tim Cook’s sloppy, unfocused Apple rushes to fix a major Mac security bug – November 29, 2017
What to do about Apple’s shameful Mac security flaw in macOS High Sierra – November 29, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
On the future of Apple’s Macintosh – February 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015