Apple’s Siri turns ten, still acts like a two-year-old

Apple is great at many things. Personal assistants aren’t one of them, clearly, as Siri has been with us for a decade now, but still acts like a two-year-old.

Siri icon

On October 4, 2011, one day before the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the company introduced Siri, a new personal assistant which debuted in iPhone 4S.

At the time, Apple claimed Siri to be “an intelligent assistant” that “understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions.”

A decade later and that’s still a lie, proven by idiot Siri’s inability to execute simple commands / answer simple questions multiple times per day — for those who haven’t long ago given up on Apple’s longest-running failure (not counting Eddy Cue, because, seriously, have you ever seen Eddy run?).

(To the bar, maybe. But we kid.)

(Yes, of course, we’re talking about the salad bar.)

James Vincent for the Verge:

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue
Analysts were cool on the company’s prospects but praised Siri as a potential game-changer. One called it “a powerful harbinger of the future use of mobile devices,” while another said it was “the beginning of a new user experience [for] all of Apple’s mobile and Mac products.”

A decade later, the sheen has worn off Siri’s star. “It is such a letdown,” was how Schiller described the promise of voice interfaces past, and such a description could easily be applied to Apple’s contribution to the genre. Everyone who uses Siri has their own tales of frustration — times when they’ve been surprised not by the intelligence but the stupidity of Apple’s assistant, when it fails to carry out a simple command or mishears a clear instruction. And while voice interfaces have indeed become widespread, Apple, despite being first to market, no longer leads. Its “humble personal assistant” remains humble indeed: inferior to Google Assistant on mobile and outmaneuvered by Amazon’s Alexa in the home.

So, where did things go wrong? How did Apple lose its lead? The answer is complicated.

Many suggest Apple’s dedication to privacy means it can never keep up with rivals like Google whose business involves collecting users’ data because that data is incredibly useful when it comes to improving AI systems. I don’t buy this as a reason for Siri’s failure, though. First, because Apple’s love of user privacy is far from absolute.

MacDailyNews Take: You can say that again.

Apple’s love of user privacy is far from absolute.

MacDailyNews Take: Supposedly, Siri uses advanced machine learning technologies to function, which isn’t saying much for Apple’s version of machine learning (which interestingly seems to work fine for photography and videography, but for Siri operates more like a blender full of wrenches set on puree).

A more convincing explanation is management dysfunction. In 2018, The Information published a damning report on the comings-and-goings at team Siri… [which] had devolved into “petty turf battles and heated arguments” between rival factions. They were exacerbated by a lack of leadership and continuity in the Apple execs overseeing Siri. As one former employee told The Information: “When Steve died the day after Siri launched, they lost the vision […] They didn’t have a big picture.”

MacDailyNews Take: On the plus side, if you wish Siri a “Happy Birthday” today, it’ll feed back some canned jokes.

See also: Former Apple employees on Eddy Cue: Siri and Eddy were ‘a bad fit’ – September 5, 2018


  1. Whatever the reason for Sir’s ineptness, Apple management had to see it, or didn’t use the PA. Siri’s been backwater for years!
    In either case, her/his numbness coexisted with constant injections of emoji library excitement, continued creep and confusion with iCloud, A-Music subscriptions that interfered with common I-don’t-need-any-of-that-stuff use and The Car reports.

    Imagine owning a car made by a co that can’t get their PA to be actually helpful. It’s another sign of Apple focusing on the Pop over Pro route…but with this one, even the Pop fails the tech muster.

    Apple, pleas reset…stop delving out the Gerber. In the end, it may make more money, but the crowd served will be mindless minions–not those that will Think Different.

  2. I don’t know what SIRI all you haters are using, but my experience with SIRI is excellent, especially since I downloaded the iOS 15 betas over the summer. I use SIRI for a variety of tasks at least a dozen times per day on my iPhone 12 Pro, Apple Watch 4, and via CarPlay in my automobile. It works fantastically well, indispensable…

    1. Yes I use it. Every time I try to use Siri it either takes way too long to execute, gets it totally wrong or simply does a web search when it should have done something useful. So yes, I use it and regret it more often than not. There is simply no contest when compared to Alexa. Yes, Alexa gets it wrong sometimes, but not like Siri does. I’m glad it works “perfectly” for you. It may for others too. It hasn’t for me and it’ll take a lot for Apple to change my opinion.

  3. I use it occasionally, but it is too unpredictable for regular use. It has a nasty habit of trying to sell me things, when I want something I already have. I suspect that some of those arguments might be about putting customer needs over services.

  4. I also have no problem with Siri. What is it everyone has a problem with?
    I ask Siri all kinds of stuff and directions and to play a certain song etc. what am I missing that is so bad. She always understands my voice. And I mumble.

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