Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for.
If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.
I have been using Siri a lot more over the past few days — mostly to see how it compares to Google’s offerings. As a general rule, I don’t use Siri for much. Not necessarily because it isn’t good, but because I don’t like to interact with my device in that way. I’d rather type in a quick search query than awkwardly speak out loud to my phone.
Perhaps that will change in time as more people use voice features on their devices — if everyone’s doing it, those who aren’t will seem out of touch. And if that’s the case, then maybe Apple did place the wrong bet on privacy versus big data.
But if Apple’s wrong, couldn’t they eventually partner with Amazon, Google, or some other company to integrate their voice services into iOS? That wouldn’t put them in a perfect situation — not owning a core aspect of their OS. But Apple has something that none of these companies do — incredible hardware. No matter how far behind Apple is in big data-based AI, other smartphone manufacturers are showing very few signs of catching up to Apple’s level in hardware quality. And because of that, I think they’ll always have a place at the table.