Tag Archive for ‘Siri’

‘Giving Up on Siri and HomePod’ ➝

A great collection of thoughts about Siri and the HomePod, put together by Michael Tsai.

To add my two cents, I’ve disabled “Hey Siri” on every device in the house. I didn’t really find myself triggering it accidentally often, but any number of false positives is enough to be annoying. The real kicker, though, was that I didn’t like the idea of the microphone always being on.

At this point, my Siri usage has been relegated to telling one of our HomePod minis to turn off a box fan, setting timers on the kitchen HomePod, and occasionally asking Siri to start a web search on my iPhone when one of my hands is busy tending to Caleb.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Dropping ‘Hey’ From ‘Hey Siri’ ➝

Mark Gurman, writing on Twitter:

One item I haven’t mentioned in a while has been a major project to drop the “Hey” from “Hey Siri.” I’d look out for that possibility next week.

I’ve already disabled “Hey Siri” on all of my devices because the only time I ever invoke it is accidental. I can’t imagine this change improving the situation.

➝ Source: twitter.com

Amazon Alexa on Pace to Lose $10 Billion This Year ➝

I don’t own any Amazon Echo products, but I do own three HomePods — two full size and one mini. Beyond the initial purchase of the speaker, it hasn’t resulted in any revenue for Apple. I use Pandora as it’s default music service, AirPlay audio to it from Pocket Casts and Prism, and use it for timers in the kitchen.

Amazon, Apple, Google, and other smart speaker makers should be pricing them with the idea in mind that they will never derive another dime of revenue from purchasers. Because, anecdotally, that’s what I see from myself and everyone else I know that owns them.

➝ Source: arstechnica.com

Apple Music Voice Plan ➝

Apple:

Apple today announced the Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier for Apple Music designed around the power of Siri. The Apple Music Voice Plan offers subscribers access to the service’s catalog of 90 million songs; tens of thousands of playlists, including hundreds of brand new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes, and genre stations; as well as the award-winning Apple Music Radio — all through Siri for just $4.99 per month.

I buy just about all the music I listen to and store them in a Plex library. On my iPhone and iPad, I use Prism and on Apple TV and Mac I use the Plex app. But on my HomePod’s, I have to rely on AirPlay. It works, but there’s no way to start a specific song or album by voice unless I purchased it on iTunes.

I don’t start music by voice very often, but if I did, this $5 a month service might be appealing to me. But I don’t know how common my setup is and I can’t really think of any other scenario where you’d want a service like this.

➝ Source: apple.com

Google Assistant Tops Loup Ventures’ Tests, Siri Shows Greatest Improvement ➝

Gene Munster and Will Thompson:

We asked Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana 800 questions each. This time, Google Assistant was able to answer 86% of them correctly vs. Siri at 79%, Alexa at 61%, and Cortana at 52%.

Their results show that Siri has improved at a rate greater than any other assistant since the last time they tested. That feels right to me. I haven’t documented my results and it’s entirely anecdotal, but Siri feels a lot better to me today than it did last year.

It’s also worth noting that, when it comes to accuracy, Google Assistant is on top followed by Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. That runs counter to what most people talking about these services tend to claim. That could mean that these results are flawed or that everyone believes that Amazon is ahead when they actually aren’t.

I suspect they are accurate, though. Keep in mind, Google was tinkering with voice recognition services back in 2007 when they launched GOOG-411. Amazon didn’t start working on Alexa until sometime around 2010.

Josh Ginter on the HomePod ➝

Josh Ginter:

HomePod is a speaker. And a really, really good speaker at that. She plays music unlike any other device on Planet Earth, and her ground-breaking bass has ushered in new sounds to songs I’ve heard since I was five years old. I’ve listened to _Streets_ probably three or four times a week for the last five straight years and there are certain parts of Adam Clayton’s bass guitar I didn’t know existed until about a month ago.

The photographs in this piece are absolutely gorgeous.

Apple Is Staffing Up Siri ➝

David Sparks, on Apple’s recent hiring of John Giannandrea, who previously worked for Google to integrate artificial intelligence throughout their products:

It looks like Apple is going to try and make Siri better by increasing engineering while maintaining its position on user privacy. I hope this makes a difference because Google and Amazon certainly aren’t standing still.

Regardless, don’t expect results immediately. I think Siri improvements will be a gradual thing, over time. I think it’s similar to the way Apple has improved its cloud services. They’ve come a long way with iCloud over the past few years, but that would be easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention.

Now that Apple has a product built upon Siri as its primary interface, they have a much larger incentive to improve their voice assistant technology. And this hire is only the beginning.

Hey Siri, Do This Then ➝

Matt Birchler with a neat feature request for voice assistants — the ability to request an action to be triggered at a future time. This would be useful for my wife when a snow day causes an unexpected day off. We have HomeKit triggers setup to change our ecobee’s temperature when we are expected to be at work. But when she gets the call that school is going to be cancelled, she could override the automatic temperature adjustments by telling our HomePod “hey Siri, set the ecobee to 71° tomorrow morning at 8am.