Siri has grown to become one of the most popular voice assistants on the planet and while it faces stiff competition from the likes of Alexa and Cortana, still manages to hold its own ground against the both of them. With Android have swept across almost 90% of all mobile devices in production, Apple finds the need to continually keep improving to stay ahead of the lot and serve its customers. This is the primary reason behind the constant updates that we see. As Apple unveiled their plans for its iOS 13, at its Worldwide Developers Convention in June 2019, developers were quick to point out that Siri had not been forgotten and that it would undergo a significant revamp of its own. So here’s a look at the changes that will occur with respect to the humanoid voice assistant.
Apple announced that it was looking at utilising new “Neural text to speech” technology to help make the assistant sound more natural and human rather than robotic and abstract. Unlike previous versions, Siri that has been built into the iOS 13 will generate the voice required completely internally rather than scavenging from audio clips uploaded by voice actors. A brief demo was shown onstage, and the new sound which was unveiled seemed to be a massive improvement on the old one that had a difficult time pronouncing complicated words.The updated system also performs better with respect to reading out more complicated and long-drawn-out sentences and even very precisely stresses on individual syllables when it has to. Overall the update is regarded to be a colossal improvement, and the company feels like it will make the lives of users all over the world much simpler and more manageable. The improved Siri will find its way over to several new Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, HomePod and even their new CarPlay update by the end of this year.
Why Have Updates?
While Apple claims that Siri is the most used voice assistant in the world, several users have been calling out for changes in its UI for quite some time now due to the issues it has regarding complex words and sentences. Also, most users felt that the monotonous and robotic voice used by the assistant lacked a human touch. Reports also stated that both Alexa and the Google Assistant outperformed Siri concerning certain smart features. Hence, the company has been on the lookout for modifications for a while, with the first one being the Shortcuts app that debuted with the iOS 12.
- Shortcuts gave applications and software utilised by the phone a new method to interact with each other and get messages across. It also made it easier for these apps to communicate with Siri enabling it to provide the user with better suggestions and even create reminders more easily.
- This app was profoundly demonstrated in their WWDC last year, with VP of the software division, Craig Federighi calling out “Hey Siri, I lost my keys,” to which the assistant responded by communicating to the Tile app and sounding an alarm on your key chain. It also gave you the power to customise words and actions you were more likely to use commonly.
- They also allowed you to keep tabs on sports events and elections as just saying, “Hey Siri, it’s game time,” would make the assistant pull up the latest scores and results from relevant sources, making it a lot easier to stay updated.
- All in all, the Shortcut Apps helped make Siri more proactive, as it allowed it to multi-task and perform better on multiple levels.
- It even did the work of creating routines so as to mirror your habits. For example, if you were someone who orders tea every morning, Siri would remember the type of tea you liked and then ask you whether you would like to order the same, around the time you usually do it. Such suggestive responses help speed up a lot of minor parts of your day, effectively increasing your productivity and efficiency.
- Siri would also use the Shortcut App to remind you to put your phone on silent while entering a movie hall or even tell you to text or call your relatives on their birthday or anniversaries.
- A less robotic voice
- Voice-generated by the software and not stitching together audio clips.
- Control music apart from Apple Music and iTunes
- Supports audiobooks and podcasts
- Will play more than 100,000 live radio stations
- Navigate using both Waze and Google Maps
- Dictate messages onto AirPods and hear responses
- Recognise different voices on HomePod
- Identify songs from Apple Watch
- A simpler version of the Shortcuts app
While several people associate Siri with its signature, American accented voice and delivery style that belonged to voice actor Susan Bennett who voiced the flagship iPhone 4s in 2011; many believe that it is high time the assistant underwent a transformation. As Siri is ubiquitous with the Apple brand, it makes sense for the company to be swayed by public opinion and make the changes necessary. It will be interesting to see the new changes that will take place and whether the user base will receive them well.