Tech analyst Tim Bajarin says both Google and Microsoft have been downplaying the significance of Apple’s Siri because they know it could seriously impact their core search businesses, especially as it gains access to even more online databases.
“You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone,” Google mobile chief Andy Rubin told Walt Mossberg at the recent AsiaD conference.
Microsoft’s Andy Lees suggested that Siri “isn’t super useful” and added that the voice interactivity of Windows Phone 7 when connected to Bing harnesses “the full power of the Internet, rather than a certain subset.”
Bajarin counters that, “Apple has just introduced voice as a major user interface and that its use of voice coupled with AI on a consumer product like the iPhone is going to change the way consumers think about man-machine interfaces in the future.”
Siri is not just a voice UI, but a gatekeeper to natural language searching of online databases that may eventually make Apple the third major search company worldwide.
In a post that describes what should follow after Siri, GigaOM suggests, “Apple’s artificial intelligence is only the tip of the iceberg as we combine ubiquitous connectivity, sensor networks, big data and new methods of AI and programming into a truly connected network.”
The next generation of the Web will “connect machines to machines and connect those machines back to people” with advancements in low-power, cheap sensors and “better ways of programming computers so that they can understand data from several million end points.”
The necessary connectivity exists currently and improvements of sensors for tracking everything — weather, inventory, traffic conditions, etc. — will provide the necessary information.
From there, programming and better AI like Siri, “will allow machines to parse the data from billions of sensors and notify people to take action only when needed.”
According to The Wall Street Journal: “It turns out that Siri, the new voice activated personal assistant for Apple iPhone 4S has a dry sense of humor.”
For example, when asked “Who’s your daddy?” the phone answered: “You are” in an authoritative tone — and in response to “Beam me up,” the phone reportedly responded: “Sorry, Captain, your tricorder is in Airplane Mode.”
The article adds that in response to “Open the pod bay doors” (a reference to Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which also features a “talking” machine), users say the iPhone responds in a frighteningly slow voice, “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Consumers are reacting to the artificial intelligence by asking the iPhone outlandish questions as websites dedicated to the concept are already emerging. The “personality” of Siri’s software could very well be the first step in driving consumer adoption.
Geek.com writer Will Shanklin believes Siri’s capabilities would be enormously expanded with access to third party apps. Currently, “Yelp and Wolfram Alpha appear to be the only ones in that elite group.”
Third party apps could enable users to play music among different streaming services, quickly use music ID, combine data from multiple services (“How about a combination of Netflix and IMDb data?”), get real-time navigation and a range of other convenient possibilities.
Siri access to Facebook could expedite posts, messages and notifications and quickly get information from friends’ profiles.
“As much as you might be blown away by Siri’s capabilities now, we will likely look back at this as ‘Siri 1.0’ five years from now,” writes Shanklin. “In much the same way that the first iPhone’s single-paged homescreen – with no third-party apps – looks primitive now, this introductory version of Siri will pale in comparison to where ‘she’ will be then.”
If consumers take to the new virtual personal assistant technology Siri, featured in Apple’s iPhone 4S, we may see significant change to other devices such as the TV remote control.
Norman Winarsky, VP of ventures at SRI (involved in the development of Siri), told MIT’s Technology Review that, “within a decade, virtual personal assistants would be ubiquitous, integrated into the fabric of many devices,” and that their value could hike into the 100 billion dollar level.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to finally do away with the remote control, a device that begins to look so clunky and antiquated in our era of iEverythings?” asks Technology Review. “Apple has not announced any plans to bring Siri to devices other than the iPhone 4S, but the idea doesn’t seem so farfetched. It’s quite possible that the next refresh of the Apple TV could use a speedier A5 dual-core chip, speculates Cult of Mac — which would give the device the processing power necessary to run Siri.”
According to the article, Siri offers much more than just voice recognition: “Siri is good at parsing the words you say, but more importantly, its impressive artificial intelligence is able to discern their meaning, and take appropriate actions… As smart TVs become a next battleground for Internet-connected devices, let’s hope our remote controls get smarter, too.”
Launch day pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone 4S have already reached capacity, according to Verizon, AT&T and Apple. The only remaining model that is available for pre-sale is Sprint’s 32GB model.
In just 24 hours, the iPhone 4S pre-orders reportedly beat the one million mark, despite disappointment regarding no announcement yet for the iPhone 5.
According to Forbes, people aren’t waiting for the iPhone 5 for five reasons: 1) Users just want the latest technology now and aren’t going to wait; 2) “Many believe that the iPhone 4S really is the iPhone 5” and that Apple simply decided to misname it; 3) Sprint users can now join the iPhone club; 4) The 8 megapixel camera; and 5) “People really need a personal assistant” — while Siri may not be a “revolution,” many consumers are interested in the voice-recognition software.
The iPhone 4S will be available on Friday. The new model will be available to purchase in-store on October 14th, but limited supplies ensure that they will sell out as well. Apple itself has already referred to the upcoming launch as “the most successful iPhone launch we’ve ever had.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook officially unveiled the company’s new iPhone 4S yesterday from Cupertino. The smartphone is expected to ship by October 14.
The new version features a dual core processor with up to 7x faster graphics performance, an 8 megapixel digital camera that can capture 1080P video, a GSM/CDMA radio with enhancements to speed data downloading and more.
The biggest news is possibly Siri, Apple’s voice-command assistant that can handle surprisingly complex commands and dictation (the name comes from a “virtual personal assistant” company that Apple purchased last year).
While some have expressed disappointment that Apple didn’t release the iPhone 5 this week, early reaction to the iPhone 4S features seem positive. The device’s new A5 processor, for example, is the chip used in the iPad 2, and packs an Apple-designed digital signal processor that helps with things like face detection. The phone also now supports the faster HSPA+ network.
The 8MP camera features backside illumination, allowing it to gather 73 percent more light and have 1/3 faster photo-snapping speed. It can also record higher-resolution 1080p high-definition video.
The iPhone 4S supports mirroring to a TV over AirPlay, Apple TV or a wired connection, while also packing iOS 5.
“The 4S will come in both black and white, starting at $199 for 16GB and $299 for the 32GB, but the big news is a new 64GB model coming in at a whopping $399,” reports Engadget.
Additionally, Sprint will now be offering the 8GB iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Sprint customers can place pre-orders for the device starting this Friday, October 7th.