Bloomberg – Apple is reportedly planning to simplify the wake-up keyword for its Siri voice assistant from “Hey Siri” to “Siri. Apple is training Siri on the new wake-up keyword, which will be applied to the Siri voice assistant on all Apple hardware products, including the iPhone, iPad, HomePod and Apple Watch, and will be adjusted as early as 2024.
While it doesn’t seem complicated, experts say it could signal broader changes are coming that may require more comprehensive training in artificial intelligence. Lian Jye Su, research director at research firm ABI Research, said using two keywords to wake up would allow the system to recognize requests more accurately while using just one word would mean the AI system would need to be more advanced.
In the recognition process, the system needs to compare the voice command with the user’s trained model,” he said. ‘Siri’ is shorter than ‘Hey Siri,’ and the system may have a higher error rate in environments with noisy voices, large rooms and echoes.”
Currently, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant does not require additional wake-up keywords to be attached. Microsoft also changed the wake-up keyword for its Cortana voice assistant from “Hey Cortana” to “Cortana” in 2018. However, Google’s voice assistant wake-up keyword is still “OK Google” on most Google hardware products.
Meanwhile, Apple, Amazon and Google are collaborating on the Matter automation standard to drive interoperability of automation technologies and IoT devices across vendors. With that in mind, James Sanders, principal analyst at market research firm CCS Insight, said, “Investing more in optimizing Siri’s capabilities is probably Apple’s top priority right now.
Siri was released in February 2010 as a standalone app in Apple’s App Store. Two months later, Siri was acquired by Apple. Apple then integrated Siri into the iPhone 4S, which was released the following year, and in 2014 introduced “Hey Siri,” a voice wake feature that invokes Siri without clicking any buttons.
Siri is getting smarter over the years, largely due to Siri’s integration with more third-party services, such as ride-hailing and payment services, and Siri now supports continuous questioning by users and recognizes more languages and dialects. However, Siri still suffers from an inability to accurately understand the user’s intent and a failure to respond correctly.
While the tweak to ‘Hey Siri’ required a lot of preparation, it would be surprising if Apple just made this little tweak to Siri,” Sanders said. Expect this tweak to be released bundled with other new features or optimizations for Siri, perhaps along with the release of a new HomePod speaker and integration with other smart home products through the Matter standard.”