Artificial intelligence is driving a lot of the innovation we’re seeing in smartphones right now. Apple’s Siri, while improved, still feels like it lags behind competitors such as Google Assistant and even Amazon Alexa, the latter of which will soon make its smartphone debut on the Huawei Mate 9 in the US. According to DigiTimes, which has its ear to Apple’s supply chain, Apple has big plans for Siri.
The news outlet said that Apple plans to release an “enhanced version of Siri” in tandem with the iPhone 8. DigiTimes didn’t provide many additional details, only noting that Apple will likely use technology from its acquisition of an AI firm named Turi to help improve Siri. There’s no doubt in my mind that Apple’s going to work to make Siri more competitive against Google Assistant, Cortana, Alexa and even Samsung’s rumored Bixby AI on the Galaxy S8, but Apple will need to make some drastic changes to do so.
Siri needs third parties
One problem with Siri is that it’s still not wide open to third party applications, only to a select few, making it fairly limited. You can’t, for example, ask Siri to play a song on Spotify. You can do that on competing platforms. Apple will need to realize that the power of its AI is going to largely come down to how well in can tie into the apps users are opening daily, whether Apple makes them or not. Limiting users to playing music through Siri only through Apple Music, for example, is exactly where its AI falls short.
I hope Apple considers this when it releases this so-called “enhanced version of Siri,” presumably in iOS 11. We’ll likely start to hear about that come June during WWDC, a few months before September when the iPhone 8 is expected to make its debut.