|Original author(s)||SRI International|
|Initial release||October 4, 2011|
|Type||Intelligent Software Assistant|
Siri is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which works as an application for Apple Inc.'s iOS. The application uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services. The software, both in its original version and as an iOS application, adapts to the user's individual language usage and individual searches (preferences) with continuing use, and returns results that are individualized. The name Siri is Scandinavian, a short form of the Norse name Sigrid meaning "beauty" and "victory", and comes from the intended name for the original developer's first child.
Siri was originally introduced as an iOS application available in the App Store by Siri, Inc., which was acquired by Apple on April 28, 2010. Siri, Inc. had announced that their software would be available for BlackBerry and for phones running Android, but all development efforts for non-Apple platforms were cancelled after the acquisition by Apple.
Siri has been an integral part of iOS since iOS 5 and was introduced as a feature of the iPhone 4S on October 14, 2011. Siri was added to the third generation iPad with the release of iOS 6 in September 2012, and has been included on all iOS devices released during or after October 2012.
Siri was first launched as an application available on Apple's App Store in the United States by Siri, Inc. It integrated with services such as OpenTable, Google Maps, MovieTickets and TaxiMagic. Using voice recognition technology from Nuance and their service partners, users could make reservations at specific restaurants, buy movie tickets or get a cab by dictating instructions in natural language to Siri. Siri was acquired by Apple on April 28, 2010, and the original application ceased to function on October 14, 2011.
A key feature both of the research and development behind the original Siri, Inc. application, and behind its function as an iOS application, is its artificial intelligence programming aimed to allow it to adapt to the user's individual language usage and individual searches (preferences) with continuing use, with return of results that are therefore individualized.
On October 4, 2011 Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with their implementation of a beta version of Siri. The new version of Siri is integrated into iOS, and offers conversational interaction with many applications, including reminders, weather, stocks, messaging, email, calendar, contacts, notes, music, clocks, web browser, Wolfram Alpha, and maps. Currently, Siri supports English (American, Canadian, Australian, British), French, German, Japanese, Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Spanish (Mexico, Spain), Mandarin (China, Taiwan), Korean, and Cantonese. On launch, Siri had limited functionality outside the United States and Canada. However, Apple, with the release of iOS 6, added the missing functionality to other countries.
After announcing that Siri is included with the iPhone 4S, Apple removed the existing Siri app (which ran on all iPhone models) from the App Store.
In October 2011, independent developers stated that they had ported Siri into the other iOS devices. However, some news sites suggest that the videos posted by the developers as "proof" only show the user interface of the Siri software, and not the voice commands, implying that developers have not been able to port the application with full functionality. However, new reports from January 2012 suggest that independent developers have succeeded in porting Siri to earlier iPhone models, the iPod Touch, and iPad. i4Siri.com, a United States based team, have demonstrated Siri working as intended on the iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and iPad, communicating without the Apple servers.
In later January 2012, independent developers successfully created and distributed a legal port of Siri to older devices via Cydia. The port, however, requires authorization keys from another iPhone 4S, which can be exploited in the form of a proxy server, or by transferring the Siri authorization file from an iPhone 4S. Due to this requirement, developers have bypassed Apple's Siri server completely by creating their own backend using APIs from services such as Google and Wolfram Alpha.
On June 11, 2012, at Apple's WWDC conference, Apple announced that Siri will be available on the iPad (third generation) beginning in late 2012 with the release of iOS 6. Also on June 11, 2012, at Apple's WWDC conference, Apple announced updates for Siri coming in iOS 6 (which launched in fall 2012.) These new features include: opening apps, telling sports scores and other sports related information, checking movie times, finding restaurants and also ordering reservations. Siri can also tell the height of sports players in iOS 6. It also brought some previously US only features, such as Google Maps and Yelp integration, international.
Currently, Siri is included on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, 5th generation iPod Touch, 3rd generation iPad, 4th generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and all iPad Minis.
Research and development
Siri is a spin-out from the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center, and is an offshoot of the DARPA-funded CALO project. Siri was co-founded by SRI's Dag Kittlaus (CEO) and Adam Cheyer (VP Engineering) and by Tom Gruber (CTO).
Siri's primary technical areas focus on a Conversational Interface, Personal Context Awareness, and Service Delegation.
Siri's speech recognition engine is provided by Nuance Communications, a speech technology company, although this was not officially acknowledged by either Apple or Nuance until AllThingsD Conference (2013).
The original Siri application relied upon a number of partners, including:
- OpenTable, Gayot, CitySearch, BooRah, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Yandex, ReserveTravel, and Localeze for restaurant and business questions and actions;
- Eventful, StubHub, and LiveKick for events and concert information;
- MovieTickets, Rotten Tomatoes, and the New York Times for movie information and reviews;
- Bing Answers, Wolfram Alpha and Evi for factual question answering;
- Bing, Yahoo, and Google for web search (Bing as default since iOS 7).
The sources in Apple's implementation of Siri differ from the original iPhone application. It integrates with default iOS functionality, such as contacts, calendars and text messages. It also supports search from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha, Google Maps, Yelp! and WorldHeritage.
Siri also contains numerous pre-programmed responses to conversational and amusing questions. These are designed to provide an entertainment factor and give Siri human-like qualities.
The British male voice is colloquially known as "Daniel" and is voiced by Jon Briggs, a former technology journalist. The voice was recorded for Scansoft, which had merged with Nuance Communications in October 2005, although Apple has never confirmed any involvement of Nuance with Siri.
The Australian female voice is colloquially known as "Karen" and is voiced by Karen Jacobsen, an Australian-born and New York-based entertainer, singer, voiceover artist, and songwriter. Jacobsen is also the Australian voice in GPS navigation devices for Garmin, Mio, Navman, and TomTom.
Siri was first introduced to the world through the automotive industry in April 2010 as a hands free upgrade with Ford and Honda but fell through when stocks dropped 20% due to price inflation. In June 2012, former Apple SVP Scott Forstall announced that Apple had been in discussions with automobile manufacturers and companies to get Siri integration as part of a scheme called "Siri Eyes Free" mode to provide eyes and hands-free operation, stating that Siri could be in vehicles in as soon as 11 months.
The day following the announcement of this unprecedented collaboration between Apple and automobile manufacturers, Harman International Industries's stock immediately fell by 15%, given Harman's substantial revenue sources from providing GPS, Navigation, and Telematics systems for vehicles, many in particular manufactured by companies partnering with Apple.
At WWDC 2013, Apple's Eddy Cue announced a new system called "iOS in the Car" aimed at integrating Siri and other iOS functions more fully into native in-car systems, like satellite navigation (Satnav) and music playback, which was later renamed CarPlay by Apple on March 3, 2014.
Siri was met with critical acclaim for its ease of use and practicality, as well as its apparent "personality". However, issues did arise when Siri was used by consumers from areas with distinct accents. Google's executive chairman and former chief, Eric Schmidt, has conceded that Siri could pose a "competitive threat" to the company's core search business.
Writing in American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and NARAL Pro-Choice America after users found that it would not provide information about the location of birth control or abortion providers, sometimes directing users to pro-life crisis pregnancy centers instead. Apple responded that this was a glitch which would be fixed in the final version.
Siri has not been well received by some English speakers with distinctive accents, including Scottish and Americans from Boston or the South. Apple's Siri FAQ states that, "as more people use Siri and it's exposed to more variations of a language, its overall recognition of dialects and accents will continue to improve, and Siri will work even better."
In March 2012, Frank M. Fazio filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on behalf of the people who felt misled about the capabilities of Siri and failing to function as depicted in Apple's Siri commercials. Fazio filed the lawsuit in California and claimed that the iPhone 4S is merely a "more expensive iPhone" if Siri fails to function as advertised. On July 22, 2013 U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in San Francisco dismissed the suit but said the plaintiffs could amend at a later time. The reason given for dismissal was that plaintiffs did not sufficiently document enough misrepresentations by Apple for the trial to proceed.
In March 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern that Siri was sending a large amount of personal voice and user information to Apple, including the first name and nickname of the phone owner and his or her contacts, the owner's relationship with those contacts, personal labels assigned to email accounts, and the names of songs and playlists stored on the phone.
Siri and Apple maps together were viewed as "flops" by the media in April 2012. In October 2012, Scott Forstall, Apple's head of mobile software, and the leader held responsible for Siri and the poorly received Apple Maps, was let go from Apple.
On October 30, 2012, Google released a new Google Search app for iOS, which featured an enhanced Google Voice Search function and aimed to compete with Siri. Google's Voice Search was compared favorably to Siri, with some reviewers preferring it. The Unofficial Apple Weblog's side-by-side comparison said that Google's Voice Search on iOS is "amazingly quick and relevant, and has more depth [than Siri]".
|English||United States||5.0 onwards|
|United Kingdom||5.0 onwards|
|United States||6.0 onwards|
|Korean||South Korea||6.0 onwards|
|Cantonese||Hong Kong||6.0 onwards|
According to sources from Brazilian site Techguru, Nuance Communications has delivered the final version in Portuguese to Apple. It also announced that the company would be making a deal with the bank Bradesco to provide an application similar to Siri for voice support.
As of iOS 6, Siri has functionality to find local businesses and other location services outside of the United States. In Siri's original release its functionality was limited in most countries, with maps and local search with help only being available within the United States.
Voice activated digital assistants, including Siri (since the release of iOS 7 and continuing with the latest release), have been shown to allow users to bypass iOS security. As Adam Greenberg explains in SC Magazine:
"The workaround only grants access to the phone app, but from there people can use the phone to dial anywhere they wish, listen to saved voicemails, view and change contact information, access photos, use Twitter, login to email and shoot out texts.
"Dany Lisiansky demonstrated the bug in a YouTube video, where he also posted step-by-step instructions on how to make it work. Several users have taken to the comments section and Twitter to confirm the exploit is genuine."
In response, Apple released iOS 7.0.2, which patched the passcode-bypass flaw as well as reintroduced the option to enter passwords via the Greek alphabet keyboard, rather than just the four-digit numerical option. However, as Kashmir Hill reported in a September 2014 Forbes article: the flaw continues in iOS 8.
In popular culture
- "The Beta Test Initiation" (2012) - an episode of The Big Bang Theory TV series, in which a cast member falls in love with the Siri on his new iPhone
- Her (2013) - a film in which a man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his virtual personal assistant (Scarlett Johansson)
- Criminal Minds (2014) - episode four of season 10 briefly featured Siri at the beginning in which Siri completely misunderstood the message the driver wanted to send.
- SILVIA by Cognitive Code
- Assistant by Speaktoit
- Ask Ziggy for Windows Phone
- Emu by Gummi Hafsteinsson
- Google Now
- Microsoft Cortana
- S Voice by Samsung Electronics
- Voice Mate by LG Electronics
- For a detailed article in the history of the organizations and technologies preceding the development of Siri, and their influence upon that application, see Bianca Bosker, 2013, "Siri Rising: The Inside Story Of Siri's Origins (And Why She Could Overshadow The iPhone), in The Huffington Post (online), January 22, 2013 (updated January 24, 2013), see [www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/siri-do-engine-apple-iphone_n_2499165.html], accessed 2 November 2014.
- "Apple — Siri — Frequently Asked Questions".
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- "Siri for iPhone is like the proverbial Genie in a bottle". TUAW. February 5, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
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- "Siri: Your Personal Assistant for the Mobile Web".
- Bianca Bosker, 2013, "Siri Rising: The Inside Story Of Siri's Origins (And Why She Could Overshadow The iPhone)," in The Huffington Post (online), January 22, 2013 (updated January 24, 2013), see [www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/siri-do-engine-apple-iphone_n_2499165.html], accessed 2 November 2014.
- Michael deAgonia, 2011, "After a month, Siri finds her voice," in ComputerWorld (online), November 24, 2011, see [www.computerworld.com/article/2498916/mobile-apps/after-a-month--siri-finds-her-voice.html], accessed 2 November 2014.
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"Un hacker irlandais prétend porter Siri sur iPhone 4". lemondeinformatique.fr. October 18, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
Cependant, aucune des vidéos, celle de Steve Troughton-Smith ou celle de 9-to-5 Mac, ne montre Siri en action ou ne présente un utilisateur essayant d'interagir avec les commandes vocales de Siri (However, neither video shows Siri in action or does a user attempting to interact with voice commands Siri)
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- Kelly, Meghan (March 16, 2012). "Were Apple’s Siri ads ‘false and misleading’?".
- Palazzolo, Joe (March 12, 2012). "So Sirious: iPhone User Sues Apple over Voice-Activated Assistant".
- Rebekah Kearn (July 26, 2013). "Disgruntled iPhone 4S Buyers Told to Try Again".
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- Blodget, Henry - Frankly, It's Concerning That Apple Is Still Advertising A Product As Flawed As Siri. Business Insider, April 20, 2012
- Rodriguez, Salvador - Apple ousts Scott Forstall, executive in charge of Maps and Siri. Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2012. Quote:" Apple's head of mobile software, Scott Forstall, is leaving the company following the release of Apple Maps and Siri, two major projects that were considered flops for the technology giant."
- Burn-Callendar, Rebecca - Apple chiefs for the chop after Maps fiasco. Management Today, October 30, 2012. Quote:" Alas for Forstall, Siri’s dulcet tones were never much more than a gimmick for users, and has widely been considered a flop."
- Apple’s iOS Boss, Scott Forstall asked to leave Apple for not Signing Apology Letter Tech Mania, October 2012
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- Kashmir Hill (2014-09-15). "Siri Lets Anyone Bypass Your iPhone's Lockscreen -- Feature or Bug?". Forbes.
- Greenberg, Adam (October 1, 2013). "Apple's Siri is helping users bypass iOS security". SC Magazine.