Siri needs these features to catch up with the competition

Joanna Estrada
March 17, 2018

The insightful claims originating from within Cupertino share how early builds of Siri were reportedlY Rushed to be included as part of the iPhone 4s before it was fully ready to launch, causing a "major problem" for the teams developing the software.

Instead of continuously updating Siri so that it would get smarter faster, Richard Williamson, one of the former iOS chief Scott Forstall's deputies, reportedly only wanted to update the assistant annually to coincide with new iOS releases. Yes, that's right, the people who saw the inner workings of Siri think Apple should junk it and start from square one.

While "several former employees" claim Mr. Williamson's decisions - including one to limit the introduction of Siri features to a once-annual cycle - clashed with the team, Williamson told The Information that this was not true.

In 2011, when the iPhone 4s was introduced, Siri was a game-changer. "It was slow, when it worked at all", Williamson said. The back-end software struggled to keep up, and the Siri team scrambled to improve the bug-ridden and unoptimized code to make it operate at such a large scale. "Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team".

Those 24-hour workdays came from infrastructure problems, as Apple apparently hadn't prepared for the amount of traffic that would come from Siri. Siri, for example, still lags conversational assistance while Assistant can identify that a follow up question is related to the previous one. It was only around then that Apple decide to lift its veil of secrecy and involve the Siri team into the picture. Mr. Julia, though, clashed with Forstall, who pushed for Mr. Julia to be let go, which happened before a year passed in his time running Siri. After a disappointing response for Apple Maps on iOS 6, both Forstall and Williamson were fired in 2012. In order to launch Siri on time, Apple had to put that mission on pause and focus on a few core capabilities that it would have complete control over.

All of this is not to say that Apple hasn't made advancements with Siri. The main reason being stated for the bad start is how Siri's capabilities are limited when compared to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association.

"Members of the Topsy team expressed a reluctance to work with a Siri team they viewed as slow and bogged down by the initial infrastructure that had been patched up but never completely replaced since it launched". Back then, Apple had no plans to incorporate Siri into the speaker, but the company eventually changed its mind after the Amazon Echo was launched in late 2014, the latest report reveals. This may (according to a source) be attributable to an Apple plan to launch the HomePod without Siri. The digital assistant marked its debut on the Apple iPhone 4s - the first smartphone Tim Cook announced as he tried fitting in the shoes of the ailing Steve Jobs. Despite opening up Siri to third-party developers with SiriKit, the digital assistant still hasn't been able to catch up with 'the likes of Google Assistant.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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