That’s more or less the promise Apple made during last week’s World Wide Developers Conference Keynote. Demonstrating onstage, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, asked Siri about the weather.
“Here’s the forecast for the next three days: Sunny, sunny, and sunny,” replied Siri.
Each “sunny” sounded a shade different. Maybe that’s a victory in itself. With the upcoming iOS 11, the now 6-year-old Siri will sound so natural that no one will notice, and by notice I mean those cringe-worthy moments when Siri (or really any voice assistant) attempts to pronounce a name, location, or offer a more natural reply and it sounds like they swallowed a fly mid-sentence.
Now, though, Siri’s on everything from the iPhone to Apple TV to the Mac to Apple Watch (and, soon Apple’s HomePod). She also handles, according to Apple, 2 billion voice requests each week and responds with at least as many sentences. So, Siri’s mispronunciations and occasionally halting responses are almost unavoidable.
With the massive worldwide success of the Amazon Echo, Apple is most likely looking to give them a run for their money with the upcoming HomePod.
“40% of adults now use voice search once per day” according to Location World.
Apple is preparing to blur that line, not so much to fool people into thinking Siri is human, but to shift the focus from the way Siri speaks to the information the digital assistant provides. With Apple leading the way with a new generation of voice-activated digital assistants we may see a drastic increase in the number of people using them.