It is said that Apple wants to put an end to “Hey”.
The company is said to be training its voice assistant Siri to pick up commands without the first half of a quick “Hey Siri” phrase. The launch phrase is used to launch Siri on many products, including the iPhone, iPad, HomePod, and Apple Watch.
Bloomberg, which first broke the news, said the change could come next year or in 2024. Apple did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.
Although the update may seem minor, experts say it could signal broader changes to come and may require extensive AI training. Having two trigger words allows the system to recognize requests more accurately, so moving to one word will rely on a more advanced artificial intelligence system, said Lian Jye Su, research director at ABI Research.
“During the recognition phase, the system compares the voice command to the model that the user is training,” Su said. “Siri” is much shorter than “Hey Siri,” giving the system a lower comparison score and a higher error rate in an echo-sound environment, a large and noisy room, such as in a car or when there is wind.
The move will allow Apple to keep up with Amazon’s “Alexa” claim that doesn’t require a first word of alert for its voice assistant. Microsoft switched away from “Hey Cortana” in 2018, now allowing users to only say “Cortana” on smart speakers. However, “OK Google” is still required for most Google product requests.
The move away from “Hey Siri” will also come at a time when Apple, Amazon and Google are collaborating on the Matter automation standard, which will allow automation and IoT devices from different vendors to interoperate.
With this in mind, James Sanders, principal analyst at market research firm CCS Insight, said, “Redoubling efforts to improve Siri functionality will likely be a priority at Apple.”
Siri was launched in February 2010 as a standalone app for iOS in the Apple App Store before it was acquired by the tech giant two months later. The company then integrated Siri into the iPhone 4S, released the following year, and introduced the ability to say “Hey Siri” without actually touching a button in 2014.
Siri has gotten smarter over the years, thanks to integration with third-party developers, such as passenger calling and payment apps, follow-up question support, and more different languages and dialects. However, it still has issues with users not understanding and responding incorrectly.
“While changing ‘Hey Siri’ requires a significant amount of work, it would be surprising if Apple announced this change only in Siri,” Sanders said. “Given the rumored timing, I expect this change to be combined with other new or improved Siri functions, possibly along with a new HomePod model and integration with other smart home products via Matter, as a reintroduction to Apple’s voice assistant.”
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