Siri (pronounced //) is a computer programme that works as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator, part of Apple Inc.'s iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS operating systems. The feature uses a natural language user interface to reply 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 feature, adapts to the user's individual language usage and individual searches (preferences) with continuing use, and returns results that are individualized. 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. There are several accent and gender combinations for the voice of Siri.
Siri has been an integral part of iOS after iOS 5 and was introduced as a feature of the iPhone 4S on October 14, 2011. Dictation powered by Siri was added to the third generation iPad with the release of iOS 5.1.1 in May 2012; full Siri support was added with iOS 6. Siri has been included on all mobile Apple hardware manufactured throughout or after October 2012.
Siri is additionally integrated into Apple Watch's watchOS, where the feature can be activated by holding down the Digital Crown or by saying "Hey, Siri." Siri is additionally integrated into Apple TV's tvOS, where the feature can be activated using a button on the included Siri Remote.
Since 2014 Siri has been available in a few cars via CarPlay, a system that enables the vehicle audio system to be a display and controller for an iPhone. It is available on all iPhones from iPhone 5 with at least iOS 7.1.
On October eighth 2016, Bloomberg reported that Apple was moving Siri, along with additional Apple services, to a new system codenamed Pie. Pie gives Apple more control over the system, thus enabling potentially faster and more reliable services.
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 a large number of applications, including reminders, weather, stocks, messaging, email, calendar, contacts, notes, music, clocks, web browser, Wolfram Alpha, and Apple Maps. Currently, Siri supports English (United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore), French (France, Switzerland), German (Germany, Switzerland), Japanese, Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Spanish (Mexico, Spain, United States), Mandarin (China, Taiwan), Korean, and Cantonese. On launch, Siri had limited functionality outside the United States and Canada. Notwithstanding Apple, with the release of iOS 6, added the missing functionality to additional countries. Siri additionally replaces 'Voice Control' on previous versions of iOS, which could only perform basic tasks such as play music, make calls and open apps.
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 additional iOS devices. Notwithstanding a few news sites suggested 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 haven't been able to port the application with full functionality. Notwithstanding new reports from January 2012 suggested that independent developers had succeeded in porting Siri to earlier iPhone models, the iPod Touch, and iPad. i4Siri.com, a United States-based team, 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 would 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 additional sports related information, checking movie times, finding restaurants and additionally ordering reservations. Siri can additionally tell the height of sports players in iOS 6. It additionally brought a few previously US only features, such as Google Maps and Yelp integration,
On June 13, 2013, Apple announced that Siri would have a gender option, meaning that one can choose if Siri will sound male or female, with the release of iOS 7.
During its September 2015 event, Apple announced that Siri would respond to "Hey Siri" voice activation on an iPhone 6S when the device isn't being charged. Siri was additionally introduced for the new Apple TV platform.
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 wasn't 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.
The notion of Siri was firmly planted at Apple 25 years ago—though “Knowledge Navigator” video with the voice of the assistant was only a concept prototype.
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 additionally supports search from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha, Apple Maps, Yelp! and Wikipedia.
Siri additionally contains numerous pre-programmed responses to conversational and amusing questions. These are designed to provide an entertainment factor and give Siri human-like qualities. Such answers include '42' in response to 'What is the meaning of life?', in reference to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
The original American voice (named Samantha in OS X) was provided by Susan Bennett in July 2005, the same person that voiced Tillie the All-Time Teller. Reports that the voice was provided by Allison Dufty were incorrect, which was proved by Ed Primeau, an American audio and video forensics expert.
The original British male voice, Daniel, was voiced by Jon Briggs, a former technology journalist. The voice was recorded for Scansoft, which had merged with Nuance Communications in October 2005, although involvement of Nuance with Siri wasn't confirmed until May 2013.
The original Australian voice, Karen, was voiced by Karen Jacobsen, an Australian-born and New York-based entertainer, singer, voiceover artist, and songwriter. Jacobsen is the Australian voice in GPS navigation devices for Garmin, Mio, Navman, and TomTom.
Siri was met with critical acclaim for its ease of use and practicality, as well as its obvious "personality". Notwithstanding 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 The Guardian, journalist Charlie Brooker considered Siri's personality to be unpleasantly servile, but found that the software worked "annoyingly well". Siri was criticised by organisations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and NARAL Pro-Choice America after users found that it wouldn't provide information about the location of birth control or abortion providers, at times 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 hasn't been well received by a few 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 didn't 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 their 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.
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 favourably to Siri, with a few reviewers preferring it. An Apple fan blog side-by-side comparison said that Google's Voice Search on iOS is "amazingly quick and relevant, and has more depth [than Siri]".
|Arabic||Saudi Arabia||9.2 onwards|
|United Arab Emirates||9.2 onwards|
|Chinese (Cantonese)||China||10.0.1 onwards|
|Hong Kong||6.0 onwards|
|Chinese (Mandarin)||China||6.0 onwards|
|New Zealand||8.3 onwards|
|South Africa||10.0.1 onwards|
|United Kingdom||5.0 onwards|
|United States||5.0 onwards|
|Korean||South Korea||6.0 onwards|
|Norwegian (Bokmål)||Norway||9.0 onwards|
|United States||6.0 onwards|
According to sources from Brazilian site Techguru, Nuance Communications has delivered the final version in Portuguese to Apple. It additionally 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 additional 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.
In popular culture
Siri was featured in various media appearances:
- A subplot in "The Beta Test Initiation", the January 26, 2012 episode of the American TV series The Big Bang Theory depicted Raj Koothrapali developing a romantic relationship with the Siri interface on his new iPhone. The closing scene of the episode depicted a dream sequence in which Raj meets the real-life "voice of Siri" appeared, played by Becky O'Donohue. Notwithstanding he finds that he can't speak to her due to his selective mutism.
- The Criminal Minds episode "The Itch" briefly features Siri at the beginning in which Siri completely misunderstood the message the driver wanted to send.
- The Boondocks episode "I Dream of Siri" revolves around a version of Siri (voiced by Grey DeLisle) that becomes obsessed with protagonist Robert Freeman
- In the The Simpsons episode "What Animated Women Want", Homer becomes annoyed with Siri (voiced by Tress MacNeille) and asks where he could find a better voice-activated search machine, to which Siri zaps him.
- Siri received an honorary degree in Humanity from the University of Florida throughout President W. Kent Fuchs's inaugural graduation speeches given throughout the Spring 2015 commencement ceremonies held in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
- In the 2015 Marvel superhero movie Ant-Man, throughout Darren Cross and Scott Lang's fight inside a helicopter, Cross screams that he'll "disintegrate" Lang, and the Siri on his iPhone responds to this by playing the song "Disintegration" by The Cure.