Siri on the iPhone 5
|Original author(s)||SRI International|
|Initial release||October 4, 2011|
|Preview release||7.0 beta 1 (Build: 11A4372q) (June 10, 2013[±])|
|Operating system||iOS 5 and later|
|Platform||iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad (3rd generation), iPad (4th generation), iPad Mini, iPod Touch (5th generation)|
|Available in||English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Spanish|
|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. Apple claims that the software adapts to the user's individual preferences over time and personalizes results, and performing tasks such as finding recommendations for nearby restaurants, or getting directions.
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 first supported on the iPhone 4S. Siri was added to the third-generation iPad with the release of iOS 6, and is included on the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod Touch, fourth-generation iPad and the iPad Mini.
Siri was launched first as an application available on Apple's App Store in the United States. 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 15, 2011.
On October 4, 2011 (Siri's birthday), Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with their implementation 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.
Independent developers claim that they have 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.
In June 2012, at Apple's WWDC conference, Apple announced that Siri will be available on the 3rd-generation iPad beginning in late 2012 with the release of iOS 6. Also in June 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.
Research and development
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 United Kingdom male voice is called "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 called "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, Navman, TomTom and Mio worldwide.
The original Siri application relied upon a number of partners, including:
- OpenTable, Gayot, CitySearch, BooRah, Yelp, Yahoo Local, ReserveTravel, 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 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 and Wikipedia. Siri additionally works with Google Maps and Yelp! search in the United States only.
Siri on older generation devices
Many people have been trying to 'port' Siri onto older generation Apple devices and users of iPad, iPod and older iPhone's were able to install Siri. Most Siri ports were illegal due to copying Siri data, some legal Siri ports such as Spire were available on Cydia which was only available on jailbroken devices.
Siri ports such as Spire would not work without a Siri proxy such as the TTLP Siri Proxy. TTLP required so called 'Siri keys' for it to work. TTLP Siri Proxy was created by Jimmy Kane & Wouter De Schuyter. The project is available open source on their Github.
Wouter De Schuyter had setup a website (paradox-productions.net) that was a demo of the project and a major (free) Siri proxy service. The traffic to the site was reaching it hundred thousands, then traffic of the site dropped 'like a stone' when Apple lawyers contacted his hosting provider (Virpus.com) to shut this down. Wouter complied with this to keep his Virtual Dedicated Server online. After a few months he then decided to sell the domain. Muktadir Miah (IC0NIC) decided to buy the site at a private price. Muktadir then hosted the new Siri proxy in the Netherlands to keep away from Apple's lawyers. Muktadir also decided to have a paid service where there were more Siri keys and better uptime to his premium service.
Muktadir then got an email from his free Siri proxy server that there was an intrusion. He shut it down and never came back online. He still owns the domain but it is parked.
In June 2012, former Apple SVP Scott Forstall announced that Apple had been in discussions with automobile manufacturers and companies, 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.
Siri was met with a mixed-to-positive reception 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 The Guardian, journalist Charlie Brooker considered Siri's personality to be unpleasantly servile, but found that the software worked "annoyingly well". Siri was criticized by organizations such as the 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. It was suggested[by whom?] that abortion providers could not be found in a Siri search because they did not use "abortion" in their descriptions. Apple responded that this behavior is not intentional and that it would improve as the product moved from beta to final product.
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.
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.
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 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.
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. For example, asking Siri in the United Kingdom to list local businesses, to navigate somewhere, or to give traffic information, elicits the reply "I can only look for businesses, maps and traffic in the United States, and when you're using U.S. English. Sorry about that." Using Siri within the United States with the English voice (Daniel) elicits a similar response — despite the user's geographic location. However as of iOS 6 Siri now has functionality to find local businesses and other location services outside of the United States.
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