Apple plans to change “Hey Siri” command to activate virtual assistant

Apple plans to change “Hey Siri” command to activate virtual assistant

Apple supposedly wants to do away with “Hey”.

The company is said to be training its Siri voice assistant to take commands without needing the first half of the “Hey Siri” sentence. The trigger phrase is used to launch Siri on various products, including iPhone, iPad, HomePod, and Apple Watch.

Bloomberg, which first reported the news, said the change could take place next year or in 2024. Apple did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

While the update is apparently minor, experts say it could signal that broader changes are coming and require extensive training in artificial intelligence. Lian Jye Su, research director at ABI Research, said that having two trigger words allows the system to recognize requests more accurately, so switching to one word would rely on a more advanced AI system.

“During the recognition phase, the system compares the voice command with the user-trained model,” said Su. “’Siri’ is much shorter than ‘Hey Siri’, giving the system potentially fewer points of comparison and a higher error rate in echoing, large and noisy environments”, such as in the car or when wind is present.

The change would allow Apple to reach Amazon’s “Alexa” prompt, which doesn’t require a first wake word for its voice assistant. Microsoft switched from “Hey Cortana” in 2018, now allowing users to just say “Cortana” on smart speakers. However, “OK Google” is still required for most Google product requests.

The move away from “Hey Siri” would also come at a time when Apple, Amazon and Google are collaborating on the Matter automation standard, which will enable interoperability of automation and Internet of Things devices from different vendors.

With that in mind, James Sanders, principal analyst at market research firm CCS Insight, said that “redoubling efforts to improve Siri’s functionality is likely to be a priority at Apple.”

Siri launched in February 2010 as a standalone iOS app on the Apple App Store before being 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 physically touching a button in 2014.

Siri has gotten smarter over the years, thanks to integration with third-party developers like shipping and payment apps, and support for follow-up questions, more languages ​​and different accents. However, it still has issues with not understanding users and responding incorrectly.

“While the ‘Hey Siri’ change requires a considerable amount of work, it would be surprising if Apple were to announce only this change to Siri,” said Sanders. “Given the rumors, I predict this change will be bundled with other new or improved functionality for Siri, perhaps along with a new HomePod model and integrations with other smart home products via Matter, as a reintroduction to Apple’s voice assistant.”

Source: CNN Brasil