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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Siri Is So Much Bigger Than (Many) People Have Realised

Siri Is So Much Bigger Than (Many) People Have Realised
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Waragainstsleep
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Oct 26, 2011, 08:35 PM
 
I forget whether I mentioned it anywhere on MacNN or not but it turns out I'm not the only one who thinks the current version of Siri is the tip of the iceberg, and not just in terms of adding APIs so that Siri does more things.

Yes, more and more apps will flock to integrate Siri as part of the UI and yes Siri will go to the iPad, the Mac, the iPod Touch and maybe even the smaller iPods. People seem to think its just a better version of Google voice, voice controls for iOS, a new UI tool.

I say the real power of Siri is search. Siri is Apple's search engine. Every query for maps, goods & services performed via Siri is a search request going through Apple servers. Later on more and more queries from more and more apps and services will follow suit. Apple will be harvesting all that data on where, when and how people shop and consume. All that data that Google holds so precious and makes so much money from. Even when Apple routes Siri searches through Google it goes through Siri first. Apple can replace Google with results that are just as accurate if not more and are definitely more profitable for Apple.
If Apple can grow and spread Siri fast enough, they could catch Google and M$ cold. Pull the rug out from under their search engines without needing fancy new algorithms or a global network of data centres to cache the internet.
Siri is a stroke of genius.

Why Google and Microsoft Hate Siri | TechPinions
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Eug
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Oct 26, 2011, 09:52 PM
 
Like I said before, Skynet was born in 2007, but only officially launched just a few weeks ago.



I think it will be a few years though before Skynet finally annihilates us.
     
iLikebeer
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Oct 26, 2011, 11:06 PM
 
I haven't gotten to use it yet, but it reminds me of Watson or Sherlock or whatever that was called back in OS 8.6 or 9.
     
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Oct 26, 2011, 11:58 PM
 
I saw the ad for it and it got me thinking I could install it in my car and have KITT. The only thing I'd be missing is the Hoff's awesome hair.
     
cjrivera
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Oct 27, 2011, 12:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
I saw the ad for it and it got me thinking I could install it in my car and have KITT. The only thing I'd be missing is the Hoff's awesome hair.
It'd be cool if Siri had the option of using the voice of William Daniels.
"It's weird the way 'finger puppets' sounds ok as a noun..."
     
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Oct 27, 2011, 01:13 AM
 
Before they take on Google and MS, they have to work on their voice recognition. "Send a text message to John". "Okay, your message is "John", who would you like to send it too?" "John" "Okay, sending your message to Hamid". Grrrrr.
     
ajprice
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Oct 27, 2011, 03:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
The only thing I'd be missing is the Hoff's awesome hair.
There's an app a wig for that

Signature Costumes > Signature Costumes Shop Home > Official Knight Rider Costume Watch And Wig


It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
besson3c
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Oct 27, 2011, 11:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I forget whether I mentioned it anywhere on MacNN or not but it turns out I'm not the only one who thinks the current version of Siri is the tip of the iceberg, and not just in terms of adding APIs so that Siri does more things.

Yes, more and more apps will flock to integrate Siri as part of the UI and yes Siri will go to the iPad, the Mac, the iPod Touch and maybe even the smaller iPods. People seem to think its just a better version of Google voice, voice controls for iOS, a new UI tool.

I say the real power of Siri is search. Siri is Apple's search engine. Every query for maps, goods & services performed via Siri is a search request going through Apple servers. Later on more and more queries from more and more apps and services will follow suit. Apple will be harvesting all that data on where, when and how people shop and consume. All that data that Google holds so precious and makes so much money from. Even when Apple routes Siri searches through Google it goes through Siri first. Apple can replace Google with results that are just as accurate if not more and are definitely more profitable for Apple.
If Apple can grow and spread Siri fast enough, they could catch Google and M$ cold. Pull the rug out from under their search engines without needing fancy new algorithms or a global network of data centres to cache the internet.
Siri is a stroke of genius.

Why Google and Microsoft Hate Siri | TechPinions

I think Apple will eventually need more of a global network of data centers to do all the stuff they are starting to do, but this is all interesting nonetheless...

My only question with this is the whole demographic thing. Right now a very particular demographic uses the iPhone 4S, and as more and more people use Siri this demographic will evolve and change from hipsters in California looking for Sushi restaurants to people in India searching for whatever. It is not a given that Siri will be demographic-savvy, and also smart enough to know when to not try to be demographic-savvy.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 27, 2011, 11:38 AM
 
How could they screw up the color of the shirt?
     
Tiresias
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Oct 27, 2011, 12:23 PM
 
Still seems kinda tacky to me.
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Oct 27, 2011, 01:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
My only question with this is the whole demographic thing. Right now a very particular demographic uses the iPhone 4S, and as more and more people use Siri this demographic will evolve and change from hipsters in California looking for Sushi restaurants to people in India searching for whatever. It is not a given that Siri will be demographic-savvy, and also smart enough to know when to not try to be demographic-savvy.
A good point but Apple's demographics are arguably much much better than most peoples. Android and Microsoft appeal to people who are cheap. People who buy the cheapest possible thing to do the job. Apple users tend to have anything between some and a whole lot of money. Which demographic would you want to target?
No point selling anything online to destitute orphans in the 3rd world when you can be selling to rich people.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
besson3c
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Oct 27, 2011, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
A good point but Apple's demographics are arguably much much better than most peoples. Android and Microsoft appeal to people who are cheap. People who buy the cheapest possible thing to do the job. Apple users tend to have anything between some and a whole lot of money. Which demographic would you want to target?
No point selling anything online to destitute orphans in the 3rd world when you can be selling to rich people.

Android and Bing might be limited to particular demographics, but Google search is pretty wide open to at least North America.
     
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Oct 27, 2011, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Android and Microsoft appeal to people who are cheap. People who buy the cheapest possible thing to do the job.
What a pile of shite. Oh and **** you.
     
besson3c
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Oct 28, 2011, 01:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
What a pile of shite. Oh and **** you.

I kind of glazed over this bit or else I might have commented in a similar manner, only I would have pointed out how in some cases this is simply false.

There are things that Microsoft does quite well, such as Exchange.
     
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Oct 28, 2011, 02:57 AM
 
I got a chance to play with SIRI today with a co-worker that got it. It sucks on the US only front for maps and restaurant look ups but everything else about it is incredible. Damn phone called me a bitch and told me to watch my language lol. But its ability to take appointments, delete them and set reminders was super impressive.

Android and Microsoft appeals to cheap people or ignorant people. This is very true. The biggest complaint I get against Apple stuff is the Apple Tax. The price. The rest are just ignorant and don't know anything about technology and go for pretty flashy and numbers. As a IT Professional who spends 8 hours a day at work servicing Microsoft crap and dealing with users Androids when they need a corp app installed I can back up my choice with Apple products with a long list of technical reasons. Im not a fanboy
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Oct 28, 2011, 05:25 AM
 
You misunderstand me. Its not just people who are cheap who buy Android and M$, its just that if you happen to be cheap, you will get Android and/or M$. Chances are you might even get a free phone on contract and steal Windows & Office, but either way you don't buy Apple.

Now if you are going to try to sell products to people, would you be better off selling to a pool of buyers who almost all have money to spend, or a (much) bigger pool of potential buyers even though some (very very many) of them will never spend anything at all because they either don't have it or simply refuse to spend it? Keep in mind that even cheap people like to window shop online and still contribute to the targeting information that Google uses, its just that even if you show them something they really want they still might not buy it.

I know which group I'd want to target if I were paying by the click/hit.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
besson3c
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Oct 28, 2011, 06:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
You misunderstand me. Its not just people who are cheap who buy Android and M$, its just that if you happen to be cheap, you will get Android and/or M$. Chances are you might even get a free phone on contract and steal Windows & Office, but either way you don't buy Apple.

Now if you are going to try to sell products to people, would you be better off selling to a pool of buyers who almost all have money to spend, or a (much) bigger pool of potential buyers even though some (very very many) of them will never spend anything at all because they either don't have it or simply refuse to spend it? Keep in mind that even cheap people like to window shop online and still contribute to the targeting information that Google uses, its just that even if you show them something they really want they still might not buy it.

I know which group I'd want to target if I were paying by the click/hit.

I think both the high volume/low profit margin thing ala Walmart and the low volume/high profit margin thing ala Apple has its places, but I would say that the former would provide you with a better sense of what gamble Joe Sixpack is willing to spend money on, which in turn is probably of greater interest to the industry at large since there are probably fewer manufacturers and retailers going after a high-end niche.

The beauty of Google search is that it captures the entire market right now.
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Oct 28, 2011, 06:55 AM
 
Ah but having a richer demographic to sell into gives you more flexibility with what products you build/sell in the first place. If you have to cater to everyone, you have to join the race to the bottom and compete on price. If you have a customer base with money throughout, you can build something decent in the knowledge that if it costs more as a result, you will still be able to find the people to sell it to. Good products can get lost in a sea of low margin crap when they don't deserve to.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Oct 28, 2011, 07:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think both the high volume/low profit margin thing ala Walmart and the low volume/high profit margin thing ala Apple has its places, but I would say that the former would provide you with a better sense of what gamble Joe Sixpack is willing to spend money on, which in turn is probably of greater interest to the industry at large since there are probably fewer manufacturers and retailers going after a high-end niche.
I think flooding the market with many low-margin products and seeing what sticks is no more effective than making a select few products as good as you can (given the limits of mass production) and selling them at a high margin.

The risk of having the iPad flop was probably not much higher to Apple, given the margin on iPhone/iPod/Mac business, than if a competitors' 4 out of ten products fail, but the other six only have margins of less than 10 percent.

Additionally, Apple's approach to building the best damn thing they can*. and going by gut rather than numbers, makes a total flop pretty unlikely.



*) Yeah, call me a fanboy, but goddammit if my new iPhone 4S isn't most ****ing amazing piece of microelectronics I've ever seen. If this is drinking the Kool-Aid, I don't care; give me more of it.
     
Tiresias
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Oct 28, 2011, 10:57 AM
 
I can't read that expression without recalling an interesting but little-known fact: the Jonestown cult actually poisoned itself with cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. A hasty reporter didn't bother to check a seemingly trivial fact, and the blot fell on the escutcheon of the competitor.

As you were.
     
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Oct 28, 2011, 11:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
You misunderstand me. Its not just people who are cheap who buy Android and M$, its just that if you happen to be cheap, you will get Android and/or M$. Chances are you might even get a free phone on contract and steal Windows & Office, but either way you don't buy Apple.
Huh? The iPhone is now in the free-on-contract bin.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 28, 2011, 11:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Huh? The iPhone is now in the free-on-contract bin.
For the past two weeks, yeah.

(and several years in other countries)
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Oct 28, 2011, 11:56 AM
 
The contracts aren't terribly cheap though and I bet you can get an Android phone on PAYG for much less in the long run.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
mduell
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Oct 28, 2011, 01:52 PM
 
$25/mo as a 3rd line on a family plan... so a $600 2-year contract. DROID on PAYG isn't going to be much cheaper unless you don't use it.
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Oct 28, 2011, 04:39 PM
 
Well all right, my argument may have been outdated in the last couple of weeks, but still, it will take some time for the cheapskates to catch up or for their Android contracts to expire.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Tiresias
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Oct 28, 2011, 08:19 PM
 
In South Korea, where cruel fate has marooned me, there is no down payment on the iPhone. You sign up for a two year contract and pay a little extra on your bill each month for the handset. In other words, the cost of the handset is spread out over two years.

But it feels like they just give it to you.
     
Tiresias
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Oct 28, 2011, 08:38 PM
 
^ And just going by what I see on the subway, approximately 70 percent of South Koreans have an iPhone; the remaining 30, a Korean-made smartphone.

That in spite of their fierce loyalty to their own brands. Seeing a non-Korean car on the street is a very rare occurrence.
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Oct 29, 2011, 09:37 AM
 
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Oct 29, 2011, 12:03 PM
 
Okay... I can't resist saying it any longer:

Every time I see this thread title, I think: "Siri is a 500 lb woman?" (so much bigger than people have realized).

I know, I know. It's a silly thing, but I had to say it.
     
Wiskedjak
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Oct 29, 2011, 12:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think Apple will eventually need more of a global network of data centers to do all the stuff they are starting to do, but this is all interesting nonetheless...
This. Siri is certainly interesting, but right now it can't even handle traffic volume limited to iPhone4S. And, it needs to be opened up beyond voice interface. Siri's voice recognition is still quite weak ... throw in some nearby conversations while you're trying to get Siri to do something, and it breaks down completely (probably why the only Apple demo of Siri being used in a crowd involves the guy using a microphone).
     
Kerrigan
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Oct 29, 2011, 12:23 PM
 
Siri is going to be huge. Just wait until they get her running on this:

     
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Oct 29, 2011, 12:31 PM
 
Why would you want to ask that (^) to give you advice?
     
Kerrigan
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Oct 29, 2011, 12:36 PM
 
Imagine, a sex robot that can carry on a conversation, make appointments, and order delivery. Time to dump the nagging wife/girlfriend.
     
ort888
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Oct 30, 2011, 07:24 PM
 
But the whole point of a sex robot is the ability to skip the conversation part... Right?

It's like that old saying, "you don't buy a sex robot to have sex with you, you buy it to be an inanimate object when you're done."

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
besson3c
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Oct 30, 2011, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
This. Siri is certainly interesting, but right now it can't even handle traffic volume limited to iPhone4S. And, it needs to be opened up beyond voice interface. Siri's voice recognition is still quite weak ... throw in some nearby conversations while you're trying to get Siri to do something, and it breaks down completely (probably why the only Apple demo of Siri being used in a crowd involves the guy using a microphone).

Have there been reports of problems with their current infrastructure struggling to keep up with the 4S?
     
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Oct 30, 2011, 09:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Have there been reports of problems with their current infrastructure struggling to keep up with the 4S?
There have been reports of people not getting answers from Siri due to an inability to communicate with the server. This will even affect doing things local to the device (play music, book calendar event, send a message). My two coworkers with 4s's get these errors often.

http://www.iphonesavior.com/2011/10/...-pressure.html
     
besson3c
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Oct 30, 2011, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
There have been reports of people not getting answers from Siri due to an inability to communicate with the server. This will even affect doing things local to the device (play music, book calendar event, send a message). My two coworkers with 4s's get these errors often.

iPhone Savior: iPhone 4S Siri Network Folds Under Pressure

Ahhh... Well, there is also the possibility that this is more of a bug or lack of software optimization than a load issue. Apple's software (including the Lion update from the App Store, iOS update from iTunes, and OS X Mail) seems to have a history of doing funny/quirky/brain-dead things with making connections and maintaining state with the pool. It seems like these apps are designed to attempt a connection and returning immediately if a connection cannot be made, rather than Apple having some sort of proxy service and queuing mechanism or something. Then again, with Siri perhaps it is better to fail immediately.

Of course, I'm just talking out of my ass here, but my point is that it might not be a safe bet to take various connection error messages at face value and/or assert that the appropriate solution is adding more infrastructure.

I'm not saying you are saying this, just making general comments...
     
Wiskedjak
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Oct 30, 2011, 09:48 PM
 
Either way, Siri isn't always quick to respond and sometimes doesn't respond at all. Regardless of the cause, this will have to be resolved before widespread rollout is possible. I suspect we won't see a proper Siri implementation until iPhone5/iOS6.
     
besson3c
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Oct 30, 2011, 09:51 PM
 
What is improper about the current implementation?
     
Wiskedjak
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Oct 30, 2011, 10:14 PM
 
As said: prone to delays and lack of response.
     
besson3c
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Oct 31, 2011, 02:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
As said: prone to delays and lack of response.
Okay, I figured you meant something which would preclude these problems from being fixed prior to the next major iOS version. I can't think of any reason why these problems could not be resolved well before, whether this means making adjustments to the backend or rolling out a point update, or both.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 05:04 AM
 
Siri is a big step. I agree with Woz: we need answer engines and not search engines for a lot of stuff. I don't want to click 15 links to get an answer to a simple question.

Obviously, getting answers to questions and not having to click so many links... if everyone starts going in this direction... it will hurt Google's pay per click advertising: the ads won't flash anymore. Google could make a business model out of it, and charge Apple to access their search engine via Siri. But Apple's got them there too: they use Wolfram Alpha for the deep level stuff.

And there's no reason why Apple couldn't just say, "We've had enough with you Google. We're making our own search engine. No more ugly interfaces and 90s style hyperlinks."

At any rate, Siri will work in certain situations. Voice isn't really the killer App though, brain wave computing is.
     
besson3c
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Oct 31, 2011, 05:49 AM
 
There will always be a use for Google style searches, I think. An evolved AskJeeves is great, but that's a totally different sort of tool designed to find answers to common human questions. If I want to find out what an error message in my programming is and I don't even know how to phrase it into a question because I don't know what the hell is going on, I need a tool that will parse through text for me, not try to figure out what it is that I'm asking and answer it for me. I'm not suggesting that Google will not be challenged by something like Siri, just that Google Search will always have some value, I think.

I think things are changing with the whole ads business anyway. Facebook is doing well and I don't think their main revenue is people clicking on ads, it's demographic data and profiling and stuff. Siri actually really concerns me, this whole data mining thing really seems to be getting out of hand, I don't know where things are headed but it seems completely unfettered right now.

I'm not sure I follow the "no more ugly interfaces and 90s style hyperlinks" thing. Apps that use Google search results can be formatted in any fashion, technologically speaking.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 06:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think things are changing with the whole ads business anyway. Facebook is doing well and I don't think their main revenue is people clicking on ads, it's demographic data and profiling and stuff.
Those are the same thing, though: demographic data and profiling and stuff are a business model because that's what you sell to advertisers.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Siri actually really concerns me, this whole data mining thing really seems to be getting out of hand, I don't know where things are headed but it seems completely unfettered right now.
I agree that this is cause for great concern, and while there's a lot of sensationalist bullshit and hypocrisy, I do appreciate that Apple is being watched very closely for their privacy policies.

However: Apple has a history of using customer data *exclusively* to improve the customer/user experience (iAd being the sole - failed - exception) or for direct advertising aka newsletters. I have not yet, in 23 years of dealing with the company, their products and policies, heard of a case where they passed on user data or otherwise used it for nefarious porpoises.

And I think Siri is a poster example of exactly that - they collect huge swathes of information and profiles, and then go and use that to improve Siri's results for everybody. A telltale sign is that Apple charges me a substantial amount of money for products that are able to use their services, rather than keeping them free (and thus probably charging others for the data that my use of their services generates).

Lest I come across as too much of a fanboi* (yeah right, like I'm new here), let me repeat that scrutiny is extremely important and good. It's just that, of all these data collection monsters, I find Apple the least untrustworthy—so far.




*i am a total fan of my new 4S. I cannot imagine how one couldn't be.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 08:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Okay, I figured you meant something which would preclude these problems from being fixed prior to the next major iOS version. I can't think of any reason why these problems could not be resolved well before, whether this means making adjustments to the backend or rolling out a point update, or both.
No. Given that most of what Siri is exists outside of iOS and on Apple's servers, everything *could* be fixed without so much as an iOS update. Just knowing how Apple operates makes me suspect that a non-beta-Siri would be used as an iOS6/iPhone6 selling point.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 08:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post

Wow, what a ripoff of XKCD, down to the tooltips.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 09:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
There will always be a use for Google style searches, I think.
I hope you don't mean the current "We know what you specifically asked for, but we're giving you what we know you really meant" style of Google search. Ye gods, that's annoying.
     
Athens
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Oct 31, 2011, 11:25 AM
 
The only problem I see with Siri delays is related to network speed of the phone provider. This really is out of Apples control.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
Wiskedjak
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Oct 31, 2011, 07:51 PM
 
The Siri delays I've seen have all been over WiFi
     
beb
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Nov 4, 2011, 11:24 AM
 
I wonder if IBM's Watson could be modified to work as a part of Siri. Besides the ability of answering Jeopardy questions or beating Harvard and MIT students, Watson could be used to suggest possibilities in a variety of settings. iJustine asks Siri "Who's your daddy?" in a recent video. Would it not be better if instead of the updated Eliza-like answer "You are." that Siri would give a more complete and researched answer not unlike Watson? Unlike Watson, Siri could be made to have use of the mechanisms on the iPhone 4S to figure out exactly where it is, what the local temperature is, and take pictures. That way a more informed answer is possible. I guess I'm thinking of a somewhat intelligent tricorder. God, what a lonely world that would be. Never mind, I like people better, even if they hate me. They at least feel something.
     
   
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