Siri is getting less dumb and a little bit more human. That’s not a contradiction.
Apple’s voice assistant is getting a more clear, human voice in both female and male intonations alongside some new skills in iOS 11 that will improve its general performance.
Apple announced today that Siri is now used monthly on more than 375 million devices.
Apple is bringing translation to Siri so that you can ask the voice assistant how do say a certain English phrase in a variety of languages, including, at launch, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Siri has run into quite a bit more competition over the past few years as Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Google Assistant have grown in their capabilities and made the shortcomings of Siri’s AI wits a bit more evident. With these changes Apple is hoping to show off that it’s still the voice assistant to beat, though we’ll have to wait until later this year to see for ourselves.
Siri will now be able to handle follow-up questions, something that Google Assistant has long had, and will now allow Siri to answer more complex tiered questions.
The less broadcasted headline of the event is that Apple is increasingly thinking of Siri as more of a general AI that extends through iOS rather than simply a voice assistant. In iMessages for instance, Siri on iOS is getting a bit more sensitive to your context. If you get asked “where are you?” in iMessages the app will show a pop-up of your current GPS location.