Apple is reportedly planning to simplify its “Hey Siri” trigger phrase to just “Siri,” according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Right now, the quickest way to access Siri is to say “Hey Siri” and then add a command, but Apple is looking to make that process simpler by letting users drop the “Hey” in the trigger phrase. The company reportedly plans to roll out the change either next year or in 2024.
Gurman reports that Apple has spent the past few months training the digital assistant to respond to “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri.” Although this may seem like a small change, it requires a significant amount of AI training and engineering work, as the digital assistant will have to understand the single wake word in multiple accents and dialects, Gurman notes. Apple’s current two-word trigger phrase increases the likelihood of Siri picking up on it. Apple has reportedly been testing the simplified trigger phrase with employees.
Switching to a single trigger word will help Apple keep up with Amazon’s Alexa, which is already capable of responding to commands to just “Alexa” instead of “Hey Alexa.” Even Microsoft switched Cortana’s wake phrase from “Hey Cortana” to just “Cortana” before shutting it down. The move would also put Apple a step ahead of Google, which still requires users to say either “Hey Google” or “OK Google.”
Gurman notes that Apple’s decision to simplify its trigger phrase will speed up back-to-back requests by making it easier to string multiple requests together.
In addition, Gurman reports that Apple is working to integrate Siri deeper into third-party apps and services, while improving the digital assistant’s ability to understand users and process their commands.
The report comes as Apple has been working to enhance Siri over the past years. Earlier this year, Apple developed a new Siri voice that doesn’t sound obviously male or female. The decision to introduce a gender-neutral voice is one that saw the tech giant take a step away from the criticism that digital assistants have reinforced unfair gender stereotypes. Apple first addressed concerns with Siri last year when it issued an update that added more diverse voices and also made it so Siri’s voice would no longer default to being female. The new and fifth Siri voice made it possible to not have to think about the gender of your AI voice assistant at all.