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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:28 PM   #1
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Apple's Boston Team Working on Siri Enhancements




In addition to its main office in Cupertino, Apple maintains a number of satellite offices in different cities in the United States. One such office is located in Boston, and according to industry sources that spoke to Xconomy (via 9to5Mac) Apple's Boston team specializes in speech technology and may be working on Siri improvements.
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Based on their online job profiles, we can say that members of the Apple speech team here are working on Siri, the company's voice-activated virtual assistant. Details beyond that are hard to come by, however, even for others in the field.

"They won't tell us what they're doing," says Jim Glass, who heads MIT's Spoken Language Systems Group. "We can only guess."
Apple's Boston team is said to be made up of employees that formerly worked at VoiceSignal Technologies, a speech software company that was purchased in 2007 by Apple partner Nuance.
Multiple members of the team worked at Nuance before moving onto Apple, including Gunnar Evermann, Larry Gillick, and Don McAllaster. Gillick, a former vice president of research at Nuance, lists his job as "Chief Speech Scientist, Siri at Apple," while McAllaster calls himself a "Senior Research Scientist" at the company.

While it is unclear just what the Boston Siri team is working on, Xconomy speculates that Apple could potentially be working on a Siri solution that moves away from Nuance, the technology that currently powers the personal assistant.

It would not be out of the question for Apple to aim for improved Siri software using its own in-house technology. The company has made moves to be more autonomous over the past few years, most recently switching to in-house mapping with iOS 6 rather than continuing to rely on Google Maps. Both former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and current Apple CEO Tim Cook have emphasized the importance of owning technology. "In the business we're in, own the technology," said Cook in an interview. "Steve was laser focused on that and that's ingrained in us."

Though it is possible that Apple is working on its own in-house voice recognition solution, the team could also be seeking to improve the integration of Nuance's technology into Siri. Apple could also be working on new developer APIs to better integrate Siri with existing iOS apps.

Apple has been working hard to improve Siri since the software's debut in 2011. With iOS 6, Siri gained the ability to provide sports scores, make reservations, launch apps, and locate movie listings. In iOS 7, Siri will see further improvements, including speed enhancements, better pronunciation, and new voices.

Article Link: Apple's Boston Team Working on Siri Enhancements
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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Good for them. Teach siri how to prepare food
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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Nothing said

So the news is that members of the Apple speech team aren't talking.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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"While it is unclear just what the Boston Siri team is working on".

Unclear? I assume they were working on improving Siri.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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I'm still waiting for Apple to allow a few key functions to work offline; I should be able to ask Siri to play music without relying on servers to respond. We had this with voice control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacNicholson View Post
siri is just a gimmick. apple used it to sell the 4s.
I use it all the time, and it's extremely helpful… when it works.

Last edited by AngerDanger; Jul 26, 2013 at 01:39 PM. Reason: preemptive quote!
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:35 PM   #6
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siri is just a gimmick. apple used it to sell the 4s.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:37 PM   #7
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Or..

Or they're working on Siri for Mac…
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:37 PM   #8
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So more baseball score functionality then...
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:37 PM   #9
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I haven't been impressed by Siri. I have been impressed by Google's voice recognition, though.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:39 PM   #10
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Please, Boston team, do not give her a Boston accent!
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:43 PM   #11
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i can imagine Siri's accent... Oh no....
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarond12 View Post
Please, Boston team, do not give her a Boston accent!
Actually, there is no single Boston accent. The accent in Brighton is different from the Dorchester accent, which is different from the Southie accent...if one can hear the differences.

And the Brahmins have an accent all their own.

Watch what you wish for....they could go totally postal and just out of spite give it a Bronx accent!
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:45 PM   #13
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Yes, it's important to own the technology.

So they purchased Siri, while Google created the better performing Google Now.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Shrink View Post
Actually, there is no single Boston accent. The accent in Brighton is different from the Dorchester accent, which is different from the Southie accent...if one can hear the differences.

And the Brahmins have an accent all their own.

Watch what you wish for....they could go totally postal and just out of spite give it a Bronx accent!
A Bronx accent would be tenfold better than a Boston one
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:49 PM   #15
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if they were responsible for iOS 7's Siri...props on them
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iSteve-O View Post
Yes, it's important to own the technology.

So they purchased Siri, while Google created the better performing Google Now.
I think it's safe to assume that Google utilized one or multiple companies that they purchased to help them with Google Now
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:05 PM   #17
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That's good but Google Now is still ways ahead.

And why did Apple replace Google search with Bing search?

lol
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iSteve-O View Post
Yes, it's important to own the technology.

So they purchased Siri, while Google created the better performing Google Now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by basesloaded190 View Post
I think it's safe to assume that Google utilized one or multiple companies that they purchased to help them with Google Now
What are you talking about basesloaded? I Steve o is right, Google had zero help with Google now....

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...ions_by_Google

Oh darn...i hate facts!
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacNicholson View Post
siri is just a gimmick. apple used it to sell the 4s.
zoiks -- then what am i doing using it on my 5 on a regular basis!?
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacNicholson View Post
siri is just a gimmick. apple used it to sell the 4s.

It's more than just a gimmick, there are legitimate uses.

I use it all the time to change songs in my car. Hell of a lot safer to just press the button and call out what song I want to hear than to be fiddling with a touch screen while driving.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:30 PM   #21
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Siri will come into its own when processed locally.

Obviously trips to a server will be needed for some queries but right now far to much traffic is generated by Siri. So what we need is a combination of AI improvements and processor performance improvements to allow for the majority of Siri speech recognition and AI processing to be done locally on a device.

I'd be shocked if this want the goal of their development work. Wandering the net to fulfill a query is one thing but much of what people want out of Siri doesn't require a trip to an Apple server. Of course you need improvements to the base voice recognition.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacNicholson View Post
siri is just a gimmick. apple used it to sell the 4s.
Voice search is a gimmick, period.

Whether it's Apple, Google, or whoever else. Doesn't mean it's not nice to have but to think there's actual, widespread usage of it is just being naive.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:31 PM   #23
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Or you could turn on the radio and let the DJ change the records for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zioxide View Post
It's more than just a gimmick, there are legitimate uses.

I use it all the time to change songs in my car. Hell of a lot safer to just press the button and call out what song I want to hear than to be fiddling with a touch screen while driving.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:31 PM   #24
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Siri: Get me some chow dah!!
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:34 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarond12 View Post
Please, Boston team, do not give her a Boston accent!
That would be wicked!
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