Apple's Boston Team Working on Siri Enhancements

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors member


    Jul 25, 2013
    Good for them. Teach siri how to prepare food
  3. macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Nothing said

    So the news is that members of the Apple speech team aren't talking.
  4. macrumors 601


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    "While it is unclear just what the Boston Siri team is working on".

    Unclear? I assume they were working on improving Siri.
  5. AngerDanger, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013

    macrumors 68020


    Dec 9, 2008
    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.

    I use it all the time, and it's extremely helpful… when it works.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2011
    siri is just a gimmick. apple used it to sell the 4s.
  7. macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2013
  8. macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2012
  9. macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    I haven't been impressed by Siri. I have been impressed by Google's voice recognition, though.
  10. macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    Please, Boston team, do not give her a Boston accent! :rolleyes:
  11. macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2010
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    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!:D
  13. macrumors regular


    Oct 2, 2011
    Yes, it's important to own the technology.

    So they purchased Siri, while Google created the better performing Google Now.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 18, 2013
    A Bronx accent would be tenfold better than a Boston one :D
  15. macrumors 68020


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    if they were responsible for iOS 7's Siri...props on them
  16. macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    I think it's safe to assume that Google utilized one or multiple companies that they purchased to help them with Google Now
  17. Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    That's good but Google Now is still ways ahead.

    And why did Apple replace Google search with Bing search?

  18. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 18, 2013

    What are you talking about basesloaded? I Steve o is right, Google had zero help with Google now....

    Oh darn...i hate facts! :rolleyes:
  19. macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2010
    zoiks -- then what am i doing using it on my 5 on a regular basis!?
  20. macrumors 603

    Dec 11, 2006

    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.
  21. macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    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.
  22. macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2013
    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.
  23. macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    Or you could turn on the radio and let the DJ change the records for you.

  24. macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2010
  25. macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2012
    That would be wicked!

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