Siri vs. Keyboard Mic

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by CrashX, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. CrashX macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2012
    Just wondering if any of the gurus knows why pressing the little mic button on the keyboard seems to work wonderfully, whereas trying to communicate the same message to Siri doesn't seem to work?

    I may be completely wrong thanks to what I was told - but apparently Siri uses the "cloud" to interpret what I'm trying to communicate. I'm guessing, when I press the mic button, the phone is using its built-in program? But I've also read on the 'net that they both use the cloud, that pressing the mic on the keyboard invokes Siri? But that just doesn't seem very likely based on my experience.

    I get that everyone likes to make fun of Siri - but, because the "experience" is so horrible for me, I only toy with it as a gimmick. The only dependable use of Siri I've found is controlling the clock. "Set alarm", "Set timer", "What time is it?"

    However, I use the microphone when texting pretty regularly and the voice recognition is almost always spot-on.

    Just seems odd.

    The main use of "Siri" is when you're otherwise distracted with more important things - like, for instance, driving - and it always seems she's on her worst "behavior" at those times. Maybe Apple might be able to improve the software by asking whether or not to send a "diagnostic report" when you scream profanity at the phone?

    Anyway, I just don't understand why the keyboard mic is over 90% reliable, whereas Siri - in my experience - is just a horrible gimmick. Are they two separate programs - and, if so - which seems likely to me, why isn't the more reliable program employed first, and then "Siri" might go floating out on her cloud to fix anything the more reliable program can't understand?

    Also, until Apple scraps Siri and gives us something that works a bit more reliably, can't they just change her name to Vista? ;)
  2. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    What would be an example of the issues you run into with Siri (e.g., what do you say, what does it hear, and what is the response)?
  3. Tinmania macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2011
    Siri and voice dictation both use the same voice recognition system.

    If you have a 6S or 6S plus you can have voice dictation downloaded so it can be used when offline.

    When connected to the internet voice dictation, as well as Siri, do perform better analysis on what you "meant" to say. For example, if I say "Lake Havasu City" in offline dictation mode it will always translate to "Lake have a sue city." When connected to the Internet it will usually do likewise, then think about it (Cloud at work), then change it to Lake Havasu City. Of course that is only if I speak it perfectly as it usually thinks I mean Sioux City (I could fix that by using a nickname in contacts).

    Now Siri does seem to "think" more about you are saying, so it can be acted upon in context. But for me that is usually a help and not a hindrance.

    I use Siri at least 20 times a day--often from my Apple Watch. That is above and beyond voice dictation which I use a lot as well (especially on AW).

  4. CrashX, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016

    CrashX thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2012
    Thanks. Uhm... it's easier to simply state the very few things Siri does correctly - which is setting alarms. I've turned off "Hey Siri" because my experience with that has been so terribly frustrating. Most of the time, she just "hangs" - there's no "spinning beach ball" on the iPhone, but that's what she seems to spend 90% of the time doing.

    Here are things Siri has never done correctly ever while driving. I hear an alert for a message. I don't currently have an unread message - so this is the banality of pressing the button.

    Me: "Read my last message."

    Siri: "You have no messages."

    Yes, I do. Okay then - and I'm not driving and I have time right now to "play" with Siri.

    Me: "Read my last read message."

    Siri: "There are no messages."

    Yes, there are.

    Me: "Read my last read message from ____."

    (Because hey, if I were driving, maybe I tried to sneak a look at the message while driving, couldn't pull it off.)

    Siri: "There are no messages."

    Whatever... Thanks but no thanks, Siri. It's a female voice, so she's always correct. I have to deal with that. Understood ;)

    Joking aside, the speech recognition is terribly botched. So

    Me: "Siri, send a message to ____."

    Siri: "What would you like to send _____."

    I'm driving. I can't see the phone. I'm at home. I said, "Hey man, what's up, how are things going?"

    Siri translates to: "Hey man are things going?" - she asks me if what is on screen is what I'd like to send. Normally, I'd be driving - what she's translated is botched. My friend doesn't know I'm using Siri.

    Possible fix: "- Transcribed by Siri" appended - just like the old iPhone email practice of "Sent from my iPhone". "Transcribed by Siri" would let the recipient know that if they receive some garbled message they should try to piece it together as best they can, yes?

    But no. First, I have to LOOK at the phone. The software mucked it up. So I tell Siri "No".

    Siri's response "Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with" - end loop. If I respond to her after that, nothing happens. End loop. That's moronic.

    So here's my proposed fix.

    Me: "Hey Siri, send a message to ____."

    Siri: "Okay, what message would you like to send ____ (First Last Name encountered)."

    NO! How about - Siri: "I'm sorry. Which ____ would you like to send the message to?"

    That would be helpful.

    Then Siri garbles the message. She does not read it back to me. I'm driving - yet I'm supposed to read the transcription of what is becoming my "argument" with my phone.

    I don't think I'm being demanding?

    And, given she's EXTREMELY likely to garble my message, at LEAST offer me the opportunity to try to restate the message - not END the loop with "Let me know if there's anything else..."

    That is AWFUL!

    And, until the software can translate the most simple of messages, PLEASE append, "- Transcribed by Siri." So the recipient knows Siri most likely garbled what I tried to say.

    In my opinion, the software is garbage. Given how faulty it is, it should automatically assume that it likely f'd up - rather than just end-looping on "Let me know if there's anything else I can..." f up.

    So - Siri can tell me what time it is and can set an alarm for me. The software fails at 99% of everything else, but it's programmed to assume that it's correct.

    I believe that is the KEY problem with the software. And again - if it could simply append "- Transcribed by Siri" or something to that effect, at least the recipient would KNOW to do their best to decipher whatever was intended.

    Also, Siri always ends the interaction, asks a question - then "Let me know..." and stops "listening".

    Yes, I'm certain it could be much much worse.

    But - given how horribly my experience with it has been, I don't use it. Other than to set alarms if anything at all.

    Meanwhile, using the microphone: "Hey man, how are things going?" I get "Hey man how are things going". I've learned these quirks, so I say, "Hey man comma how are things going question mark" and I get "Hey man, how are things going?"

    This is much faster than typing for me - it works.

    Thanks for your reply. And I apologize for any negative tone - I didn't even know, until trying to use Siri again, that I was once again going to get very frustrated with it.

    Which hopefully brings us back to my question - why does the keyboard microphone button transcribe almost perfectly, whereas Siri garbles most everything?

    Thanks for your patience.
  5. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    So it's not really as much as just simply not interpreting what you are saying correctly (which is basically the extend of what diction does), even though that also seems to be there in parts, but more about the actual flow/phrasing/context and basically intelligence behind it all that is part of Siri but not really part of dictation.
  6. CrashX, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016

    CrashX thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2012
    If I could trust the dictation, as much as I can trust the dictation using the mic button, then Siri and I would be on much better terms.

    But the flow is also extremely frustrating. Siri assumes that it's correct.

    I hope that my invoking Siri while driving scenario helped to illustrate the serious flaws I've encountered with the software's flow - that it assumes I'm looking at the screen and that it is correct.

    I think the software would be infinitely more usable and less frustrating if Apple allowed you to toggle Siri so that the software NEVER assumed it was correct -

    In the getting a message while driving scenario -

    1.) Siri: "There are no messages" corrected to "There are no NEW messages. Would you like me to read the last read message?"

    2.) Have Siri read the message it transcribed back to me. Automatically append - "- Transcribed by Siri" to let the recipient know the message is likely to be garbled and allow me to send the garbled message if it seems "close enough" that they might be able to comprehend the meaning.

    3.) Don't have Siri ask me if it can help with anything else, then stop listening.

    4.) Have Siri say "I'm sorry" about EVERYTHING and LISTEN for additional voice prompting, rather than have me scream at my phone in frustration and have it tell me I'm not polite.

    Once the software is out of pre-alpha, then I can toggle a button that says "Trust Siri" - at which point the software can assume it MIGHT be correct and not repeat everything back to me. And another toggle that automatically appends "- Transcribed by Siri" because it lets the recipient know that any garbling is due to the inherent difficulty of Siri doing its best to transcribe a message.

    If all of us are expected to be "alpha testing" Siri to improve Apple's "neural cloud network"(?) or whatever they call it - then fine...

    I'd use it more freely, my friends could be amused by the oddity that is Siri, and I'd still never use it for any business communication whatsoever.

    But it's not even a fun gimmick. It's just so incredibly frustrating, Apple loses another Siri "tester".

    I've never known Apple to enjoy being the butt of jokes - so why it is they haven't addressed these problems with Siri already is beyond me. To me, the software represents the unwarranted arrogance we've come to love and expect from Microsoft.

    Thanks again for your patience and for bothering to reply.

    P.S. Oh, headed out for a bit, probably a few hours. Just don't wish for anyone to think I'm being rude for not responding.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2016 ---
    Hey Mike, I'm happy to hear you've had a much better experience with Siri.

    I have an SE. I'm seriously perplexed as to why pressing the "mic button" on the keyboard seems infinitely more reliable than invoking Siri, if they are using the same software. Thanks for your reply.

    Sorry again - as I mentioned in my last post, I'm off to go hang with a friend for a few hours.

    As I don't own a watch - I'm guessing that Siri DOES actually repeat what it's transcribed to you, given I'm guessing it's doesn't "scroll" your text reply, then ask you if it's okay to send?

    There may be a setting to have Siri read things back to you that I'm missing. I don't know.

    Sadly, unlike you, I find the software so flawed that I only bother using it to set alarms.

    Hope everyone has a great evening.
  7. Tinmania macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2011
    You can have Siri read back a text before sending, but Siri doesn't speak on the AW (I wish it did). For texting I have my AW set to use dictation. It doesn't ask if I want to send it, it just sends it after about 5-10 seconds on its own. During that time you can cancel it. So with my watch I can just say "Hey Siri, text my daughter I'll pick you up in 30 minutes" and it will just send it (I will glance at watch to ensure the text is correct, as well as who it is being sent to).

    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2016 ---
    When you say that to Siri she assumes you checking for unread messages. If you had an unread message she would read it and even ask if you want to reply. Presumably, the logic is if you are asking generically for the last message you never read it.

    Now if you ask to read a message from a specific person, she will read it (and, also, ask if you want to reply).

    Actually, this will work as intended. I use it all the time. You can even use the person's nickname (e.g., Yami for Yamile, daughter for your... well, daughter, etc.).

    When I use dictation I always dictate punctuation. So if I said that to Siri it would be like. "Hey man comma what's up comma how are things going question mark." It works very well. I'm used to doing it like that from using desktop dictation software back when it was far less robust than my iPhone is today.

    I often use Siri first thing in the morning before getting out of bed, so I don't have to look at my phone or even open my eyes. "Hey Siri, do I have any notifications?" (She will speak them, and if a text allow me to reply.) "Hey Siri what is the weather going to be like today?" (She tells me.) "Hey Siri what about the weekend?" (Hear how the weekend is looking.) "Hey Siri...." <SMACK> "If you don't stop talking to that stupid phone ima break it!!!" (girlfriend).

  8. CrashX thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2012
    HA! When I first got my SE, my friendgirl was gonna kill me - almost verbatim exchange.

    Also, I've been playing around a bit with Siri today - and it's now doing things correctly that it was refusing to do yesterday. Very quirky, or maybe it's just me.

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