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Former Apple employee claims Steve Jobs would have 'lost his mind' over Siri

post #1 of 181
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A new report quotes a former Apple employee as saying that people at the company are "embarrassed by Siri" and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs would have "lost his mind" over the feature's performance.

The most-recent issue of Fortune profiles Apple CEO Tim Cook as a capable leader who is leaving his own mark on the company. However, author Adam Lashinsky notes that Siri may also reflect a change in the quality of Apple's products.

"People are embarrassed by Siri," Lashinsky quoted a "former insider" as saying. "Steve [Jobs] would have lost his mind over Siri."

The Siri voice assistant feature launched as a beta with the iPhone 4S last October. However, some consumers have been unsatisfied by the service's performance, especially as compared to television advertisements touting it, and have filed class-action lawsuits against the company.

Some users have even set out to test the service by replicating requests put to Siri by celebrities in recent commercials. For instance, developer Paul Kafasis followed actor Samuel L. Jackson's lead in asking Siri for a reminder to "put the gazpacho on ice in an hour," but he was unable to have the sentence understood, as noted by Daring Fireball. Kafasis even went so far as to use the audio from Jackson's commercial to submit a request to Siri. The service responded by attempting to call names that were combinations of his phone's contacts.

Though it's not clear whether the move was intentional, new commercials from Apple should be easier to reproduce. Two new spots featuring actor John Malkovich show him submitting simple one-word requests to Siri.


Credit: Shawn King


Anecdotal evidence has also suggested that Siri does not perform as well as expected in Japanese. Support for the language arrived in March with the release of iOS 5.1.

Siri may also be facing obstacles in the enterprise. Earlier this week, IBM revealed that it had banned Siri from use on its corporate network because of security concerns. The company, which admitted it is "extraordinarily conservative" when it comes to security, specifically took issue with the fact that Siri contacts Apple's servers for each request.

Apple acquired Siri in 2010, reportedly paying $200 million for the company. One of the co-founders of Siri claimed earlier this year that Jobs was initially unhappy with the name of the service, but he reportedly stuck with the name because he was unable to come up with anything better.



Fortune previously reported an incident where Jobs lost his temper when an Apple product failed to live up to expectations. After the MobileMe service had a shaky launch in 2008 and received poor reviews as a result, Jobs called the product's team together for a meeting.

The executive was said to have asked the team what the product's purpose was. After receiving a response, Jobs reportedly asked, "So why the f--- doesn't it do that?"

"You've tarnished Apple's reputation..." Jobs allegedly said. "You should hate each other for having let each other down... [technology journalist Walt Mossberg], our friend, is no longer writing good things about us."

Acccording to the report, Jobs appointed a new leader of the MobileMe team after the meeting. Most of the team that worked on the service was reportedly disbanded as well.

When announcing the replacement iCloud service last year, Jobs admitted that MobileMe was not Apple's "finest hour" and promised that the service would just work.
post #2 of 181

I guess there's little point in mentioning that 95% of the time Siri works just fine for me, but I don't ask it to find "funky" names of locations, songs, etc. that I know it would be hard to understand. I must be in the minority. 

post #3 of 181

I give very little weight to anonymous sources especially when they are ex-employees of someone.
 

post #4 of 181

You have to admit Daring Fireballs follow link is humorous.

http://www.onefoottsunami.com/2012/05/23/over-promise-and-under-deliver/

melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #5 of 181

I found that it is great for sending text messages and dictating notes.  Particularly useful when driving or holding objects with the other hand, both of which make writing difficult.

post #6 of 181

Wasn't SJ firmly in charge at the point Apple bought Siri?

post #7 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJBauer View Post

I give very little weight to anonymous sources especially when they are ex-employees of someone.
 

 

Yup.

post #8 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by pembroke View Post

Wasn't SJ firmly in charge at the point Apple bought Siri?

Again. Yup.

post #9 of 181

I think Siri is a nice start for a beta product but has a long way to go. It seems to me that the biggest problem here is the ads overstating what Siri can do. That's just asking for trouble. It kind of reminds me of handwriting recognition on the Newton -- Apple started off way over-promising, and by the time the handwriting recognition was actually pretty good, the public's perception of the Newton's handwriting recognition as lousy had hardened. 

post #10 of 181

Turned it off on my 4s. I don't drive so need there, and coupled with it being so damn slow compared to the old voice command app which didn't rely upon the cell network!

post #11 of 181
Siri works about 10x better than the voice-activated calling in the previous phones, but that could be mic related
post #12 of 181

All i can say is that Siri understands and answers more questions than some humans do, so there is that.

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post #13 of 181

I could careless about SERI. I would like to now why the hell I couldn't use my new iPad via he wall adapter when the batter has drained.

I took it back to the Apple store for a full refund on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach last month and the manager was more than willing to refund my credit card.

Apparently  this is a very hush, hush snafu on Apple's part.

post #14 of 181

What snafu? They're not supposed to give refunds?

post #15 of 181

Was said "former Apple employee" working on the MobileMe team?

 

Siri's failures are not in the same class of failures that was MobileMe's. Siri doesn't lose or corrupt users' data. (Of lesser note, Siri is also clearly advertised as "Beta", whereas MobileMe was released as a supposedly fully, properly functional service.)

post #16 of 181

True and I'm sure the mic is party related to it.

 

If I had to guess it's because they are using Dragon's technology, not their own.

post #17 of 181

Just make it so it doesn't have to communicate with apple servers for requests that don't need an internet connection. Why do you need to communicate with the server to call a contact that the old voice service was able to do before without a connection?

post #18 of 181

Siri doesn't work great here in the UK. I never use it at all. However my non-techie iPhone using friends love it. Go figure.

post #19 of 181

SIRI = "Steve's INADEQUATE Response Interpreter"

post #20 of 181

not only was steve jobs around when apple purchased siri, but he announced the phone that had the software and was very clear about it being beta.

 

just more apple-hating bullshit.

post #21 of 181

Also, why have commercials about a Beta service? Do non technical people even understand what a Beta is?

 

Same thing confused me about the Nokia Lumia 900 ATT commericals where they say the smart phone Beta test is over, are they expecting people to know what they are talking about?

post #22 of 181

I'm tired of people saying "come on it's beta." The problem is Apple is not advertising it as beta, it is the highlight of their 4s ad campaign. While us Apple followers know, a bet you the average consumer has no idea it's a beta stage feature.

 

That said, even in beta stage I think it works great 95% of the time, and is a giant leap in voice recognition assistance.

post #23 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

I could careless about SERI. I would like to now why the hell I couldn't use my new iPad via he wall adapter when the batter has drained.

I took it back to the Apple store for a full refund on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach last month and the manager was more than willing to refund my credit card.

Apparently  this is a very hush, hush snafu on Apple's part.

or...

 

maybe you got a lemon (yes, it does happen with apple products, too);

and, maybe, apple has great customer service.

 

i had to replace a monitor because it had one pixel that was white. called apple, took it in. same problem with the replacement, but different pixel. after the second return, i was passed along to a manager who proceeded to tell me that he would replace my monitor and inspect it himself, that it would ship that same day—didn't need me to send the faulty monitor back right away. 

post #24 of 181
Now I realise I haven't spoken to Siri for quite sometime. She probably left as felt abandoned.

On a serious note, I am still convinced Apple wanted to introduce the iPhone 5 last year but some hiccups in the supply chain put some pressure on them and forced them to release a beta version of something that could be a great thing - if not in beta.
post #25 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

not only was steve jobs around when apple purchased siri, but he announced the phone that had the software and was very clear about it being beta.

 

He was alive when they purchased the company and still alive during the announcement, but only by a day; and he certainly didn't announce it, Scott Forstall did at the 4th October 2011 event that Tim Cook introduced.  Steve died on the 5th.

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post #26 of 181
Lost me after the 4th word of the title
post #27 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrodo View Post

Also, why have commercials about a Beta service? Do non technical people even understand what a Beta is?

Same thing confused me about the Nokia Lumia 900 ATT commericals where they say the smart phone Beta test is over, are they expecting people to know what they are talking about?

I might be mistaken, but Siri was only introduced to the wider public when the iPhone 4S was launched on 4 October. Steve did not attend the keynote.
post #28 of 181

I don't know about others but "my" Siri understands me perfectly well almost all the time. Putting the gazpacho on ice was not a problem. :-)

 

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post #29 of 181

I'd like to see some of the complainers actually talk to Siri. I don't remember ever seeing a Siri ad that promotes the ability to understand speech impediments. Ive never had a problem with it and I really only use it when Im drunk

post #30 of 181

Steve Jobs would have lost his mind over a product he authorized to ship? Sure. Like he lost his mind over the hockey puck mouse or Mac cube? Siri works now better than it did when it first came out and back then it probably worked better than when Jobs make the decision to label it a beta and ship it.

 

What would drive Steve Jobs nuts is people posthumously using his name to booster their credibility. He's gone. Let it go.

post #31 of 181

Siri is beta? How long was GMail "beta"? (Don't bother asking Siri - I'll give you the answer ... over 5 years).

Beta doesn't mean bad. It just means not final.

If it was an Alpha release ... then there'd be issues.

post #32 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoadm View Post

I'd like to see some of the complainers actually talk to Siri. I don't remember ever seeing a Siri ad that promotes the ability to understand speech impediments. Ive never had a problem with it and I really only use it when Im drunk

 

So you use Siri all the time?...

 

j/k

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post #33 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoadm View Post

I'd like to see some of the complainers actually talk to Siri. I don't remember ever seeing a Siri ad that promotes the ability to understand speech impediments. Ive never had a problem with it and I really only use it when Im drunk

It's not always recognition, it's also the speed at which requests are answered. The commercials make it seem instant, but in reality that isn't the case. Plus there are always times when Siri is really sorry about this and can't take any requests right now.

post #34 of 181

I have to agree that I am disappointed in Siri...  I have asked it for the formula for anti-gravity and it just keeps directing me to web sites that deal with elemental particles and neutrino mass calculations.... such a failure....  

 

:-)   

post #35 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikiman View Post

I guess there's little point in mentioning that 95% of the time Siri works just fine for me, but I don't ask it to find "funky" names of locations, songs, etc. that I know it would be hard to understand. I must be in the minority. 

 

Works great for me as well. As I stated in some other post, seems to be getting better and better. Hell I mumble a lot and it still understands me.  

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #36 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrodo View Post

It's not always recognition, it's also the speed at which requests are answered. The commercials make it seem instant, but in reality that isn't the case. Plus there are always times when Siri is really sorry about this and can't take any requests right now.

 

If you're on a fast network, it can be almost instant. I've experienced this at work while connected through WiFi.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #37 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post
i think the translation aspect of siri is pretty good, or at least better than the competing options out there from google. 

I disagree. Google understands my speech better in both Spanish and English. Siri of course does not speak Spanish. Problem is neither of them understand me when I mix the two languages which is quite often necessary when living in California with all the Spanish names of places and things. Also in Spanish, quite frequently there is no Spanish word for many modern English nouns so you use the English word instead which is usually spoken without an accent. Both technologies fail miserably in this context. Voice recognition has advanced about 1% from where it was 10 years ago and is miles from where it needs to be to actually be useful. Who wants to repeat themselves twenty times before giving up when the whole point of voice recognition is to simplify common tasks.

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post #38 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay-t View Post

I don't know about others but "my" Siri understands me perfectly well almost all the time. Putting the gazpacho on ice was not a problem. :-)

This would make a fun poll. Invariably for me, Siri flubs this particular line, whether speaking slowly (with or without clear breaks between words) or normally. Some of its more common misinterpretations are:

 

"Remind me to put the guess Bacho on ice in an hour"

"Remind me to put the dispatch on Icenhower"

"Remind me to put the guest spot show on ice in an hour"

post #39 of 181

This whole thing is just fluff. Why would Jobs buy Siri, if he didn't want it used exactly the way it's being used?

 

Now, I do think Apple was foolish for allowing those Ads to portray a level of intelligence that just isn't there.

I am very surprised they haven't been sued over it.

 

Don't get me wrong... Siri is great. It's just not the all knowing female HAL-9000 that its made out to be.

post #40 of 181

He would have lost his mind over the complete hash they have made of address book and ical. The fact that Apple seems to have lost its way over the very thing that made it successful - "ease of use and integration". Photosharing was one of the few successful things on MobileMe as well as syncing of passwords and keychains across macs has now forced hundreds of thousands of people to seek alternatives outside the apps eco system. I never thought I would need to use an alternative calendar and address book and now I am. Not boding well for the future I am afraid.....

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