Is Apple getting Siri-ous in the face of Amazon's Alexa Echo?

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  • Reply 41 of 155
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,041member
    This is especially true for the Google and Amazon offerings. Having those things listening all the time is just not on. If you care about your personal security then just don't use these things. Do you really want a feed of your home conversations to the NSA, GCHQ and worse, the FSB? And one that you have to pay for out of your own money?
    Just go read/watch 1984 and see what Orwell wrote in 1948 and how close these things are to 'Big Brother'.

    Sorry, no, just no.
    Can you shut up with this ridiculous, myopic conspiracy theory. You have microphones around you every day of your life, but because there's a device listening for the keyword "Alexa" you've jumped to the erroneous conclusion that it's not just listening for the keyword "Alexa" but also recording everything you're saying; yet you've completely ignored the glaring fact that your smartphone, tablet, PC, and many other devices have microphones and cameras built into them and you have no idea if they're secretly recording what you're doing at any given time. And I bet you install 3rd-party apps on your devices without making sure that you've read and understood every line of the code to make sure that they aren't subverting the terms of use and gathering data about your usage patterns in ways you're not even aware.
    edited January 2017 singularityglynhanantksundaramsirlance99mazda 3s
  • Reply 42 of 155
    I highly disagree with this! Pull your head out of your apple coolaid ass, and realize something. Apple is dead at the wheel. Do you not realize everything Apple minus phone and iPad is dead in its tracks? The Cook is docked pay based on performance, but do you think he gives a @&;$! ? Hell no. Who loses? We all do. If you care at all about Apple write them, send feedback at Apple.com/feedback. Let them know what you want, what they are missing, what updates they need to push. Together we may be able to avoid digital climate change..a la the "digital dark ages". :smile: 
    williamlondonk2kwxzu
  • Reply 43 of 155
    crossladcrosslad Posts: 441member
    frankie said:
    Out of the 300 people I know who use iPhones i know exactly ZERO who actually use SIRI.
    About the same amount that use OK Google or Cortana then?
    xzuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 155
    Soli said:
    I was praying to the God in Hades that this was a DED article. Now I can sit down and have an enjoyable time reading it.
    Because it will tell you what you want to hear? Even Ben Bajarin, normally very bullish on Apple was worried about the lack of Apple love at CES. Outside of iPhone cases/chargers the only real Apple presence was companies providing solutions for the ports Apple removed on the new Macs. Siri and HomeKit aren't dominating anything.
    You didn't see a massive number of products supporting HomeKit?

    Let's remember that HomeKit is not an easy certification because Apple wants to make sure that a connected home is reasonably secure.

    An unhackable home my never happen, but companies should at least try to be vigilant in their efforts. Here's an example of a massive fail:

    Reading between the lines from some Ben Bajarin tweets I sense  concern here (and he's usually quite bullish on Apple). 


  • Reply 45 of 155


    bdkennedy said:
    Apple is going to have to rebrand Siri to even get me to think about using it again. It's a POS. And Maps. There seems to be a construction zone down the street from me that's never there.
    Yeah, the new version of Maps has become a bit of a visual mess, hasn't it. Can't even see the Interstate icons any more, for instance! And too many pop-up boxes all over the place that hide actual map info.

    Is Maps also under Cue? (What about Siri?). 
    Maps and Siri are under Cue. Everyone knows I'm not a big fan of Eddy Cue. I think Cook should hire a new SVP to take over iCloud, Siri and Maps. Give Jennifer Bailey complete control of Apple Pay (and maybe have her report directly to Cook) and move Eddy Cue to LA to focus 100% Apple Music and Apple TV. Oh and task him with busing up the disaster that iTunes has become. It's pretty bad when an AppleCare phone rep admits to me that iTunes is too complicated and does too much.
    Cue is so way past his sell-by date. I truly wish, for Apple's sake, that he will just cash in and leave. Apple desperately needs some new blood in its senior decision-making ranks, especially on the software side. 

    Don't get me started on the pos that is iTunes. It's starting to make Windows look good...
    Yes I'd like to see him gone too but for whatever reason he seems to be well liked inside the company so I don't see him going anywhere. My suggesting is just giving him the stuff he's most comfortable with. I trust Craig more on the software side but there's no way he can own all of Apple's operating systems plus all of their cloud services. And we haven't even talked about other software like iWork, Logic, Final Cut etc. Poach someone really good from Amazon, Google or Microsoft to run Apple's cloud/AI/ML efforts. It's not going to get where it needs to be under Eddy Cue that's for sure.
  • Reply 46 of 155
    I was praying to the God in Hades that this was a DED article. Now I can sit down and have an enjoyable time reading it.
    Because it will tell you what you want to hear? Even Ben Bajarin, normally very bullish on Apple was worried about the lack of Apple love at CES. Outside of iPhone cases/chargers the only real Apple presence was companies providing solutions for the ports Apple removed on the new Macs. Siri and HomeKit aren't dominating anything.
    I actually don't agree with the way DED approached this article. Attacking Amazon on its profits was meaningless.
    It seems like that's the only argument these editorials can make...Apple is better because it makes more money.  I don't remember Apple supporters in the past being so obsessed with how much money the company made.
    singularitymacxpressmazda 3s
  • Reply 47 of 155
    I was praying to the God in Hades that this was a DED article. Now I can sit down and have an enjoyable time reading it.
    Because it will tell you what you want to hear? Even Ben Bajarin, normally very bullish on Apple was worried about the lack of Apple love at CES. Outside of iPhone cases/chargers the only real Apple presence was companies providing solutions for the ports Apple removed on the new Macs. Siri and HomeKit aren't dominating anything.
    CES 2017 has been a dumpster fire.  The only thing i've been wowed by have been paper thin 65" OLED screens.  Home Automation crapped the bed.  Nest hasn't made a significant advance in two years.  Netgear delivered a baby monitor (????) . Samsung wanted to flog overpriced Fridges with embedded TV more than SmartThings.  

    Basically people have screamed "I work with Alexa" because nothing of note came out that pushed us forward.  The think CES is rapidly becoming irrelevant to many companies who don't need it to create buzz. 
    Clearly Alexa is just the latest thing the tech community has decided to hype. Last year it was bots and any tech company not all in on bots was doomed. BUT when someone like Ben Bajarin expresses concerns about HomeKit and Apple's presence in general at CES I get worried. He's typical bullish on Apple and if he's hearing concerns from 3rd party vendors that's a problem. One of Apple's strengths is it's ecosystem. If there are cracks in the ecosystem that's not good.
    razormaidhmurchison
  • Reply 48 of 155
    glynhglynh Posts: 115member
    rotateleftbyte said:

    They want to be the only retailer of substence left in the world. Ask yourself what they don't sell (yet).

    Err...Apple TV? :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 155
    glynhglynh Posts: 115member
    rotateleftbyte said:

    This is especially true for the Google and Amazon offerings. Having those things listening all the time is just not on. If you care about your personal security then just don't use these things. Do you really want a feed of your home conversations to the NSA, GCHQ and worse, the FSB? And one that you have to pay for out of your own money?
    Just go read/watch 1984 and see what Orwell wrote in 1948 and how close these things are to 'Big Brother'.

    Sorry, no, just no.

    I think you may be confusing 'always listening' with 'always listening for the Alexa keyword' .

    As I understand it this is how Amazon Echo works...couldn't possibly comment when it comes to Google as they are the biggest & most reprehensible data vacuum in history.

    What was their excuse when it came to light they were gathering details of wi-fi routers while doing mapping for Google Street View?

    Oh it was an accident...we didn't realise. Bollocks...something like that has to be coded in to begin with or it won't happen.

    I've got fed up with waiting for Apple to actually do something with Siri in the last four years so I've bought and Amazon Echo Dot and absolutely love it.

    Also fed up of waiting for HomeKit devices that can actually do something here in the U.K.

    Don't get me started on the fact that there is not one Mac I have wanted to buy since 2012-2013 either and after the lacklustre Apple TV with no 4K and loss of digital audio out & iPhone getting too thin & slippy to hold, its abysmal battery life and the fact that I cannot use Bluetooth in the car since iOS 10 there seems to be little in the Apple ecosystem for me any more.
    edited January 2017 Soli
  • Reply 50 of 155
    glynhglynh Posts: 115member
    digitol said:
    If you care at all about Apple write them, send feedback at Apple.com/feedback. Let them know what you want, what they are missing, what updates they need to push. Together we may be able to avoid digital climate change..a la the "digital dark ages". :smile: 
    They are too arrogant to listen and take any notice.

    Don't forget they know what you want before you do! :)
    williamlondonrazormaidsingularityanantksundaram
  • Reply 51 of 155
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,998member
    Siri, home kit and Apple TV are serious ball drops. 

    I'm getting a new TV. But I want it wall mounted and primarily I use the internet for TV these days.  Without a lot of wiring added this excludes the Apple TV and so I will get a smart TV probably running Android. 

    That said I think home automation is a fad. It was wearables a few years ago right 
    anantksundaramxzu
  • Reply 52 of 155
    glynhglynh Posts: 115member
    Amazon echo is over rated.  I think it will fade in time.
    Amazon people who have never used voice assistance will be impressed for a while with Alexa.
    Time will tell.
    I thought that until I got fed up of waiting for years for Apple to actually do something with Siri.

    Then I purchased the Amazon Echo Dot. Absolutely love it. So I bought two more.

    Only ever used Siri to set timers and ask if I needed an umbrella to amaze friends when it was first released over 5 years ago but where has the real progress been since then?

    In real terms they seem to have gone backwards and recently the original Siri development team left, released the next-gen Viv and were bought out by Samsung.

    It's a bit like HomeKit...lots of promise but there is nothing here in the UK that makes it worthwhile for me and I'm a gadget freak who already has many automated home devices.
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 53 of 155
    I got an Echo Dot for Christmas and love it for use in the kitchen.  The article didn't touch on the pros and cons of a "single purpose" device like the Echo Dot and a multi-purpose device like a phone and for me a single purpose device works well in a room like the kitchen that many people spend a lot of time in (I know you can use an Echo to play music but I don't.... I'm waiting for the Alexa - Sonos integration they announced last year)

    Regarding "what do I use it for?"
    - setting multiple timers for cooking
    - adding items to To Do and Shopping list if these occur when I'm doing stuff in the kitchen (these are synced with ToodleDo using IFTTT)
    - update on local transport, mainly in morning but also in evening if I'm going out. There are Alexa Skills that integrate with real time bus, rail and underground status in London so I can get current status and times to next bus or train when fixing breakfast. Voice updates are handier than checking a phone or computer.
  • Reply 54 of 155
    mygigmygig Posts: 24member
    I love using it and do that about 10 to 20 times a day on the Apple watch. I would like it to have more smarts, but don't care for the AI as much, because I don't mind learning the syntax of how to say things and than know, i will always get what I want. Even the voice recognition works fine for me even thou I speak with a strong accent, since my native language is a slovanic one.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 155
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,732member
    Apple has become notorious at abandoning technology, Siri is just another victim. I remember when it was marketed to have "conversational" abilities. Um nah, it never did. 
    xzu
  • Reply 56 of 155
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,835member
    Soli said:
    This is especially true for the Google and Amazon offerings. Having those things listening all the time is just not on. If you care about your personal security then just don't use these things. Do you really want a feed of your home conversations to the NSA, GCHQ and worse, the FSB? And one that you have to pay for out of your own money?
    Just go read/watch 1984 and see what Orwell wrote in 1948 and how close these things are to 'Big Brother'.

    Sorry, no, just no.
    Can you shut up with this ridiculous, myopic conspiracy theory. You have microphones around you every day of your life, but because there's a device listening for the keyword "Alexa" you've jumped to the erroneous conclusion that it's not just listening for the keyword "Alexa" but also recording everything you're saying; yet you've completely ignored the glaring fact that your smartphone, tablet, PC, and many other devices have microphones and cameras built into them and you have no idea if they're secretly recording what you're doing at any given time. And I bet you install 3rd-party apps on your devices without making sure that you've read and understood every line of the code to make sure that they aren't subverting the terms of use and gathering data about your usage patterns in ways you're not even aware.
    Soli, I think you need to get your head out of the sand. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-echo-data-evidence-in-murder-case/ already shows the police force is going after any kind of information they can. They also went after a smart water thermometer. This isn't a conspiracy theory, it's already happening. Yes, we have all kinds of microphones and cameras around us but for the most part, Apple has tried to make sure these components don't work without the user knowing about it. As for Amazon and Google, their business is selling people's information to others. That's not Apple's business. If you don't believe the NSA is pushing for access to these network-based communication devices (or they already have it through "deals"), then you don't understand what the NSA is tasked to do. 

    As for the Echo only turning on when it's summoned, can you prove this? Are their any service words it uses other than having to start with Alexa? Can it be hacked, just like everything else. Where does the data go, how much of the conversations are saved by Amazon and is any of it encrypted? Does Amazon scan the conversations (like Google does on everything--no, I don't have proof of this) and use it for targeted marketing? These are all serious questions that need to be investigated and not some ramblings from another conspiracy theorist but from someone who spent their entire work life dealing with limiting access by others to information I was working on.
    edited January 2017 bloggerblogai46apple jockeyration al
  • Reply 57 of 155
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,464member
    Regardless of how the technologies affect the bottom lines of each company, Apple does have catching up to do with the quality of the Siri experience compared to both Google and Amazon. Siri feels very restrictive compared to competitors, requiring more precise phrasing to get an adequate answer. The other two feel more freeform and conversational, particularly Google Now.

    One reason behind this is that Google/Amazon are not afraid to use customer data to bolster AI learning, which will potentially allow them to stay ahead of Apple. Apple has painted themselves into a corner a bit by being so loud and proud about customer privacy. While their stance on privacy is obviously highly respectable, the reality is that AI software needs real world input to improve and Google/Amazon (particularly Google) are in a position that may offer exponential rather than incremental improvements.

    I'd also like to point out this bad assumption in your article:
    "In contrast, moving from iOS devices and the rest of Apple's platform to new hardware running a different ecosystem, just to access another voice assistant, is a much more difficult transition for users to make."

    At least in the case of Alexa, nothing is further from the truth. I was given an Echo Dot as an unexpected Xmas present and found it delightfully easy to use. It has quickly replaced "Hey Siri" as my go-to for voice control of lights and common questions like weather. The fight here might not be about which technology makes the most money, but which voice service gets the most mind share first, becoming the "Google" or "Kleenex" of voice assistance.
    Let us know when you buy an amazon phone and computer (or a droid and a pc), just to better utilize Alexa. That's what dan meant by moving away from apple's ecosystem. We have an Alexa and her recognition of my commands is about 15% better than Siri, meaning we have to try twice or more times to accomplish something multiple times a week, but just slightly less than with Siri, and that's with amazon having a big cylinder with many mics at its disposal.
    I don't see a phone/computer switch happening anytime soon
    Amazon is getting a lot more traction for it's AI than some here realize. It's not just for home. Alexa will come preinstalled on some Huawei smartphones and is also being integrated with some vehicles, with Ford announcing it this week.
  • Reply 58 of 155
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,214member
    LeeinAZ said:

    While I use Apple Music, I use a Sonos system to play the music, I use Fire TV instead of Apple TV for media and I use Waze rather than Apple Maps for navigation. As I have a car that has Android Auto as well as CarPlay I have started moving my SIM card over to a Galaxy S7 Edge for longer car trips to use Android Auto as I find, other than messaging, which is something I kind of avoid while driving anyway, CarPlay is useless and more often than not responds with 'I am sorry, I can't search the internet while you are driving' which makes the CarPlay experience useless and frustrating. I kind of thought that being able to use voice to do things like find a gas station or see if a store is open was kind of the idea.



    Because of the sorry state of SIRI and APPLE MAPS I've stayed a way from CarPlay. Thanks for letting me know its not worth it.

    And because of SIR and MAPS there is no way in hell that I would be interested in an Apple car.   Maybe Car Play (or an Apple enhanced User Experience) might be good if Apple started providing "A" series chip call it the "C" series for traditional Auto makers.  Apple has proven that they can design small powerful specialized chips.   

    Years after the Scott Forstall was pushed out for problems in iMaps I can't believe that Cue hasn't been either fired, Reassigned, or had these Responsibilities moved to a new executive.   The executive level at Apple seems more like a "boys tree house club" - its just the friends who get along with Cook and Ive.     They have only added one product
    (the watch) since Jobs died. and yet it seems like product development has slowed down all the last few years with updates taking years to iPads and computers.    Because of this Cook should be replaced.

    HomeKit support is included in many smart appliances because there is a high correlation between iPhone owners and homeowners interested in home Automation.    Apple better make HomeKit smaller, cheaper, and quicker for manufacturers to include it in their products or they will drop Apple when they figure out they can sell products just for the Alexa/Amazon or Google Home realm.





  • Reply 59 of 155
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,214member


    bdkennedy said:
    Apple is going to have to rebrand Siri to even get me to think about using it again. It's a POS. And Maps. There seems to be a construction zone down the street from me that's never there.
    Yeah, the new version of Maps has become a bit of a visual mess, hasn't it. Can't even see the Interstate icons any more, for instance! And too many pop-up boxes all over the place that hide actual map info.

    Is Maps also under Cue? (What about Siri?). 
    Maps and Siri are under Cue. Everyone knows I'm not a big fan of Eddy Cue. I think Cook should hire a new SVP to take over iCloud, Siri and Maps. Give Jennifer Bailey complete control of Apple Pay (and maybe have her report directly to Cook) and move Eddy Cue to LA to focus 100% Apple Music and Apple TV. Oh and task him with busing up the disaster that iTunes has become. It's pretty bad when an AppleCare phone rep admits to me that iTunes is too complicated and does too much.
    Cue is so way past his sell-by date. I truly wish, for Apple's sake, that he will just cash in and leave. Apple desperately needs some new blood in its senior decision-making ranks, especially on the software side. 

    Don't get me started on the pos that is iTunes. It's starting to make Windows look good...
    Yes I'd like to see him gone too but for whatever reason he seems to be well liked inside the company so I don't see him going anywhere. My suggesting is just giving him the stuff he's most comfortable with. I trust Craig more on the software side but there's no way he can own all of Apple's operating systems plus all of their cloud services. And we haven't even talked about other software like iWork, Logic, Final Cut etc. Poach someone really good from Amazon, Google or Microsoft to run Apple's cloud/AI/ML efforts. It's not going to get where it needs to be under Eddy Cue that's for sure.
    I thought I read somewhere that Apple actually uses or used AWS.   Maybe they should get someone from there to put in charge of iCloud, SIRI, and MAPS.

    They also need to restore to be able to do more hardware/software development in parallel.

  • Reply 60 of 155
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,214member

    I was praying to the God in Hades that this was a DED article. Now I can sit down and have an enjoyable time reading it.
    Because it will tell you what you want to hear? Even Ben Bajarin, normally very bullish on Apple was worried about the lack of Apple love at CES. Outside of iPhone cases/chargers the only real Apple presence was companies providing solutions for the ports Apple removed on the new Macs. Siri and HomeKit aren't dominating anything.
    CES 2017 has been a dumpster fire.  The only thing i've been wowed by have been paper thin 65" OLED screens.  Home Automation crapped the bed.  Nest hasn't made a significant advance in two years.  Netgear delivered a baby monitor (????) . Samsung wanted to flog overpriced Fridges with embedded TV more than SmartThings.  

    Basically people have screamed "I work with Alexa" because nothing of note came out that pushed us forward.  The think CES is rapidly becoming irrelevant to many companies who don't need it to create buzz. 
    Clearly Alexa is just the latest thing the tech community has decided to hype. Last year it was bots and any tech company not all in on bots was doomed. BUT when someone like Ben Bajarin expresses concerns about HomeKit and Apple's presence in general at CES I get worried. He's typical bullish on Apple and if he's hearing concerns from 3rd party vendors that's a problem. One of Apple's strengths is it's ecosystem. If there are cracks in the ecosystem that's not good.
    Apple has been coasting on the lead that the A series chips and the original iOS operating system gave them with the early phones.

    Just look at the Cameras in the phone.   The dual camera in the 7+ is innovative, but the camera in the regular 7 is an also ran behind Galaxy S7 and Pixel.    Can you image how bad this last quarter would have been if the Note 7 wasn't exploding.   Otherwise nothing special (other than taking away the headphone jack).

    Now to hype up interest in the iPhone 7S or 8 we have rumors of Wireless charging and OLED screens which Samsung has long had.    How about Fast charging?  Either  overhaul lightning or switch everything to USB-C so that it can charge faster.   (Apple would impress me it they added USB-Charging but still included lightning for charging and audio.    

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