Apple's Siri-based Echo competitor rumored to borrow design cues from Mac Pro, could arriv...

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  • Reply 21 of 86
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,425member
    paxman said:
    Soli said:

    I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to home automation. I have a vision of a device sitting there, never used. I can see the practicality of being able to switch off all the lights in the house from my bed, but at the same time, as I make my way upstairs I don't mind lifting my arm and flicking a switch. Besides, the cost of leaving a light burning for one night is negligible these days with LED's. In a similar way I see most of the home tasks I perform as not too much trouble to do analogue. That said, I am also interested. I like the idea, I guess. So, what is it that you do that makes your Echo 'amazing and useful'? What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 

    You should be a skeptic because a lot of people selling the dream of Home Automation get confused.   In an ideal HA environment you don't need to bark commands at a speaker.   Your lights should come on based on a preset schedule or your motion.  Doors should lock/unlock based on proximity of authorized users or after a specified amount of time.  Fans or windows should open with the VOC level in a home reaches unsafe levels.  Water mains should shut off if there's a leak detected in your laundry room, basement or kitchen.   Garage doors should shut after a specified time.    

    HA done right to me is a dynamic system that I don't have to micro-manage.   Right now the industry is still in the "toy" phase.  "hey look I can do xyz with my voice" but that's not the power of HA. Voice is just one input out of many and it's appropriate in some places and in-appropriate in others. 

    These things fun..my young boys love watching the lamps turn colors and my wife loves not having to get up and flip a switch.  
    randominternetpersonfastasleeplostkiwi
  • Reply 22 of 86
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,286member
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    Lost most credibility when you complain that Siri doesn't work while your offline. Siri as well as every other service doing the like offloads all the instructions to their server.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 86
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Soli said:

    "Alexa, how many grams equal a half cup of flour?"

    The last time I talked about Echo someone on this forum said that a real cook would know how the answers to any measurement question without asking.
    Yeah well. That's like the whole 'pro' discussion. You are a 'real' cook if you're in the kitchen making food, in my book :)
    Solijohntwolfffastasleeplostkiwibonobob
  • Reply 24 of 86
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,337member
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    I set reminders, choose songs and send text messages while driving through Siri using my watch regularly without the issues you mention? In my experience Background noise is a big intereference when speaking to Siri. I am not saying it's perfect but it can and does work better than what you described. At least in my experience. 
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 86
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member

    Soli said:
    Explanations above....
    Explanations above
    Thanks. Useful. 
    Soli
  • Reply 26 of 86
    Soli said:

    The last time I talked about Echo someone on this forum said that a real cook would know how the answers to any measurement question without asking.
    And I was told that a real cook was someone who would come back from the ER with his hand bandaged, and finish the second seating.

     :) 
    fastasleepRayz2016
  • Reply 27 of 86
    Instead of mesh speaker cover for the tall cylindrical Echo competitor, I'd love to see Apple pay homage to the perforated aluminum "cheese grater" design of the old Mac Pro. 
  • Reply 28 of 86
    paxman said:
    Soli said:

    I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to home automation. I have a vision of a device sitting there, never used. I can see the practicality of being able to switch off all the lights in the house from my bed, but at the same time, as I make my way upstairs I don't mind lifting my arm and flicking a switch. Besides, the cost of leaving a light burning for one night is negligible these days with LED's. In a similar way I see most of the home tasks I perform as not too much trouble to do analogue. That said, I am also interested. I like the idea, I guess. So, what is it that you do that makes your Echo 'amazing and useful'? What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 

    You should be a skeptic because a lot of people selling the dream of Home Automation get confused.   In an ideal HA environment you don't need to bark commands at a speaker.   Your lights should come on based on a preset schedule or your motion.  Doors should lock/unlock based on proximity of authorized users or after a specified amount of time.  Fans or windows should open with the VOC level in a home reaches unsafe levels.  Water mains should shut off if there's a leak detected in your laundry room, basement or kitchen.   Garage doors should shut after a specified time.    

    HA done right to me is a dynamic system that I don't have to micro-manage.   Right now the industry is still in the "toy" phase.  "hey look I can do xyz with my voice" but that's not the power of HA. Voice is just one input out of many and it's appropriate in some places and in-appropriate in others. 

    These things fun..my young boys love watching the lamps turn colors and my wife loves not having to get up and flip a switch.  
    Very well said.  Personally I don't like voice commands at all.  I don't like using them when I'm home alone and I certainly don't when I'm walking down a street with strangers around.  Hopefully if/when Apple get into this space it won't just be "Siri in a cylinder with a better mic."
    pscooter63
  • Reply 29 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    paxman said:
    Soli said:

    I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to home automation. I have a vision of a device sitting there, never used. I can see the practicality of being able to switch off all the lights in the house from my bed, but at the same time, as I make my way upstairs I don't mind lifting my arm and flicking a switch. Besides, the cost of leaving a light burning for one night is negligible these days with LED's. In a similar way I see most of the home tasks I perform as not too much trouble to do analogue. That said, I am also interested. I like the idea, I guess. So, what is it that you do that makes your Echo 'amazing and useful'? What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 

    You should be a skeptic because a lot of people selling the dream of Home Automation get confused.   In an ideal HA environment you don't need to bark commands at a speaker.   Your lights should come on based on a preset schedule or your motion.  Doors should lock/unlock based on proximity of authorized users or after a specified amount of time.  Fans or windows should open with the VOC level in a home reaches unsafe levels.  Water mains should shut off if there's a leak detected in your laundry room, basement or kitchen.   Garage doors should shut after a specified time.    

    HA done right to me is a dynamic system that I don't have to micro-manage.   Right now the industry is still in the "toy" phase.  "hey look I can do xyz with my voice" but that's not the power of HA. Voice is just one input out of many and it's appropriate in some places and in-appropriate in others. 

    These things fun..my young boys love watching the lamps turn colors and my wife loves not having to get up and flip a switch.  
    No argument here that this is all in its infancy, but I can't wrap my head around your statements with voice commands. Since we're talking about a personal digital assistant, and not just a smart thermostat, how will that work without your voice? How will it know what music I feel like listening to right now, or what an alarm/timer needs to be set for, or what random question I want answered? Even on Star Trek they still said "Computer…" because barking a command, as a you put it, is still a practical tool.

    I can imagine some things getting much more intelligent, like the system being able to look at your calendar entries and location, and then ompare that to previous alarms and your typical wake/sleep schedule to determine an alarm to set but it would still need to verify with the user to be sure.

    If it saves you time to make a short statement over having to type a bunch of icons on a device and then type or use a scroll wheel to set, then why would you choose the route that takes longer and requires more effort? For example, I use my iPhone's Clock app all the time and yet I have no idea where the icon is located on the home screen. It's just much easier to "bark" at Siri to set a timer when I putting coins in a meter. With Calendar, I know where that app is and I read it often, but I only ever write my entries when using my Mac; on the iPhone I use Siri because it's faster and easier.

    Niggling point: You "bark" the command at the microphone, not the speaker.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 30 of 86
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    I agree completely. Siri is incredibly frustrating to use. I try to use it all the time, but only find a limited set of things it's reliable for (messages, reminders, alarms). Of course, none of the things that siri sucks at are really that big of a deal by themselves, so it's very hard to come up with a list of specific examples (although I have tried in past posts). It's just ridiculous at this point that from the onset Siri was supposed to understand context, rather than just rote voice commands, yet, after pioneering the voice assistant interface 6 years ago, Siri still fails at doing most basic tasks and rote commands! Apple has added some additional functions/info, but the core functionality seems to still be very lacking.

    On a positive note, I just set up some Hue lights, and they work like a charm with siri, even from my Apple Watch (e.g. "Siri, turn my kitchen lights blue.").

    OT: I debated for a while how to set up my home lights, and I think I've found a great solution based on my initial test run: using hue lights, assigning them to different battery powered remote control switches, leaving my original light switches permanently turned on, putting a covering over the original light switches (for aesthetics and so guests don't try to use them) and placing the hue switches/remotes over that covering. That keeps things simple, functional (can use switch or siri), and I don't have to mess with any wiring.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 31 of 86
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,617member
    paxman said:

    What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 
    In our house, with Insteon switches and dimmers throughout:

    While typing in manuscript: 

    "Alexa, what is the forecast for Beaverton?"
    "Alexa, set Rainy Day Lighting ON"

    While chopping:

    "Alexa, play Jazz"
    "Alexa, how many grams equal a half cup of flour?"
    "Alexa, set kitchen to 68 degrees."
    "Alexa, set timer to 8 minutes"
    "Alexa, reorder glutten-free pasta"

    While carrying dinner to wife on sofa:

    "Alexa, set Watch TV ON"

    While washing up:

    "Alexa, set Reading Time ON"

    While lying in bed:

    "Alexa, play Rain Forest Sounds"
    "Alexa, stop"
    "Alexa, set Overnight Lights ON"
    "Alexa, set an alarm for 6 AM"

    Later, in the dark:

    "Alexa, turn Bathroom Lights ON"
    "Alexa, turn Bathroom Lights OFF"
    "Alexa, add toilet paper to shopping..."

    Me, I'd much prefer to say Siri... and have the Sonos sound system throughout the house play, rather than the Echo.
    If I lived in the same house as you, you would be trying to pull the Amazon echo out of your ass.  Imagine listening to all of that inane shit every day...
    randominternetpersonfastasleepmacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 32 of 86
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    The device is said to feature support for Siri and AirPlay, and will include Beats speaker technology.
    Fine.  Whatever.  People who don't have iPhones or iPads or  Watches might use that.

    But hey, Apple, don't force me to buy a Siri mini-tower just to get AirPort Wi-Fi and Time Capsule functionality.
    If you do that to me, it's bye-bye AirPort, hello eero.
  • Reply 33 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    sockrolid said:
    The device is said to feature support for Siri and AirPlay, and will include Beats speaker technology.
    Fine.  Whatever.  People who don't have iPhones or iPads or  Watches might use that.

    But hey, Apple, don't force me to buy a Siri mini-tower just to get AirPort Wi-Fi and Time Capsule functionality.
    If you do that to me, it's bye-bye AirPort, hello eero.
    How did you jump from an internet connected speaker with Siri support to replacing your wireless router and backup system?
  • Reply 34 of 86
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    "Such a device would allow the Siri personal assistant to have an omnipresence in a user's home". 

    Correction: ...omnipresence in a single room in a user's home. 

    I don't get the hype of Echo or Google Home. 
  • Reply 35 of 86
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 787member
  • Reply 36 of 86
    I hope they're planning on improving series intelligence, right now it's is dumb as a doorknob.
  • Reply 37 of 86
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Soli said:
    paxman said:
    Soli said:

    I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to home automation. I have a vision of a device sitting there, never used. I can see the practicality of being able to switch off all the lights in the house from my bed, but at the same time, as I make my way upstairs I don't mind lifting my arm and flicking a switch. Besides, the cost of leaving a light burning for one night is negligible these days with LED's. In a similar way I see most of the home tasks I perform as not too much trouble to do analogue. That said, I am also interested. I like the idea, I guess. So, what is it that you do that makes your Echo 'amazing and useful'? What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 

    You should be a skeptic because a lot of people selling the dream of Home Automation get confused.   In an ideal HA environment you don't need to bark commands at a speaker.   Your lights should come on based on a preset schedule or your motion.  Doors should lock/unlock based on proximity of authorized users or after a specified amount of time.  Fans or windows should open with the VOC level in a home reaches unsafe levels.  Water mains should shut off if there's a leak detected in your laundry room, basement or kitchen.   Garage doors should shut after a specified time.    

    HA done right to me is a dynamic system that I don't have to micro-manage.   Right now the industry is still in the "toy" phase.  "hey look I can do xyz with my voice" but that's not the power of HA. Voice is just one input out of many and it's appropriate in some places and in-appropriate in others. 

    These things fun..my young boys love watching the lamps turn colors and my wife loves not having to get up and flip a switch.  
    No argument here that this is all in its infancy, but I can't wrap my head around your statements with voice commands. Since we're talking about a personal digital assistant, and not just a smart thermostat, how will that work without your voice? How will it know what music I feel like listening to right now, or what an alarm/timer needs to be set for, or what random question I want answered? Even on Star Trek they still said "Computer…" because barking a command, as a you put it, is still a practical tool.

    I can imagine some things getting much more intelligent, like the system being able to look at your calendar entries and location, and then ompare that to previous alarms and your typical wake/sleep schedule to determine an alarm to set but it would still need to verify with the user to be sure.

    If it saves you time to make a short statement over having to type a bunch of icons on a device and then type or use a scroll wheel to set, then why would you choose the route that takes longer and requires more effort? For example, I use my iPhone's Clock app all the time and yet I have no idea where the icon is located on the home screen. It's just much easier to "bark" at Siri to set a timer when I putting coins in a meter. With Calendar, I know where that app is and I read it often, but I only ever write my entries when using my Mac; on the iPhone I use Siri because it's faster and easier.

    Niggling point: You "bark" the command at the microphone, not the speaker.
    The problem with technology becoming 'smarter' is that the more critical the decisions become the more the technology will err on the side of caution and need your verification. The future could be one where you are forever verifying or rejecting guesses that the intelligent service makes. Like 'auto correct' for living. I don't mind being reminded to stand every once in a while but I don't like being micro managed at all times. I always switch 99% of notifications off on all my devices. If my front door would always unlock when I arrive home, however, I'd absolutely love it and it would save me enormous amounts of time and frustration. :)
  • Reply 38 of 86
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,654member
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?
    I can.   I say "find pizza near me" (in Queens, NY) and it finds pizza places in California.  I tell it to map an address and instead of looking for the closest place with that address, it finds one far away.    It does work for phone dialing about 80% of the time.   It also frequently tells me that I have to unlock the phone before it will do anything.  What's the point of that?

    I think Apple's device has to look a lot better than the Mac Pro design.  Personally, I always thought the round Mac Pro looks both cheap and ugly.    I do like Stantheman's idea of a flexible OLED display.   Whatever Apple does, it has to work better than Alexa and it can't be underpowered on the first iteration as Apple frequently does.   Since Apple is coming to this market very late, this thing really has to work well and has to have clear and demonstrable advantages.   This is also one case where it can't be priced higher.   If this device does not blow people away, it's going to make Apple look like they've become Samsung or one more  Android clone phone maker.   As it is, Alexa will still have the advantage of being able to order things through it.   Apple's device should also act as a remote for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, AppleTV, etc.   It should support Apple Play so one could direct audio or video to another device, like a TV.   Maybe it should have a network hub built in.   It needs to be stereo (at least).  Maybe it has a camera and can be used to monitor, say, a baby's room.   Obviously, it needs to work with home automation devices.    Buying it should get you a ton of free content.  It's internal audio playback should support high resolution audio.   And I'm sure other people can think of many other creative uses of such a device.   Regardless, it needs to be far better than Alexa or it will be Apple's biggest failure. 
  • Reply 39 of 86
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,075member
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    I use Siri every day. It's very useful. I set calendar entries, play music, do general searches for random questions, ask for sports and movie info, reply to messages, and set reminders in some form or another every day.

    I have no idea what you could be doing wrong, but when you make a comment like "[Siri] does not even understand names in my Contacts properly," I'm not certain you know the difference between the Siri service and the HW that has to first record your audio before being converted to text and then analyzed, like with the limited microphone on the iPhone as compared to the Echo. Even between the Echo and Echo Dot, which also has a far-field mic setup, I can tell there's a difference in how clear I need to be for the two Echo products to properly understand me.

    If you're talking about German as per your Borussia Dortmund reference, that's a language I've never tested. Siri's AI might not be as advanced for the language, there could be structural issues with the language that make it harder to parse, or more dialects to contend with that make it harder to be universal. I can only talk about speaking American English.


    PS: I only watched the first part of that video and that could be what the mic is picking up, but it's likely an ongoing issue with Maps intelligence—which isn't about Siri. Maps has a way or picking an incorrect location thousands of miles away even when typing it in.
    Whether Siri, Maps, or something with the hardware,  this video illustrates why Apple shouldn't be developing a car.   Maps and Siri have been out for five years or more - Apple really needs to get the basics working first.   The thought of riding in an Apple controlled car is frightening.
  • Reply 40 of 86
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,417member
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?
    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.

    I use Siri every day.

    "Siri, add coffee to Shopping list" (adds to list in Reminders)
    "Siri, remind me to pay rent when I get home" (reminder pops up when I hit the geofence around my house)
    "Siri, where can I get sushi around here?"
    "Siri, take me home." (opens up Maps with directions to my house from my current location)
    "Siri, set timer 15 minutes"
    etc

    You can teach Siri how to pronounce your contacts' names, and in some cases their relationship to you, Perhaps that might help.

    You may also need to work on your phrasing, if you're having trouble getting the full request understood in some cases. Your Calendar request, "please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday" is wayyyy too wordy — appointment, calendar, and meeting are all redundant; you're obviously confusing it. Just say "Schedule a meeting with Susan 8am Thursday". Keep it simple.

    Read some of the documentation out there to get a better idea of what you can do and how you should phrase it, if you're having trouble:
    https://techranker.net/how-to-use-siri-siri-commands-list-questions-to-ask-siri-app/
    edited April 2017 macpluspluspscooter63hmurchisonwatto_cobra
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