Apple works on waking Siri without the 'Hey'

Posted:
in iOS edited November 2022
It could become a lot easier to summon Siri in the future, with Apple's engineers said to be preparing to shorten the "Hey Siri" trigger phrase to just the assistant's name.

Siri
Siri


All Apple device users are familiar with calling out "Hey Siri" before making a verbal request. While uttering two words at an iPhone is simple enough, Apple wants to reduce the effort by cutting it down to just one word: "Siri."

Apple engineers are working on the problem, which may seem simple enough to accomplish, but actually has a lot of things to consider. According to Mark Gurman in the "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg, the effort requires considerable retraining of the AI as well as "underlying engineering work" to get it done.

Part of the problem is that it requires not only teaching Siri to understand its own name, but doing so for all languages, accents, and dialects. Furthermore, it is considerably easier for a voice recognition system to correctly detect a longer phrase that it is actively seeking out than a short single word made up of two similar-sounding syllables.

By contrast, the three-syllable "Alexa" wakeword is easier to detect due to its length and variance of syllable sounds.

Successfully shortening the wake phrase to just "Siri" will give Apple a big advantage over other digital assistant producers, just from the ease of triggering. Its main rival Google still relies on the phrases "OK Google" and "Hey Google," and would also face the same sort of issues as Apple does in making a similar change, though it has worked to shorten to "Google" for follow-up requests.

Work is ongoing, but may still take some time before it rolls out to the public. It has been tested internally by employees for a few months, in order to collect training data.

It is reckoned that Hey-less Siri could surface later in 2023, or in early 2024.

Part of the slow progress could be due to Apple's strong commitment to user privacy, which has previously impacted the development of new features for Siri.

Shortening the trigger phrase is not the only development Apple is undertaking with its digital assistant. Apple is also claimed to be trying to open up Siri to work better with third-party apps and services, making it a more ubiquitous assistant with further reach.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,691member
    Seriously, don't do this, Apple.

    Because, I've had seriously trigger her, and I hate that.

    edited November 2022 Anilu_777marklarkwilliamlondonilarynxlolliverelijahgbeowulfschmidtbaconstang
  • Reply 2 of 37
    eriamjh said:
    Seriously, don't do this, Apple.

    Because, I've had seriously trigger her, and I hate that.

    Disable hey siri then.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 37
    Hey-less Google would be easier to do than Hay-less Siri. The syllables are clearer and the sound is more unique with Google. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 37
    eriamjh said:
    Seriously, don't do this, Apple.

    Because, I've had seriously trigger her, and I hate that.

    That’s what I was thinking. Problem with “Alexa” is that the TV triggers it all the time. I can see this happening too.
    lolliverbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 37
    Please don’t.
    I get enough random Siri activations as it is.
    You want to do something to improve Siri?  Get her/him/it to start understanding contextually what we are asking.  So tired of the “here is what I found …” to basic inquiries.
    Anilu_777marklarkwilliamlondonilarynxlolliverappleinsideruserentropysbaconstang
  • Reply 6 of 37
    When Jobs introduced Siri he said it’s going to be a conversational AI assistant. I know it could be hard to do, but it’s been 10 years! Siri had a huge head start, it should be better than the competition in every way. 
    williamlondonlolliverdewmeScot1entropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 37
    rhonin said:
    Please don’t.
    I get enough random Siri activations as it is.
    You want to do something to improve Siri?  Get her/him/it to start understanding contextually what we are asking.  So tired of the “here is what I found …” to basic inquiries.
    Conversational context without trigger words would be nice as well. "Siri, what's the population of the US" "What about Canada?"
    Anilu_777marklarkilarynxbloggerbloglolliverelijahgentropysStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 37
    When Jobs introduced Siri he said it’s going to be a conversational AI assistant. I know it could be hard to do, but it’s been 10 years! Siri had a huge head start, it should be better than the competition in every way. 
    While Apple may have appeared to have a bit of a head start, Google had the advantage in most ways over Apple. The foundation that Google could build their assistant off of came from their work with predictive search, scanning the worlds books, digitizing and cataloging everything else, and all the work done with targeted, personalized ads. All Apple had as a potential base to build off of was, IMO, finder. Apple’s business model and all their learnings over the years are not very transferable to the creation of a voice assistant; Google’s (and Amazon’s and even Meta’s) are transferable. Using this as a potential predictive model; if one knew Microsoft’s business model, could they have predicted where they would fall in advancement of Cortana? I would say yes. Microsoft did try to pivot a bit with the release of Bing, but they were over a decade behind Google in Search. 

    I use Siri daily, and while she has gotten better, the more proficient and comfortable I am becoming with speaking my thoughts instead of taking the slower time of typing them down, the more aggravating it is as I hit up against more boundaries of her abilities. I do hope that the work that they have been doing with Maps and Siri suggested search results starts to expand Siri’s portfolio. Luckily for Apple, I really don’t know what I am missing, yet, as I am invested in their ecosystem and most of my immediate and extended family and friend groups are too. Those that are using Android, are not using Okay Google in any meaningful way either. But for how much longer… I do hope Apple steps up their game in this area and soon too. Perhaps the release of a significant upgrade will be coincided with the release of their AR headset? 🤷‍♂️🤞

    Cheers.
    Anilu_777ilarynxlolliverdesignrentropysAppleZuluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 37
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,647member
    I would rather be able to replace the words "Hey Siri" with my own words. Maybe...

    • Hey Computer (reminds me of a scene in IT Crowd)
    • Hey There
    • Hey Dude
    • Hey Servant
    • Hey You
    • Hey Jude
    • Hideyho
    • Hey Zeus (bit of a pun there, if you are a theist)
    • Hey Arnold!

    marklarkdewme
  • Reply 9 of 37
    Another good example of Apple working at the wrong end. Apple - forget about the Hey Siri bit and make Siri better at understanding the context of the interchange.. Siri should be a good assistant in the car but she gives every answer except the correct one. Asking Siri to ‘try again’ is a good way of having  road rage against your iPhone. 
    Anilu_777marklarkwilliamlondondewmeentropyslukei
  • Reply 11 of 37
    I use Siri all the time all day. Doing without saying hey, is a lot less important to me than having Apple bring back Siri’s ability to search photos for objects, dates and locations and other functions that I used all day  I used to have her read my notifications to me , while I get dressed, etc. That was the function I used every day and now in IPadOS  it is gone. I don’t understand why Apple keeps taking away, important functions and leaving us with silly things like taking away the “hey” in hey  Siri. Useless. Am I missing something that was announced? Is there a way to get her to continue reading notifications like she did in iPadOS 15? I’m not one of these people who thinks Siri needs to be as good as Google assistant or Alexa. But for goodness sake, stop taking away the functions that it was doing, and that guy, as an elderly person depend on every day.
    Anilu_777marklarkScot1baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 37
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,691member
    eriamjh said:
    Seriously, don't do this, Apple.

    Because, I've had seriously trigger her, and I hate that.

    Disable hey siri then.
    I use her all the time, otherwise, so... no.  Not the answer.
    williamlondonelijahglolliver
  • Reply 13 of 37
    I wonder if it would be possible for Apple to let us choose which version of Siri we would like to have on our devices. You could, for example choose Siri one or Siri two, one of which would be able to delve into our devices, and perhaps risk our privacy just a little. If Apple keeps taking away features because they’ve decided that they aren’t good for privacy very well. Let us make the choice as we do on so many aspects of our devices. I want privacy, but I also, as I said, before, as an elderly person, really appreciate Siri being able to do more things for me. I’d like for Siri to be able to tell me the pollen count and type for example, based on my location.  Location services is a feature  I choose to turn on so Siri could be more helpful. I’m getting pretty frustrated with the features being taken away. Another example is that I used to be able to have Siri add something to a note. It no longer can do that. If Apple chooses to take away features, they ought to let us know that they are gone and not have us keep trying to figure out what we’re doing wrong.
    williamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 14 of 37
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    eriamjh said:
    Seriously, don't do this, Apple.

    Because, I've had seriously trigger her, and I hate that.

    That’s what I was thinking. Problem with “Alexa” is that the TV triggers it all the time. I can see this happening too.
    Interesting. I have the opposite problem…my HomePod Mini’s are triggered by the tv on a daily basis while it has never happened even once with my Echo Shows. 


    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 37
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    When Jobs introduced Siri he said it’s going to be a conversational AI assistant. I know it could be hard to do, but it’s been 10 years! Siri had a huge head start, it should be better than the competition in every way. 
    While Apple may have appeared to have a bit of a head start, Google had the advantage in most ways over Apple. The foundation that Google could build their assistant off of came from their work with predictive search, scanning the worlds books, digitizing and cataloging everything else, and all the work done with targeted, personalized ads. All Apple had as a potential base to build off of was, IMO, finder. Apple’s business model and all their learnings over the years are not very transferable to the creation of a voice assistant; Google’s (and Amazon’s and even Meta’s) are transferable. Using this as a potential predictive model; if one knew Microsoft’s business model, could they have predicted where they would fall in advancement of Cortana? I would say yes. Microsoft did try to pivot a bit with the release of Bing, but they were over a decade behind Google in Search. 

    I use Siri daily, and while she has gotten better, the more proficient and comfortable I am becoming with speaking my thoughts instead of taking the slower time of typing them down, the more aggravating it is as I hit up against more boundaries of her abilities. I do hope that the work that they have been doing with Maps and Siri suggested search results starts to expand Siri’s portfolio. Luckily for Apple, I really don’t know what I am missing, yet, as I am invested in their ecosystem and most of my immediate and extended family and friend groups are too. Those that are using Android, are not using Okay Google in any meaningful way either. But for how much longer… I do hope Apple steps up their game in this area and soon too. Perhaps the release of a significant upgrade will be coincided with the release of their AR headset? 🤷‍♂️🤞

    Cheers.
    I really hope you’re right about this. Because it honestly feels like Apple is holding many things back until their AR release. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 37
    But Apple has two devices out that are almost totally dependent on salary. The HomePod, and to a large extent the Apple Watch. Unless a person has really good eyesight, you need to use Siri to do many things on the watch. I don’t think it’s a new AR/VR device is going to make any difference. But I truly hope I’m wrong. 
    williamlondonelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 37
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 252member
    I really couldn't care either way. I'd be happy if they just keep trying to improve Siri.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 37
    eriamjh said:
    Seriously, don't do this, Apple.

    Because, I've had seriously trigger her, and I hate that.

    That’s what I was thinking. Problem with “Alexa” is that the TV triggers it all the time. I can see this happening too.
    Sometimes I talk out loud when no one else is around and I just did the same thing just now reading this article. I said the name Alexa very softly and I looked up to see that my Ecobee heard me from across the room. I noticed the animated Alexa graphic being triggered but nothing was said vs with Siri, I always hear some comment like “I didn’t get that” or something to that effect. So I think Alexa is better in that regard.
    williamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 19 of 37
    It’s another quote from the Apple bloggers “god,” Mark Gurman. It won’t happen. He’ll retract it once it’s found to be false to keep up his Apple “accuracy.” Such a useless source. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 37
    I‘d happily continue to use the „hey“ upfront, if i return…
    …Siri would be the same across all devices (watch, TV, HomePod, etc.)
    …it would significantly improve reliability and speed (esp. on HomePods - „check your Internet connection“ thank you pls)
    …finally I could mix two languages
    …small things such as gimme the bloody NEAREST location when I look up a place, not the one 3000 miles away
    …get shortcut integration right - it‘s hit and miss for me
    …allow for a more fluent conversation, including context, or multiple requests in one command, or stuff like „turn off all lights except …“
    …you know, make it work, sich that my wife doesn‘t always give me the look when I try to use Siri for something other than „how‘s the weather today“ (which btw yields different results than the weather app)
    elijahglolliverdewmebeowulfschmidt
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