Apple looking to expand role of Siri as an 'OS within an OS'

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is looking to hire user interface engineers to make "the next big thing even bigger," expanding the capabilities the company's Siri search assistant to new apps on iOS, and also, apparently, the company's desktop Mac platform.

Apple has posted a full time position that will "join the team that implements the UI for Siri," specifically the presentation of results in Siri's "conversation view" (as shown below for various existing apps that integrate with Siri).



The task involves a study of each new application or service that will interact with Siri, including a process to "distill it down to fundamentals, and implement that application's UI in a theme fitting with Siri."

Siri for Mac OS X coming soon?

Apple tells Siri UI engineer applicants to "consider it a an entire miniature OS within the OS, and you get a good idea of the scope."

Consider it a an entire miniature OS within the OS, and you get a good idea of the scopeCuriously, the job listing makes no direct mention of iOS, the most obvious target for Siri integration.

Apple brought Dictation features to OS X last year, but hasn't debuted full Siri functionality yet. It is expected to do so in the upcoming version due to be unveiled this summer.



Apple similarly brought Dictation features to iPad before releasing full Siri functionality in a subsequent release, suggesting a similar two-step deployment for Mac users.

However, the job listing also provides additional hints that the Siri team is working to deliver features for the Mac (in addition to just doing their development work on Macs). It calls for knowledge of Apple's APIs on both OS X and iOS and specifically asks for familiarity with the core of Mac OS X.

Finally, it lists as a requirement "passion for the Macintosh platform and writing simple, elegant software that is easy and fun to use."

iOS expansion calls for strong mobile skills

While moving Siri to the Mac seems like an obvious step, Apple job listing isn't just describing a port of the existing features to its desktops. It specifically describes a major expansion of Siri features in working with new apps to deliver a natural voice interface.

The listing describes close collaborative work with other teams that build apps, noting that "you'll need to work with them to enable access to their data and behaviors, and wire them up to your implementations. As a result, strong API design is needed to keep communication ideal."

Given the limited resources of mobile devices, we need to squeeze every last bit of performance we can getThe job asks for in depth development experience with either Apple's own Cocoa or "at least one of the following" other mobile platforms, specially naming Google's Android, Microsoft's C#, Oracle's Java and C++.

The job also specifically notes performance analysis and tuning as a significant responsibility," stating that "given the limited resources of mobile devices, we need to squeeze every last bit of performance we can get."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    Siri for OSX is going to make a whole bunch of people happy!

    Did you see that:
    AAPL - Apple Inc is going up nicely today: $390

    Good thing that's an old pic.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    That would be a big mistake. Two people generally cannot understand each other. To ask a device to understand someone better than a friend is asking more than the state of the art can deliver. These are boundaries which Apple & associates have no prospect of breaching any time soon. The user experience would be poor and reflect badly upon Apple.

    It is a worthy challenge for the next generation of Apple - not the current incumbents.

  • Reply 3 of 66


    Originally Posted by timmillea View Post

    That would be a big mistake. Two people generally cannot understand each other. To ask a device to understand someone better than a friend is asking more than the state of the art can deliver. 


     


    Uh, what? Siri understands language already. Why couldn't it perform tasks in OS X?

  • Reply 4 of 66


    I'm using Siri to do more and more. Lately, I've been using it to launch applications, instead of swiping through several screens and poking at an app.


     


    It would be very cool if Siri could open bookmarks saved to my homescreen. Anyway, I'll probably use it even more on the Mac. Can't wait.

  • Reply 5 of 66
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,797member
    To really improve Siri I think they could offer at least an optional learning tool like Dragon provides. They give you some text from books to read which trains the software to better understand your particular pronunciation of words. It is not mandatory but if you complete these modules the accuracy is vastly improved. With all the varieties and vagaries of pronouncing English it stands to reason that an optional training module might go a long way to really improve accuracy in Siri.

  • Reply 6 of 66
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member


    I'm probably the only person who thinks this, but I don't want to control devices by talking to them and would find it a purchase impediment if it were a ubiquitous requirement.

     

  • Reply 7 of 66
    Maybe this is the year that Apple will add an API for Siri?
  • Reply 8 of 66
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    I'm probably the only person who thinks this, but I don't want to control devices by talking to them and would find it a purchase impediment if it were a ubiquitous requirement.

     



     


    I tend to agree if the device is being used in public...I tend not to use Siri in public - but I'd love to use Siri with the Apple Remote app, on the rumored Applevision. 


     


    "Siri...find episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" from 2009"


     


    Siri is great when she doesn't time out on me.  I'd love to see them fix that first.

  • Reply 9 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by timmillea View Post



    That would be a big mistake. Two people generally cannot understand each other. To ask a device to understand someone better than a friend is asking more than the state of the art can deliver. These are boundaries which Apple & associates have no prospect of breaching any time soon. The user experience would be poor and reflect badly upon Apple.



    It is a worthy challenge for the next generation of Apple - not the current incumbents.

     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Uh, what? Siri understands language already. Why couldn't it perform tasks in OS X?



    It's interesting that to disagree with his post stating that two people generally cannot understand each other, you have to state that you don't understand him.

  • Reply 10 of 66


    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

    …would find it a purchase impediment if it were a ubiquitous requirement.


     


    It'll never be a requirement for use.

  • Reply 11 of 66
    Adding Siri seems to be the natural big thing for OS X 10.9
  • Reply 12 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    allenbf wrote: »
    Siri is great when she doesn't time out on me.  I'd love to see them fix that first.

    Speaking of that. If you have some free time (and don't mind starting your Siri server-side profile over again) you can turn off Siri and the voice command pre-Siri will work again for calling a contact, playing music, etc. When Siri is on these basic commands are all pushed server-side. There are a lot more options with this setup that a 1GHz ARM CPU can't handle but it's still annoying when you only want a simple task like two mentioned previously. Even with a strong single and LTE it will take longer to complete.

    I would love if Apple made the device smart enough to know when the request is simple enough to benefit from being local or to at least know when the server connection isn't good enough that commands it can do locally will get down if you can't make a proper connection to the backend. Am I asking for too much?
  • Reply 13 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    macapfel wrote: »
    Adding Siri seems to be the natural big thing for OS X 10.9

    Tim Cook on stage: "We were the company that brought the computer mouse to the world. Now we're the company that is taking it away. Introducing the first Mac that is completely controlled by your voice."

    Demo… "Move the cursor a little more to the right. A little bit more. Oh, that's too far. Now a little bit down. A little more. A little more. Now click."

    30 minutes later.

    Tim Cook back on stage: 'All that with the power of voice."
  • Reply 14 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Speaking of that. If you have some free time (and don't mind starting your Siri server-side profile over again) you can turn off Siri and the voice command pre-Siri will work again for calling a contact, playing music, etc. When Siri is on these basic commands are all pushed server-side. There are a lot more options with this setup that a 1GHz ARM CPU can't handle but it's still annoying when you only want a simple task like two mentioned previously. Even with a strong single and LTE it will take longer to complete.



    I would love if Apple made the device smart enough to know when the request is simple enough to benefit from being local or to at least know when the server connection isn't good enough that commands it can do locally will get down if you can't make a proper connection to the backend. Am I asking for too much?


    No, you're not asking too much. That needs to happen soon.

  • Reply 15 of 66
    thttht Posts: 3,231member


    I'd like to have these added to Siri:


     


    1. Keyboard entry mode. You can actually edit a Siri query by tapping on the query (after Siri responds), and a keyboard pops up, and you can edit away. The keyboard click sound is turned off though. I think to have a keyboard button pop up next to the Siri microphone after the long press of the home button.


     


    2. Training mode. I'd like some way to train Siri to understand what certain words, names, acronyms, initialisms, etc.


     


    3. Siri commands for apps. At least have Siri understand play, pause, skip forward/back, etc.

  • Reply 16 of 66
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 533member
    I'm sure there are hundreds of other ways to expand Siri functionality, but after using it for a few months I have 3 suggestions:

    1. I'd like to ask Siri "do not disturb me for 1 hour" - but all she does is offer to take me to the Do Not Disturb feature to turn it on myself.
    2. Siri should be able to learn names better. For instance, city names in my area are frequently misspelled when using dictation.
    3. The oft-mentioned API. I want to tell Siri "add butter to my grocery list" and it adds to my Grocery List app accordingly.
  • Reply 17 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post


     


    It's interesting that to disagree with his post stating that two people generally cannot understand each other, you have to state that you don't understand him.



    Reread timmilea's first paragraph; it's borderline-hieroglyphic, IMO. And, I do not agree that generally two people do not understand each other. Generally speaking, people do tend understand each other.

  • Reply 18 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    We're doing lists of 3 now….


    1) Don't take me into the OS and to Safari if you don't know. Allow Siri to pull up the WebKit engine (at least) from that interface. Regardless of other shortcomings of Google Play that one feature makes it look much better than Siri.

    2) Get with linguistic experts so users can repeat a carefully crafted paragraph in Settings and when you first register a new device so it can learn how you speak different sounds. Cultural and physical differences can highly affect how we say the same thing. The Canadians know what I'm talking [I]aboot[/I]. :D

    3) Give me another button on the phone to call Siri. For what is essentially an all digital concierge service having to hold down the Home Button for an extended time is not convenient. Right above the Mute toggle switch would be my preference.
  • Reply 19 of 66
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I would love if Apple made the device smart enough to know when the request is simple enough to benefit from being local or to at least know when the server connection isn't good enough that commands it can do locally will get down if you can't make a proper connection to the backend. Am I asking for too much?


     


    You're not asking for too much.  I think that's how Google's "Google Now" does it, right?  Decides if it's server side or local before executing?  I think I read that.


     


    I don't need 3 points of a Siri "wish list."  Only 1: I want Siri to be like Nina:


     


    http://www.youtube.com/embed/561SVPrf1YI?rel=0&autoplay=1&autohide=1

  • Reply 20 of 66
    solipsismx wrote: »
    We're doing lists of 3 now….


    The Canadians know what I'm talking aboot. :D

    I have no problem with people making fun of us Canadians, but no one here sounds like that! Maybe Newfoundland, but more often than not people doing "Canadian" accents end up sounding like Minnesotans !
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