iPhone 5, 2012 Macs May Feature Improved Siri

A thin rumor is suggesting that the iPhone 5 and other Mac devices could see a substantial improvement in Siri in 2012. While the rumor has little credibility, the theory behind it makes a lot of sense.

In spite of the fact that the iPhone 4S has suffered through some moderately bad press surrounding its battery performance, the overall reaction has been positive, thanks in large part to Siri. While some have suggested that Siri is a “lite” version of the rumored and more robust “Assistant” that was said to be a main feature of the scapped 2011 iPhone 5, there is no doubt that in Siri, iPhone users have adapted to a new mode of mobile computing that seems very much in line with the evolution away from traditional computing.

Now, a new rumor suggests that Apple is working to further advance Siri in 2012, which could mean that the 2012 release of the iPhone 5 will have the much more powerful and versatile “Assistant” that many were hoping for.

According to InvestorPlace, citing a report from 9to5Mac claiming that new Apple job posts for Siri: “Both jobs mention someone with strong programming skills to improve Siri’s user interface, meaning Siri could be getting a facelift. Additionally, the listings mention that applicants must be familiar with a number of programming languages and platforms, “especially Mac OS X,” the operating system used in Apple’s desktop PCs. This may mean that Apple’s personal assistant is making the jump from iPhone to Mac.”

We should learn from the past when putting too much credence in job postings as definitive evidence of iPhone releases and features: there were job posting-related iPhone 5 stories all throughout the Summer of 2011 that proved to be false. Given the general verbiage of these job postings, it really remains to be seen if they are specifically heralding the advancement of Siri — especially considering that the team who developed Siri would ostensibly still be working at Cupertino and would have the capabilities of making it better for the iPhone 5 and beyond.

All of this being said, there is some logic behind the notion of Siri getting better and better with each passing year.

Back on October 28th, I wrote a related article, suggesting that, with Siri, Apple has covertly gotten into the search engine business, taking on Google with its own new search engine — Siri. If this is proving to be true, then it would make sense that Siri would evolve over time, just as Google’s own search algorithm has evolved from year to year. As I mentioned in my previous post, Siri is in effect more complex than Google’s search engine technology, since it doesn’t have the benefit of working with text as its user-defined source content. Instead, it has to first interpret voice, and discern what we are actually saying before converting it into a text query and fetching an accurate result.

But for as complex and daunting as the evolution of Siri may be, it’s a good gamble for Apple.

Apple would be so far behind in competing with Google in search that it would be almost as fruitless as Google’s own efforts to compete in social networking over the past decade or so. Instead, with Siri, Apple has jumped ahead of Google in betting on search becoming predominantly mobile and voice driven. If Cupertino is successful in mainstreaming voice control for mobile devices, then their Siri could become the new Google over the next decade.

To be fair, Google is not as far behind in mobile voice recognition as it may seem. Android already has a basic voice recognition engine built into it. but its ability to fetch and assist the user is still nothing like Siri.

It will be interesting to see if 2012 features a host of Android smartphones attempting to match Siri, and if the iPhone 5 rolls out something that it light years away from what Android reveals.



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