Apple wants to end “Hey!”
According to the company, Siri is being trained to recognize commands and not need to use the prompt phrase “Hey Siri” for the first half. This trigger phrase is used to launch Siri in various products including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, and Apple Watch.
Experts believe that although the update is minor, it could signal larger changes and require more artificial intelligence training. ABI Research’s research director Lian Jye said that having two trigger words helps the system recognize requests more accurately, so moving to one word would be a benefit to an advanced AI system.
Su explained that the system compares the voice command with the model it has been trained to recognize. “Siri is shorter than “Hey Siri”, which gives the system potentially fewer comparison points and a higher error rate when there is wind or in noisy, echo-y environments.
This would allow Apple to catch up with Amazon’s “Alexa”, prompt, which doesn’t require a wake word. In 2018, Microsoft removed “Hey Cortana”, and now allows users to say only “Cortana”, on their smart speakers. For most Google product requests, however, “OK Google”, is still required.
Apple, Amazon, and Google have been working together on the Matter of automation standards. This will allow different manufacturers of automation and Internet of Things devices to work together.
This is why James Sanders, principal analyst at CCS Insight market research firm, stated that “redoubling efforts to improve Siri functionality is likely to be a priority at Apple.”
Siri was launched in February 2010, as an iOS standalone app, in the Apple App Store. The tech giant then acquired it two months later. Siri was then integrated into the iPhone 4S. It was released in April 2010. In 2014, Siri could be used to simply say “Hey Siri”, without touching any buttons.
Siri’s integration with third-party developers has made it smarter over time, including ride-hailing and payment applications, as well as supporting follow-up questions and languages. It still has problems understanding people and incorrectly responding.
Sanders stated that while the “Hey Siri” change is a significant effort, it would not surprise Apple only announced this change to Siri. Given the timing of this rumored change, I expect it to be packaged with other new or enhanced functionality for Siri. Perhaps with a new model HomePod and integrations via Matter with other smart home devices. This would also serve as an introduction to Apple’s voice assistant.