Originally Siri was just a standalone app made for the iOS in early 2010 with its developers intending to later release versions for Android and BlackBerry. However Apple seeing its potential acted quickly by buying the app just two months after its release. On October 2011 Siri was released again as part of iOS on iPhone 4S and over the next few years Apple has expanded it to support subsequent iPhone models, iPad, Mac, AirPod and HomePod. AppleTV even received a separate Siri Remote. Siri quickly went from just an app on the app store to a key feature of all Apple devices. The competition followed suit with a range of similar personal assistants like Google Assistant or Alexa.
Siri is actually a voice recognition app that recognizes a wide variety of commands, searches for information and responds with answers with the voice of several voice actors. The real life original voice actors for Siri were recorded all the way back in 2005, without explicit knowledge what they were actually providing voice for. The original female voice was provided by American voice actress Susan Bennett and English television presenter Jon Briggs. With the expanding number of supported languages as well as the extensive implementation of artificial intelligence in iOS 11 Apple decided to search for new voices auditioning hundreds of new candidates to create a new text-to-speech voice based on deep learning technology. Siri also supports a growing number of languages from around the world including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.
Siri is activated by simply saying “Hey Siri” in the direction of the device. After being activated it can call, text, send emails, change device setting like turning on wi-fi or changing brightness, schedule appointments and answer a wide array of questions by searching the internet, such as checking the weather, directions or more specific information like what’s in TV or who won yesterday’s football game. Siri can also communicate with other iOS integrated applications, doing things like pausing or liking a song on Apple Music. Siri’s capabilities are constantly expanding, not only through iOS updates but also through third party apps after Apple opened up third-party developer access to Siri through a dedicated API in iOS 10.
In iOS 11 Apple further expanded Siri’s capabilities. It can now translate between languages as a start from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. Siri has also gotten a lot smarter, it can handle more complex commands, follow up questions and uses on-device learning to give you better suggestions by analyzing your preferences across various iOS devices. For example Siri will learn what topics or locations a user is usually interested in while using Safari, News, Messages and other apps. This will let it be more accurate when you ask about nearby restaurants or what movies are currently in theaters. After all Siri has to continue to evolve to stay relevant in the rapidly changing world of mobile devices.