In the latest Siri ad featuring Martin Scorsese, Apple presents another idealized version of the bot ("Sequences shortened"), attempting to prove it really is the robotic personal assistant of the future. Since Siri's rave reviews when announced last November the personal assistant has lost its luster. Though some of that had to do with an abortion "glitch," a lot of it had to do with performance issues. Siri just doesn't work that well. Looking to address that consumer concern -- a concern that might turn people away from what some called the phones namesake -- this commercial shows Siri handling those problems just fine.
How Siri Works in Real Life: The personal assistant doesn't hear very well. The New York Times's Nick Bilton cited that as one reason his romance sourced with the bot. "We have had some major communication issues. She frequently misunderstands what I’m saying," he wrote, pointing to a broader analysis that found Siri only heard speakers 83 percent of the time on a busy street. Mat Honan writing for Gizmodo experienced similar issues. "Siri's most common reply to me is that "it didn't quite get that," he wrote.
How Siri Works for Scorsese: Scorsese sits in a presumably noisy cab in New York City traffic, rattling off speedy requests. Siri doesn't miss once. She never says "I'm not sure what you said there," or any other canned Siri does not compute responses.
How Siri Works in Real Life: Sometimes Siri thinks it hears things right, but gives the wrong answer. That same analysis Bilton cited found that the bot only gave the right answer 62 percent of the time on a busy street. Others, like Fast Company's David Zax, have complained that it has a hard time with accents, an issue that spawned its own YouTube meme.
How Siri Works for Scorsese: Scorsese has a slight New York twang and again, talks very fast at the phone. Yet, the bot responds just right.
How Siri Works in Real Life: Users have blamed this unfinished status for some of Siri's kinks, believing Apple misled them with the work in progress product. Honan spent a good amount of time griping about it, too.
I'm sorry. Beta? Beta is for Google. When Apple does a public beta, it usually keeps it out of the hands of the, you know, public. It typically makes you go get betas. It doesn't force them on you, much less advertise them. Not that it is an effective disclaimer for the vast buying public. For most people who see Apple's ads, and buy iPhones, the word beta means nothing at all. It might be a fish, or a college bro.
How Siri Works for Scorsese: In the very last of the clip he makes a nod at that beta status, saying "I like you Siri, you're going places." Since Siri works great for him, he finds the possible evolution t something even greater inspiring. Perhaps this is where Apple is telling the audience: Stick with it, it gets better.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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