Mar 14, 2018

Apple's Siri Department Has Been Faced Internal Struggles, Leadership Moves, And Mistakes

According to The Information's newly-published report, which Apple's Siri have transformed from the company's most promising technologies into a major problem, and rushed through Siri's development. The article also included interviews from former Apple employees who worked on the various teams responsible for the virtual assistant.

Image Credit CNET

Multiple people told The Information that Apple "rushed Siri into the iPhone 4s before this technology was fully baked," resulting in several internal debates over whether to continue patching up the half-baked product or start from scratch.

Siri's various teams morphed into an unwieldy apparatus that engaged in petty turf battles and heated arguments over what an ideal version of Siri should be—a quick and accurate information fetcher or a conversant and intuitive assistant capable of complex tasks.

Interestingly, Siri team apparently didn't even learn the HomePod until 2015. Bloomberg News reported that Apple had developed several speaker prototypes dating back to 2012, but the Siri team presumably didn't know due to Apple's culture of secrecy, which means Apple had originally considered launching the speaker without Siri.

In a sign of how unprepared Apple was to deal with a rivalry, two Siri team members told The Information that their team didn't even learn about Apple’s HomePod project until 2015—after Amazon unveiled the Echo in late 2014. One of Apple’s original plans was to launch its speaker without Siri included, according to a source.

Also, the leadership of Siri appears to be very fraught with conflicts, moving through many different managers since 2011, many of the key projects has been disagreed by the team, resulting in the Siri division lacking focus and vision. There were also disputes between the natural language and search departments.

Apple has provided a statement in response to today's report and saying Siri is "the world's most popular voice assistant" and has "significant advances" to the assistant's performance, scalability, and reliability.

"We have made significant advances in Siri performance, scalability and reliability and have applied the latest machine learning techniques to create a more natural voice and more proactive features," Apple wrote in its statement. "We continue to invest deeply in machine learning and artificial intelligence to continually improve the quality of answers Siri provides and the breadth of questions Siri can respond to."

Here's the link for the full-length article that discovering Siri's long history and Siri's internal struggles and shortcomings.

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