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Newsletter Issue #861: What About Siri on Steroids?

Ever since Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant, debuted in the iPhone 4s in 2011, it has been both a source of amusement and extreme frustration. While Apple’s TV ads, which often feature such notables as Samuel L. Jackson, depict Siri obediently responding to one’s commands, it doesn’t always play out that way in the real world.

Under regular use by people who aren’t trained performers, Siri wasn’t quite that responsive — or accurate. Even today, when I request that Siri set an alarm for a specific time, it sometimes gets “AM” or “PM” reversed. And that’s the least of it. In the meantime, competitors have arisen. So we have Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana that are being offered as comparable — or even better — than Siri.

To be fair, Siri’s original release was quietly and properly labeled as a beta, and it showed. Even though Siri has grown better with each release, and now delivers a more well-rounded feature set, it’s still evidently limited by the fact that Apple isn’t in the business of gathering personal information about you. That’s one key reason, say the critics, that Google Now is superior. Remember, with Google, you are the product they are selling to their advertisers. Apple has assured you that they will do no such thing.

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