Remember how annoying it is when “Hey Siri” accidentally triggers even though you’ve said nothing even remotely close to Hey Siri? Well, that might just be a problem of the past…or it might just get even worse, because apparently Apple’s planning on changing the “Hey Siri” trigger to just “Siri”.
Yes, this means that you would only need to say “Siri” then follow it with a command to get Apple’s virtual assistant to do what you want it to do. In theory, this makes it really simple, since it would cut the syllables down to just two, and it would sound a lot less silly when you have to repeat it multiple times because it doesn’t hear you. It also seems to sound a lot more natural to me, even though you’re technically removing the word that was probably designed to make it sound “human” among other things.
But there is of course the concern about how this will effect the reliability—after all, accidental triggers are problematic enough with the more complicated “Hey Siri”. Well, 9to5Mac reports that according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, this is a technical challenge for Apple and the company has already been working on this change for the past couple of months. Reportedly, it will take a significant amount of AI training and underlying engineering work, but Apple is already testing this change with its employees so that they can collect enough data especially when it comes to understanding accents and dialects.
This would, naturally, be a really big challenge for any AI or voice recognition software because let’s face it, in some parts of the world even a phonetically simple language like English barely sounds like English. I don’t imagine reducing the complexity of the trigger phrase will make recognising these phrases any easier for your Apple device.
One virtual assistant that already has a single word trigger phase is Amazon’s Alexa, and I have to say that it’s probably the most natural trigger phrase of any assistant I’ve used and there’s also a nice benefit of it being a hilarious meme. The assistant’s name isn’t particularly common in our part of the world, and it also isn’t easily confused with regular English words. However, problems start to occur when we start trying to call our managing editor Alex’s name because that usually starts with “Alex ah…”.
So it’s easy to see why cutting down the complexity of a trigger phrase can be a difficult task especially when it comes to regional dialects, slang or accents. That being said, Apple isn’t planning on just switching the trigger phrase, they also plan on making improvements to Siri. One focus is having deeper integration with third-party applications and services.
This sounds fantastic because in my experience, Siri really only does useful things when it come’s to Apple’s own applications. Once third-party apps come into play, the functionality is either very surface-level or it just doesn’t support the app at all. In this regard, I’ve always found Google’s Assistant had the edge.
Regardless, you probably won’t be seeing any of these changes too soon because Gurman claims that the earliest Apple plans to roll out the new features would be next year or 2024 depending on the progress of the testing and development.
Are these changes you want to see? Do you even use Siri’s trigger phrase or have the accidental triggers forced you to turn it off completely. Let me know in the comments below.