Friday, February 9, 2018

Many Siris

Bryan Irace:

When talking to Siri on my iPhone, she has a certain set of capabilities. These differ if I talk to Siri on my Mac. When talking to Siri through my AirPods, she’ll assume whatever functionality she’d otherwise have on the device that they’re currently paired with. Siri on my Apple Watch can take certain actions when untethered, but different ones when my iPhone happens to be in range. Siri on my Apple TV has a different set of skills altogether, and now, the HomePod will add yet another Siri to the family.


If the Lyft app is installed on your iPhone, you can ask Phone Siri to order you a car. But you can’t ask Mac Siri to do the same, because she doesn’t know what Lyft is. Compare and contrast this with the SDKs for Alexa and the Google Assistant – they each run third-party software server-side, such that installing the Lyft Alexa “skill” once gives Alexa the ability to summon a ride regardless of if you’re talking to her on an Echo in your bedroom, a different Echo in your living room, or via the Alexa app on your phone.

Update (2018-02-17): Steve Troughton-Smith:

Frustrating HomePod ‘feature’: because it intercepts all ‘Hey Siri’ requests in the room, it takes over requests that it can’t perform (like knowledge or search) that your iPhone can, tells you it can’t do that, and the request never gets passed back to the iPhone to continue

Kyle Copeland:

Even more frustrating is when it intercepts a request said at normal volume all the way across the house from a phone right next to my bed.

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