#siri

Alex Hawgood:

Love Plus, a dating-simulation game developed for the portable Nintendo DS console, allows a player to caress another’s hair using a touch pad or to go on a flirtatious study date. Much like how Samantha is programmed to be adaptive to Theodore’s personality in “Her,” these virtual sweethearts modify their personas in real time based on the player’s likes and dislikes. The game is popular among otaku, Japanese slang for reclusive computer nerds, who often post screen shots of their Samanthas online or go on real-life dates with their video-game console.

Everyone jokes about Siri, but we’re actually much closer to Samantha than it seems.

Agustino Fontevecchia of Forbes:

Carl Icahn just won’t sit tight.  In a filing released after market hours on Monday, the billionaire investor revealed a 9.3% passive stake in Nuance Communications, a voice-recognition company reportedly behind Apple’s Siri.  Shares in the company surged in after-hours trading.

And the countdown until he attempts to force a sale to Apple (which probably should have and would have bought the company a long time if the CEO wasn’t a Steve Jobs-like hardass) is officially underway.

And speaking of Siri, this part of Bianca Bosker’s deep-dive for The Huffington Post also stands out:

Only one of Siri’s three co-founders, Tom Gruber, remains at the company. Kittlaus left three weeks after Apple re-launched Siri in 2011, and Cheyer quit a year later. Apple’s Forstall, who introduced Siri at its first keynote and oversaw the company’s iOS software, was fired last year. Steve Jobs died the day after Siri debuted. And Luc Julia, who replaced Kittlaus as head of Siri, lasted just 10 months at Apple before leaving in 2012.

You have to wonder what that means for the future of the service. It still needs a lot of work and nearly everyone who was an original champion of the product is now gone. Does that mean it fades away over time, or does Apple “double down”?

This year should be telling. Will we see Siri truly open up in iOS 7 (as it used to be)? An API, perhaps? Or will it be more slow progress as Google speeds ahead?

Bianca Bosker of The Huffington Post dives deep into the history of Siri:

“The way that Steve described it, speech recognition — and how to use it to create a speech interface for something like the iPhone — was an area of interest to him and Scott Forstall [then head of Apple’s mobile software] for some time,” recalls Kittlaus. “The story that I’m told is that he thought we’d cracked that paradigm with our simple, conversational interface.”

Verizon thought so, too. In the fall of 2009, several months before Apple approached Siri, Verizon had signed a deal with the startup to make Siri a default app on all Android phones set to launch in the new year. When Apple swooped in to buy Siri, it insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices, and nixed the Verizon deal. In the process, it narrowly avoided seeing Siri become a selling point for smartphones powered by its biggest rival, Google. (Somewhere in the vaults of the wireless giant, there are unreleased commercials touting Siri as an Android add-on.)

Never knew that.

laughingsquid

laughingsquid:

Siri Helps Martin Scorsese With His Busy Day

While I don’t love them, I think these commercials are pretty effective at planting the thought of using Siri for common tasks. Habits are hard to break, and if Siri is going to be successful, they’re going to have to be broken. Many people naturally want to emulate movie stars (or in this case, a famous director), even if it’s only a subconscious desire. 

But.

These ads would be a million times more effective if Siri was a bit more ready for prime-time. It’s just not yet. Hopefully iOS 6 brings that. 

Sources tell Mark Gurman that Siri for iPad will be included in iOS 6 and 9to5 Mac did the mockup of what it could look like. Makes sense to me, as I wrote last month:

There have also been whispers about Siri for iPad finally coming. Specifically, I’ve been led to believe it’s more of a UI issue than anything else. After all, Apple is using the technology for the Dictation functionality found on the new iPad. They’ve just been working on what Siri for iPad will look like, I’ve been led to believe.

Sources tell Mark Gurman that Siri for iPad will be included in iOS 6 and 9to5 Mac did the mockup of what it could look like. Makes sense to me, as I wrote last month:

There have also been whispers about Siri for iPad finally coming. Specifically, I’ve been led to believe it’s more of a UI issue than anything else. After all, Apple is using the technology for the Dictation functionality found on the new iPad. They’ve just been working on what Siri for iPad will look like, I’ve been led to believe.

If true, it’s really interesting. When I started hearing that Apple was working with Nuance last year on the Siri stuff, digging in, I learned that one of the reasons why Google was one of the few companies with their own voice technology was thanks to Cohen. Nuance is known to be very aggressive with pursuing lawsuits over their IP, which leads to a lot of partnerships — like Apple. Google was able to maneuver these waters without a Nuance partnership because Cohen was a co-founder of — wait for it — Nuance. And, more importantly, holds several of his own patents in the space.

Google is clearly working on their own direct Siri competitor for Android. And it was presumed that Cohen — and his patents — would be the key to this. But if he’s now gone from Google, it raises a lot of questions. 

(via Dan Primack)

The iPhone Bleeds Lumia Cyan, According To Siri. Or Wolfram Alpha. Or Best Buy. Sometimes. Maybe. Actually, No.

Well, Jim Dalrymple beat me to making fun of this, but what the hell, it’s Friday.

Earlier today, a thread starting passing around the Internet pointing out something worth a chuckle: when you ask Siri what the best smartphone is, it responds with the Nokia Lumia 900. The cyan version from AT&T, to be exact.

That’s it — end of debate! Shut Apple down and pay the money back to the shareholders. The Lumia 900 is clearly killing off the iPhone. Well, except if you consider sales. And user happiness. But whatever, Siri says so!

But wait. Does Siri even say so? After a series of never-ending clicks, I believe I was able to trace this “story” back to its roots. Dalrymple linked to AppleInsider, which links to TheNextWeb (hi Robin!), which links to ZUnited, which links to WMPoweruser. (CNet tried to insert itself into the conversation too, but well, it was this guy.)

Appropriately, it was a game of telephone that led to “Which is the best cellphone ever?” evolving into “what is the best smartphone ever?” Along the way, there were several reports of different answers — for example, I get nothing when I ask about the best smartphone ever and I get “I think you’ve already answered that question, MG.” when I ask for the best cellphone ever. Cute.

But people definitely are seeing the Lumia 900 pop up, the screenshots prove it! How could Apple let such a thing fly? Because it has nothing to do with Apple. The answer comes from Wolfram Alpha, Siri’s top data partner. And the fact of the matter is that in this case, the data sucks.

Wolfram Alpha passed the Lumia 900 to Siri simply because it’s the first on this list. But if you look closely at that list, you’ll note that several phones receive the highest “5” rating — 29 of them, by my count. And that list includes three models of the iPhone (two different versions of the iPhone 4S — the 64GB white model from Verizon and Sprint, sorry, AT&T). They’re simply not the first listed.

But again, this list is shit. It’s data from Best Buy based on user ratings. The Lumia 900 in question is “#1” with a whopping 5 user reviews. Number 2 on the list is this phone — I mean, just look at it! — which has a whole one five-star user review. Number 3 on the list is the HP refurbished Touchpad. Yes, the Touchpad. Number 3 best smartphone ever.

Need I go on?