Apple's voice-activated assistant, Siri, in Nokia row
Filed under: Mobile
Since then, the answer has changed. So what's going on, and why has Siri been so controversial?
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Siri took centre stage with the launch of the iPhone 4s, where engineers demonstrated how questions could be asked in a normal speaking voice, using whatever choice of words users preferred. It then showed how Siri would locate the answers. Since then it has been at the centre of a high-profile advertising campaign.
The rowWhen asked a consumer question like 'what is the best smartphone of all time?", The iPhone uses search engine Wolfram Alpha to look up reviews and comments and come to a definitive conclusion. In this case it used the reviews on the website of Best Buy to identify the Nokia phone, released in the UK this month.
According to a report on the BBC, by Wednesday, Siri had stopped using its search engine when asked this question, and instead replied with: "Wait... there are other phones?" or something equally neutral.
The report said that Apple would not confirm a change had been made.
ControversyThis isn't the first row to break out over the software. In the US there is an ongoing class action lawsuit accusing the software of over-promising functionality. Apple is currently moving to get the suit dismissed.
Closer to home, there was outcry in Scotland after the software struggled with the local accent. Apple has repeatedly reminded complainants that the software is still in beta stage, so will undergo more refinements to iron out these issues as time goes on.
Odd answersHowever, it retains its fans. Among the more unusual answers reported by the international media are:
- "I love you" to which it answers "oh stop"
- "What are you wearing?" elicits the answer "aluminium body with a glass front and back."
- "Testing 123" results in "You're coming through loud and clear."
- "Who shot the sheriff?" gets the answer "I shot the sheriff but I didn't shoot the deputy".
- It has a number of possible answers to the question "What is the meaning of life?" including "42" as outlined by Douglas Adams