Apple is working on a big change to how its Siri voice assistant works. While you currently have to say “Hey Siri” to activate the assistant hands-free, that may not be the case for much longer. Bloomberg reports today that Apple engineers are working to drop the “Hey” part of the phrase, so you’d only have to say “Siri” followed by a command to activate the assistant…
In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that this is “a technical challenge that requires a significant amount of AI training and underlying engineering work.” Apple has reportedly been working on this change for the last several months and hopes to roll it out either next year or in 2024 depending on the progress of development and testing.
As it stands today, Apple is testing this change with employees and is collecting the necessary training data as part of that process. One of the specific challenges is making sure Siri is able to understand the wake word in multiple different accents and dialects.
Apple is also working to make improvements to other aspects of Siri, including its integration into third-party applications and services. “It will integrate the voice assistant deeper into third-party apps and services and improve its ability to understand users and take the correct course of action,” Bloomberg says in today’s report.
Apple’s mission to change Siri’s wake phrase from “Hey Siri” to just “Siri” shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Doing so would match what’s offered by Amazon, where you simply have to say “Alexa” to trigger the assistant, not “Hey Alexa.” It would also give Apple a leg up on Google, where the wake phrase is “Hey Google” or “OK Google.”
But as today’s report says, this isn’t a small undertaking, and there’s a lot of training and behind-the-scenes work that goes into a change like this. For Apple, this is especially true as Siri is already prone to a number of false positives, particularly with activations of Siri on the HomePod. 9to5Mac