Woz: Siri's gone downhill since Apple purchased it

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, has never been one to shy away from blunt criticism of his former company. In a recent interview, he continued sharing his honest opinions about Apple by stating Siri was a better service before the tech giant purchased it.

In a video interview Times Union, a New York newspaper, Wozniak said he preferred Siri as an app before Apple bought the technology. The former Apple programmer said the technology was largely unknown by the general public, although it was a far better product than it currently is. "Siri was the greatest program," Wozniak said in the interview. "I couldn't talk one of my friends into getting Siri. My wife's the only one that wound up getting it eventually. And then Apple bought Siri, and the day they bought Siri it started [getting worse]."

Wozniak gave multiple examples of how the service has become more business-based, providing answers pertaining to popular businesses and products instead of answering the actual questions users pose. When asking Siri for the prime numbers after 87, for instance, the service used to respond with a series of prime numbers following 87; now, the service gives answers relating to "prime rib," Wozniak said. 

Siri was originally a company founded in 2007 by an independent group before selling itself and its technology to Apple in 2010. The company first released its voice control technology as an app in the iOS app store. Siri also planned to port the technology to other mobile platforms, including Android and Blackberry, although those plans were scrapped after Apple purchased the company.

Source: Mashable

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I'm honestly not surprised. Apple has made a business out of buying companies and making their stuff "pretty". In this case they had to do technical work on a service and technology that they bought, but didn't really understand...

I just asked Siri "What are the prime numbers after 87" and it gave me a list of prime numbers after 87...

That being said, I'm sure it is more geared towards guiding people towards consumer stuff. And it is far more likely that someone would ask Siri where to get something to eat than asking for prime numbers.

Shadrack said,
I just asked Siri "What are the prime numbers after 87" and it gave me a list of prime numbers after 87...

Via a WolframAlpha results card or a Google search?

Shadrack said,

WolframAlpha

What does Woz's other example question ("What are the 5 largest lakes in California?") result in? For me, they both result in Siri prompting for a Google search. Weird.

TRC said,

Well it seems to have you all bothered so I guess so.

Its really bizarre that you came to that conclusion from my post, are you sure you are right in the head?

drazgoosh said,
Well the "censorship" of some things by Siri hasn't helped.
E.g. The whole Lumia 900 being the best phone thing.

No. That's simply not censorship and you need to learn what censorship is.

"Best" is subjective. It could say that the Kin is the best and it'd still be right cause its an opinion! And in Apple's opinion iPhone is best, thus they're right to make it say that.

andrewbares said,

No. That's simply not censorship and you need to learn what censorship is.

"Best" is subjective. It could say that the Kin is the best and it'd still be right cause its an opinion! And in Apple's opinion iPhone is best, thus they're right to make it say that.

The reason I wrote it as "censorship" was because I knew censorship wasn't the right word, but was hoping people would know what I meant by it, as I couldn't find the right word to use.

Also I never said the Lumia 900 is the "best", I was referring to the whole situation where Siri, using Wolfram Alpha, said that the Lumia 900 was the "best phone ever"

andrewbares said,

No. That's simply not censorship and you need to learn what censorship is.

"Best" is subjective. It could say that the Kin is the best and it'd still be right cause its an opinion! And in Apple's opinion iPhone is best, thus they're right to make it say that.


But it's designed to use internet results and Apple "fixed" the results because they didn't like them. That IS censorship and likely is negatively impacting the service.

M_Lyons10 said,

But it's designed to use internet results and Apple "fixed" the results because they didn't like them. That IS censorship and likely is negatively impacting the service.

No it's not. Siri is designed to give you ANSWERS. Some may come from the internet but some certainly cant.

If what you said was true, then asking "What's your name?" Would probably turn up search results about baby names or the meanings of names.

What apple did is 100% justified and nearly ANYONE would do the same with their own product.

When you ask a Jew "what's the best religion?" They don't answer "Christianity" because it's very popular. They answer Judiasm. Same with apple.

You're delusional if you think this is an any way censorship...

andrewbares said,

No it's not. Siri is designed to give you ANSWERS. Some may come from the internet but some certainly cant.

If what you said was true, then asking "What's your name?" Would probably turn up search results about baby names or the meanings of names.

What apple did is 100% justified and nearly ANYONE would do the same with their own product.

When you ask a Jew "what's the best religion?" They don't answer "Christianity" because it's very popular. They answer Judiasm. Same with apple.

You're delusional if you think this is an any way censorship...

just because everyone is doing it, doesn't mean it's not censorship. lol.

andrewbares said,

You're delusional if you think this is an any way censorship...

Why don't you go live in North Korea where the answer to anything is that they're leaders are the best and that the rest of the world is terrible? That is censorship. Blocking information, just so that you seem better than the competition.

Miuku. said,
What has Wozniak done in the last 20 years?

**** all.

You mean besides being a philanthropist and all the things he has done in support of education?

Gaurav Agrawal said,
Also, 91 (13 X 7) is NOT a prime number...

89 is the next Prime after 87, and guess how I found out... I asked Siri.

th3r3turn said,

67, 71,76,79,83,87,89,91,93,97, just goggled it!


You "goggled" it wrong. Some of those aren't prime numbers. 93, for example, is the most obvious mistake. You've also missed out numbers.

Neither of the 2 numbers in the original statement in the article (i.e. 87 and 91) are prime numbers.

Too much "maths fail" here.

Edited by Manish, Jun 16 2012, 11:38am :

th3r3turn said,

67, 71,76,79,83,87,89,91,93,97, just goggled it!


Wrong, 91 is NOT a prime number, a prime number is where the only integer divisions that give integer results are the number itself and 1.

Gaurav Agrawal said,
Also, 91 (13 X 7) is NOT a prime number...

I was just transcribing what he said in the video. Edited the article to make more sense.

No it doesn't and it gives 89. Woz is great but this is a BS example of it not working. Accent potentially being an issue?

Siri has more issues if you speak very quickly or don't form words correctly.

andrewbares said,

We should all know by now that Microsoft's tech demos are worthless and won't ever be true for at least 10 years.


I dunno about that, as my Windows phone uses Tell Me, and it hardly ever misunderstands me. If I ask it what the next prime number after 87 is, it might not be able to say "89", but it at least could understand my question.

He is right, I'm a iPhone 4S owner and I think Siri should have been moved further along by now. At the D conference Tim Cook said Apple was doubling down on Siri and he said we would be very happy with what was coming to Siri in the future.

Then WWDC hit and they unveiled iOS 6 and I've installed it on my iPhone 4S, Siri if anything has gotten worse. I've found since they've added sport queries to Siri that the system sometimes misunderstands statements I'm making that worked in iOS 5 as sports queries. So basically they've made it less functional for me because its overzealous in thinking what I'm asking is a sport question.

I just haven't seen Siri improve since its debut. I still use it every day for setting reminders, alarms and timers but it still is hit and miss on the same words that it was hazy on 6 months ago. Apple have a long way to go before this is no longer a Beta feature in my opinion.

Well, they gotta make AI more intelligent then....I hope the data they get when people access Siri is actually been put to use to improve it.....it had a tremendous potential and still has it!

He's right, on multiple levels. Didn't see it as bashing it but that it can be better. Also that all voice recognition can be and will be better. Says it like it is. Smart fellow!