Love it or don’t. Like it or lump it. Talking artificial intelligence is here to stay. Already a few billion smartphones can take queries and respond, telling you where to go, how bad the weather will be, and where Elvis lives.
Apple’s Siri was the first major talking artificial intelligence to catch the public’s
eye ear, and the field has become more crowded in recent years. Everyone seems to want in on the talking speaker craze, the talking artificial intelligence craze, and the fight for human supremacy has just begun. Except Apple’s Siri has a personality disorder.
Talk To Me, Baby
For reasons no fully public, Siri was born out of wedlock but bought by Apple because then CEO Steve Jobs could see the future and somewhere in the future our gadgets will listen and talk to us. Oh, sure, Siri, Amazon’s Echo, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s ill-named Assistant, and even Samsung’s Bixby all listen and talk– they just don’t do much. Worse, Siri does less on HomePod than Siri on iPhone? Is Siri HomePod hard of hearing? Or, is Siri iPhone the smartest? Siri on Mac is not Siri on iPad.
Siri has a
personality disorder dissociative identity disorder. Siri on HomePod is dumb. Siri on iPhone is smart smarter.
Samuel Gibbs agrees:
On the HomePod Siri can set one timer, but not multiple or named timers like Alexa and the rest can; it can control some smart home devices as long as they’re hooked up to Apple’s HomeKit system; it can answer some relatively limited questions and do the usual unit conversions and calculations. You can also set it up so that Siri can send text messages, create notes and reminders, using the iPhone and account of the person who set up the HomePod when it is on the same wifi network. But that means anyone with access to the speaker could send messages pretending to be its owner – there is no multi-user support at all.
What’s with that Siri, Apple?
Jonny Evans has a great list of very useful Siri tips. For iPhone. They won’t work on Siri HomePod or Siri Mac. Sarah Jacobsson Purewal and Jason Cipriani compiled a Complete List Of Siri Commands. For iPhone. They don’t all work on Mac, and fewer on HomePod.
Despite not really being the same Siri on different Apple devices, Siri’s listening skills are somewhat more adept even if responses vary. For example, let’s say you’re in the living room listening to HomePod, reading Apple News on an iPad Pro, wearing Apple Watch, but your iPhone and Mac are nearby. Apple has a solution to the “Hey Siri…” query which could start the whole crowd of Siri talking at the same time.
When you say “Hey Siri” near multiple devices that support “Hey Siri,” the devices quickly communicate to each other using Bluetooth to determine which one should respond to the request. The device that heard you best or was recently raised will respond.
Apple has a few other tips to handle a situation when the wrong Siri responds to “Hey Siri…”
- “Hey Siri” uses Bluetooth to communicate with nearby devices, so make sure that you turn on Bluetooth on all of your devices. If you turn off Bluetooth or if a device isn’t in Bluetooth range of the other devices, multiple devices might respond to your request.
- Make sure that all of your devices are updated to the latest software. If some of your devices are using older software, then multiple devices might respond to “Hey Siri.”
- If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can place it face down so it doesn’t respond to “Hey Siri.”
- If you want a device other than HomePod to respond, raise to wake that device, then say “Hey Siri.” Or press the button on that device to use Siri.
- On HomePod, if you say “Hey Siri, turn off Hey Siri” or turn off Listen for “Hey Siri” in HomePod settings in the Home app, then HomePod won’t respond to “Hey Siri.” To turn “Hey Siri” back on, touch and hold the top of HomePod, then say “Turn on Hey Siri.”
- On the device that you want to use Siri, go to Settings and check that “Hey Siri” is turned on.
If Siri is supposed to be talking artificial intelligence not-quite-sentient cyber creature, how come it/she/he doesn’t answer appropriately from the most appropriate device when asked? Otherwise, Apple recommends we go back to 1999 and get Siri to respond the old fashioned way.
HomePod responds to most Siri requests, even if there are other devices that support “Hey Siri” nearby. If you want to use Siri on a specific device, raise to wake that device or press the button to use Siri, then make your request.