Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Why Assistant Needs an A5 and How it Was 'Many Iterations' Ahead of its Competitors


Mockup of Apple's expected Assistant interface

Siri co-founder Norman Winarsky provides some details and impressions of their original Siri Assistant technology in an interview with 9to5Mac. Siri was a virtual assistant application that was released for the iPhone back in February, 2010. While the app still remains in the App Store, the company was acquired by Apple back in April, 2010.

Apple is expected to finally launch their own version of this intelligent assistant interface alongside the new iPhone at tomorrow's media event. The new feature is expected to be exclusive to the new iPhone which carries a faster A5 processor.

Winarsky provides some details about why the software would require so much processing power. While the original version of the software does run on the iPhone 3GS, he says that "all kinds of optimizations and shortcuts" were done to get it to work on the device. Winarsky reports that it will likely run "much better" on a faster phone.

Winarsky is also not bashful about what the significance of Apple's adaptation of Siri technology would mean, calling it a "World-Changing" event:
Make no mistake: Apple’s ‘mainstreaming’ Artificial Intelligence in the form of a Virtual Personal Assistant is a groundbreaking event. I’d go so far as to say it is a World-Changing event. Right now a few people dabble in partial AI enabled apps like Google Voice Actions, Vlingo or Nuance Go. Siri was many iterations ahead of these technologies, or at least it was two years ago. This is REAL AI with REAL market use. If the rumors are true, Apple will enable millions upon millions of people to interact with machines with natural language. The PAL will get things done and this is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking another technology revolution. A new computing paradigm shift.
Many have compared the technology to Google's Voice Actions for Android, but Winarsky believes their technology was much more advanced.

This video provides a mockup of what is expected to be the workflow for Apple's Assistant technology:


Apple will be launching the new iPhone tomorrow, October 4th, and is believed to be launching this Assistant software as well.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

38 months ago
But how will this technology assist people in their consumption of Internet porn?
Rating: 40 Votes
38 months ago

I wont use Assistant anywhere but home, IMO, I'd find it disturbing and awkward to use in public.


car?

arn
Rating: 30 Votes
38 months ago

I wont use Assistant anywhere but home, IMO, I'd find it disturbing and awkward to use in public.


I feel this will provide a huge benefit to the blind community or people with special needs. I feel like Apple is going to play a video tomorrow that will make us all cry.
Rating: 25 Votes
38 months ago
Call me skeptical but I don't think a software featured is going to drive gazillions of sales to a phone that looks identical to existing models. The average consumer likes Apple because their products are sexy and it's easy to tell them apart, an iPhone 4S with some new software is too geeky to differentiate for the average Joe.
Rating: 19 Votes
38 months ago
BTW, jailbreak will enable this on the iphone 4 (just like voice commands for iphone 3g). It's bull that the iphone 4 cpu can't do this functionality, just apple's way to generate upgrade sales.
Rating: 18 Votes
38 months ago
Theres nothing "natural" about seeing people get in arguments with their iPhones.

Especially if the phone adopts the arrogant personality of the company who produces it :p
Rating: 18 Votes
38 months ago
So we've now reached the day where people will talk to their phones, but text other humans.
Rating: 14 Votes
38 months ago
The smarter and better it works, the more it will scare me if any part of is called PAL 9000. Or even just PAL.

Call me skeptical but I don't think a software featured is going to drive gazillions of sales to a phone that looks identical to existing models. The average consumer likes Apple because their products are sexy and it's easy to tell them apart, an iPhone 4S with some new software is too geeky to differentiate for the average Joe.


Currently the best-selling smartphone in the US is the iPhone 4, even AFTER people know it’s an outgoing model about to be replaced. And the second-best selling is the iPhone 3GS which was already long ago replaced! The 3GS looks exactly like the second iPhone design Apple ever made (the iPhone 3G, years ago). Still a great phone and outsells every competing model (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/22/iphone-4-and-3gs-rank-as-best-selling-u-s-smartphones/). If it looked any older, it would be the original 2007 iPhone!

Most people don’t buy a phone because it “looks different,” as evidenced by all the needless copycatting of Apple by some (not all) Android makers. (In fact, it seems most people buy a phone because it’s “what the phone store guy handed me.” Those who know more than that lean towards the iPhone heavily it seems.)

Meanwhile the iPhone 4 is already an awesome, untouchable hardware/software marriage. Updating performance specs and keeping the current design is definitely no bad thing.

I hope it activates quicker than Voice Control does. Holding down the home button and then waiting for the beep is nearly 5 seconds.


Yes, please! Maybe even offer a choice of delays.
Rating: 13 Votes
38 months ago
Are they going to be pushing this speech stuff so much that:

iphone 4 = base model
iphone 4s = s for Speech, not speed this time.
Rating: 12 Votes
38 months ago
Many iterations ahead...

Well, I do hope so.
But it's not like this guy is an unbiased observer. What would we expect him to say: "Oh, that stuff we were working on? Yeah, pretty much run-of-the-mill."
Rating: 12 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]