iOS 7 appears to be bringing Siri out of beta

Siri is no longer flagged as "Beta" on Apple's Siri product page which may indicate that, two years following its launch alongside the iPhone 4s, the virtual assistant is finally ready for life in the release world.

A natural language interface that exists as a layer on top of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, Siri's beta status was initially meant to set expectations as the service got off the ground and began accumulating the user data it needed to solidify its voice parsing and context-aware response system. While Apple nailed the Pixar-like personality out of the gate, constant network connectivity issues meant it remained unreliable and undependable for many people. Likewise, it took time for Apple to build out beyond a handful of languages, and their partnership strategy limited the amount of services Siri was tied into.

Meanwhile Google launched Google Now which lacked anything approximating Siri's personality, but rapidly added local voice parsing and predictive information provisioning. Most recently, Google Now has employed dedicated coprocessors - akin to Apple's M7 - to allow for ultra low-power persistent listening, and natural language and context parsing.

There's no sign of Apple duplicating the on-board or dedicated processing, though small amounts of predictive information will be displayed as part of the new iOS 7 Notification Center Today view. Siri will also be getting new, high quality voices in some markets, as well as new partnerships to display results from Wikipedia and Bing image search.

While some people never got into the habit of using Siri, or stopped due to the network issues, I continue to use Siri all the time. It's still the fastest way to set alarms or create reminders, to call people, and to dictate strings of text. (Including blog posts.)

iOS 7 launches on Wednesday, September 18. Check out our complete iOS 7 preview and let me know - if Siri really is coming out of beta, what do you expect from the service next?

Via: Joel, 9to5Mac

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS 7 appears to be bringing Siri out of beta


I love Siri, although I agree it has been frustrating from time to time. Super excited for all the improvements and advancements!

I use Siri often. The most frequent uses are reminders, including grocery lists, with minimal typing, and timers. I have done text messages as well, but that is rare for me. When iOS 7 is available, and Siri will finally offer control of phone settings, I am sure I will get much more use out of it. My biggest problem with it is that in noisy environments, it becomes very unpredictable. It also seems to carry humor beyond the acceptable now and then, once converting 'competent government' into 'you suck balls'. It has become much more responsive, and reliable over the last two years, and with more access to the phone controls, seems ready for 'prime time' at last.

I have been using ios7 since beta 5 and am currently running the goldmaster edition. I still hate Siri and have since it came out. I only use it to set alarms and timers because I got tired early on of it not understanding what I'm saying. Even now it takes at least 2-3 tries for it to even work because it says, "There's something wrong, and I can't answer your questions right now. Please try again in a little while." when asking it to search for a movie trailer... Third time worked though.

If you tell it to, "open settings" in an app it tries to access the settings menu of the app you're in. I had to say, "open the settings app" to get to my iPad's settings. Hopefully the final version will work better because I'm still not impressed... I want to be, but I'm just not.

I have very little problem with it, and my wife even uses it even though she has a mild speech impediment. The more you use it, the better it works. Should you have a deep regional accent, you may have to be patient while it learns how to interpret what you say. And, in my opinion, it should access the setting in an app, if you are in an app when you use it. What else would you want it to do?
The settings access isn't nearly so essential with iOS 7 since you have the control panel access.

I also have little to no problem with Siri. I use it with varying background noise and it seems to understand me perfectly. I know people are big on Google Now (also a fantastic but differnt service) and down on Siri, but I find Siri very useful as sometimes especially when i can use my hands extensively. And since she can understand context 'though limited' she or it has helped me out a good bit.

She is great for reminders, alarms, web searches, definitions, calculations etc.

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I have trouble using Siri when someone else is talking nearby, or the TV is on (my wife and I are senior citizens, so we need a higher volume setting on the TV). Also, for some reason, the Siri sound seems to make my wife just HAVE to tell me something. Grin.

Oh heck yeah... everyone around me seems to have something to say the minute I start using Siri. Even if she doesn't hear them it screws me all up. :-D

I can get up in front of a group, or 1000 people and have no trouble talking, but when I click on Siri, my mind freezes. Stupid, isn't it?

I think apple is just taking it out of "beta" at a time that's convenient for them to say it is. There's no guarantee these new features function any better than beta Siri has for the past year or so. I've mainly used it to switch albums on the fly while driving and it honestly only seems to work about fifty percent of the time. And I'm in NYC so there's really no excuse. Windows closed, clearly annunciated. It really needs to improve its consistency beyond anything else. New features that aren't reliable is worse than none at all, at least to me.

Unfortunately, siri doesn't work with my Indian accent. My English is really accurate and services like Google now recognizes accurately and my apple doesn't like to care for improving its voice dictionary for people like me. I expect improvement

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Yes! Google Now understands me 90% of the time when compared to Siri. I had 6.1.2 jailbroken to use it instead of Siri because it was insanely accurate. They could learn a lot from that system.

And if I wanted to access the settings in an app I would just hit the button, not ask Siri to do it. Although for some that may be a necessity.

And the control center -- I can count on two hands how many times I've used the calculator. Sucks it's stuck there being worthless. I rise BART in the SF Bay Area and lose signal a lot and use Bluetooth headphones and turning off the cellular data or LTE Is an easy way to refresh it. Wish they would let you customize it more because putting it in airplane mode and back out disconnects my headphones. First world problems, but I guess that's also what jailbreaking is for. :)

I still want Siri to be available on my phone even in moments if network loss - For setting alarms and timers, opening apps, playing music, creating reminders, etc.
I fuss at Siri a good bit for miss understanding me constantly despite my speaking to her like she's from another language (as if speaking slowly would help her to understand), but I do get frustrated when Siri can't be used because of network failure.
Put Siri on my phone!

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Unless "out of Beta" means support for all the languages they sell iOS devices in, it's useless for millions of people in lots of countries.
I'm from Denmark, and there's really limited use of Sire here, as Apple haven't made a deal with a Danish company to provide a Danish speaking Siri.

Using Siri to call people doesn't work most of the time, as she doesn't understand names that aren't English, and there's no Danish services as in the US, like looking up movies in local theaters etc.

She understand my English for the most part, but that doesn't mean much when all she's really useful for is setting an alarm and asking about the weather.

Apple have the money to collaborate with companies in the countries they sell devices in, to provide local support for Siri.

On device language processing. That is what Siri desperately needs. Not new partnerships with (insert 3rd party data source). Not another voice. Not another personality. It needs to respond instantly, without using the network unless the actual content of the question demands it.

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Siri had an error message it was down. Siri are you down? I do not know what you are asking. Are you down, and when will you be back up? I do not know. Siri, what is the weather? Here is the weather for your area. Siri, you are working again? I am no sure I understand your question. That's alright, thanks. I aim to please.

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Siri most needs to save the current dialog until a minute or two passes so it can parse the previous statement(s), to better decide what the user means. Siri, call Jane, mobile or home? Home. Line is busy so I say 'now try mobile' Siri wants to know who I want to call. Sigh.

I love using Siri and have had decent to good results. I would like it to more predictive actions such as remind me on its own if I need to leave earlier for a meeting due to traffic conditions. Also would like it to be always listening so it activates by voice alone. Speech recognition can address security issues associated with doing that. I've found that speaking clearly, topic specific and without slang gives me better results. One of the best Siri "moments" for me was when I asked for a baseball players batting average which I quickly received a correct response. I then asked for a second players average and got another correct answer. Then without thinking I asked" what about..." and then named a third player. I didn't ask for the average again, I just named the player. Siri correctly assumed I was asking about a third baseball players batting average and responded with the correct answer. This type of predictive answer is what I want more of.

I struggled with Siri for months after finally giving up on it. It failed about 98% of the time and simply resorted to asking me if I wanted to search the web for everything. It's much faster and easier to simply do a Google Voice search instead of fumbling with Siri.

Siri is simply useless with my northern British accent. I don't think it helps having many features removed from the British version of Siri. I hope iOS 7 improves on this.

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