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.)
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