Apple's VocalIQ takeover could hint at Siri upgrades for WWDC and beyond
Assuming it makes it into Siri upgrades that may start as soon as next month's WWDC, technology Apple acquired from VocalIQ could greatly improve the assistant's accuracy and contextual awareness, one report claims.
Prior to Apple's takeover, VocalIQ's technology scored over 90 percent in difficult accuracy tests — compared with roughly 20 percent for Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft's Cortana, a source told Business Insider. This includes interpreting complex commands an assistant like Siri would normally fail on, such as "Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and Wi-Fi that's kid-friendly."
Apple bought VocalIQ before the company could even launch an app, and reportedly let them continue to work out of Cambridge in the U.K. on integrating their tech into Siri.
One of the most significant features of the technology is said to be its ability to remember context permanently, such that in the Chinese restaurant example a person could say "Find me a Mexican restaurant instead" an hour later and still have it remember the original criteria.
The system is said to work so well that users may never have to glance at a device's screen to confirm anything. It may also be better at filtering out ambient noise, and adapting to accents, a notorious problem with current voice assistants.
It's speculated that Apple could want this screen-free experience for two upcoming hardware products, namely its Amazon Echo competitor and/or the Apple Car. The company would presumably bring Siri improvements to all its platforms however, such as iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV.
Next month Apple is expected to showcase a Siri SDK for third-party developers, which even without VocalIQ will expand the assistant's usefulness simply by letting more apps tap into voice commands.