Apple Picks Craig Federighi As The New Head Of Siri As The Voice Assistant Race Heats Up
There has been a change of hands at Apple. The Cupertino, California tech firm has picked operating systems chief Craig Federighi as the new head of Siri, replacing content chief Eddy Cue.
Siri Gets A New Boss
The shakeup is an attempt to integrate Apple's voice assistant more deeply into the company's other devices amid mounting competition from rivals such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.
Bloomberg reports the change became official last week via updates to the two executives' biographies published on Apple's site. Cue, outgoing, is in charge of widely recognized Apple software such as iTunes, Apple Music, and iCloud. Currently, he seems to be focused on working with a new video content team, which may form the basis of Apple's video streaming service.
Siri Is Losing The Voice Assistant Battle
Apple introduced Siri in 2011. Many people might now know that Siri had once been a standalone app that can perform several tasks. With it, users were able to find a taxi cab, search for concert schedules, book restaurants, and much more — using their voice. Apple later bought the service and integrated it as a mainstay iOS feature.
Technically, Siri's success is partly thanks to it being on iOS, which is one of the largest operating systems in the broad smartphone landscape, second only to Android. Over the years Siri has gained a bevy of features that let it perform more complex commands. But simultaneously, different digital assistants arrived, such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana.
Deciding on the best digital assistant remains a hotly contested topic, but it's worth mentioning that Apple has received criticism in the past for Siri's lack of context-aware capabilities. For example, if you ask Google Assistant, "Who's Bob Dylan?" it'll give you the appropriate info. Then, you may follow it up with, "How old is he?" without mentioning the name again, because Google is aware that you're still on the topic of Dylan. Siri, by contrast, couldn't do this.
But Siri has become smarter, and it will become smarter as Apple experiments with artificial intelligence and how to apply that to its voice assistant. Will it be as good, if not better, as Google Assistant? It's anyone guess.
It's high time that Siri became as functional as its competitors in the same field, especially as Apple pushes it further across different platforms such as watchOS and macOS.
The move follows Microsoft and Amazon's recent announcement that their digital assistants are teaming up; Windows 10 users will soon be able to use Alexa, and Echo users will soon be able to use Cortana.
It's unclear how putting Federighi at the helm of Siri impacts development of the voice assistant, but expect due coverage as we learn more.