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Siri With Apple Intelligence Might Make It the Assistant We've Wanted

Commentary: Apple has made big claims with Siri before, but this time it promises it will be different.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read
Siri iOS 18

The new and improved Siri on iOS 18. 

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When Apple first introduced Siri back in 2011, it pitched it as "an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking." It touted how it could get you answers by just posing a question, from the weather and setting reminders to getting directions or converting currencies. 

As it has before, Apple has given Siri a major overhaul with its latest software platforms. This time with the introduction of Apple Intelligence, Apple seems to be promising that Siri will finally be truly different. On its iOS 18 preview page, it touts the new features as the "start of a new era for Siri."

On the surface, it seems like Siri actually might be getting more than just a few new features and a fresh interface (instead of a hovering circle when summoned on an iPhone, it will glow around the edges of your screen!). You can ask it to play a song a friend sent you, and it will know exactly what you're referring to without you manually opening Messages and scrolling or searching. 

Asking about when a family member's flight is landing or finding your driver's license number from a photo by just asking about either is genuinely useful, helpful and impressive. 

Of course, an Apple demo and its actual implementation, especially when it comes to Siri, have been two different stories. In the years since Siri was first introduced it has become a bit smarter and more capable, but it still remains a frustration to many. There are countless Reddit threads available documenting its many continued struggles and shortcomings

I've been eager to try all the Siri improvements every year, but even more than a decade later I largely find myself limited to using it for music playback, checking the weather before I head out the door and turning lights on or off. Having it do more complex tasks either takes too long or results in frustration. 

Adding ChatGPT should help further boost Siri's potential, especially as OpenAI's system has proven to be one of the most ambitious and capable uses of consumer artificial intelligence to date. But that may not be available right away, and there are still plenty of questions on how Siri will interact with that service. Early AI software, like ChatGPT and Google's Gemini, have also been prone to making things up (what's known as hallucinations). 

Will Apple's system be subject to the same issues those models have encountered? If I ask Siri to help create a menu for dinner, will it tell me to eat rocks or put glue on pizza?

It's good to see Apple finally giving Siri a much-needed performance boost, but if the past has taught me anything, it's to wait a bit longer before getting too excited -- even when its lofty potential finally appears to be within reach. 

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