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Siri behaves slightly better in iOS 6, says analyst

The voice assistant is a bit more on the ball in iOS 6 than in iOS 5, according to a Piper Jaffray report.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Is Siri more responsive in iOS 6 than she was in iOS 5?

A new study from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster uncovered a slight improvement in the voice assistant in the latest version of iOS.

Based on the analyst's testing, Siri understood 91 percent of queries under iOS 6, compared with 89 percent in iOS 5. Further, Siri correctly answered 77 percent of those queries under iOS 6, versus 76 percent in iOS 5.

In general, Siri was adept at finding local businesses and understanding operating system commands but not so good at tracking down general information or leading users to helpful commerce-related results, according to Munster's study.

Though the improvement from iOS 5 to iOS 6 was minor, Munster believes Apple will further enhance Siri's comprehension skills when iOS 7 debuts next year.

"Overall we believe that while Siri has made some improvements in comprehension and accuracy, continued improvements are likely in iOS 7, including better commerce and maps integration," Munster said in a research note released today.

In another twist, Siri now relies much less on Google for finding answers to questions she can't handle. Siri's overall dependence on Google for information dropped to 30 percent in iOS 6 from 60 percent in iOS 5.

The biggest change came from the ouster of Google Maps in iOS 6. Since then, 23 percent of travel-related queries have gone to Apple Maps, with others going to Yahoo and Yelp.

"We view this as a slight negative for consumers on Apple products, as we view Apple Maps as an inferior product to Google Maps," Munster said.

Of course, Google Maps has since returned to the App Store. And though Siri still uses Apple Maps as the default, a work-around lets users pick Google Maps to deliver the directions instead.

The analyst's testing also pitted Siri against Google Now, the voice assistant found on Android devices.

The two were about were neck and neck in terms of understanding queries and delivering the right results.

Google Now understood queries 88 percent of the time and answered them accurately 77 percent of the time.