Apple’s annual developers conference opens in San Francisco June 13, and while the main focus of the event likely will be details of iOS 10 — the next version of the company’s mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads — don’t be surprised to hear a lot of talk about Siri, Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant.
Siri debuted in 2011 to a lot of excitement, drawing bold predictions from the likes of Harvard Business Review. In an October 2011 piece titled “Apple’s Siri Is as Revolutionary as the Mac,” James Allworth wrote, “Siri, the new iPhone’s voice-control software, is going to have as big an impact as that first iPhone did. It’s going to fundamentally change our relationship with computers.”
Indeed, Siri’s popularity is undeniable. It’s effectiveness, not so much. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes argues this week on ZDNet, “Apple’s owned Siri for years, and yet Siri is still very lacking compared to voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Now. Not only could voice recognition be seriously improved, but there’s also a lot of room for new functionality — both built-in and through allowing third-party apps to access the service.”
But Apple may be ready to address that latter point at the Worldwide Development Conference (WWDC16). The company reportedly is set to release a software development kit (SDK) for Siri that would allow third-party developers to write apps that incorporate Siri’s functionality.
This strategy worked for Apple a few years ago when it gave third-party developers access to the Apple Store. As USB analyst Steve Milunovich tells Bay Area News Group‘s Rex Crum, “A proliferation of third-party apps drove increased iOS users, and in turn, more developers. Siri-enabled content could make the iOS platform even more attractive.”