Apple watch Series 8

Why Apple May be Working on a ‘Hey Siri’ Change

Apple reportedly wants to put an end to “Hey.”

The company is said to be training its voice assistant Siri to pick up on commands without needing the first half of the prompt phrase “Hey Siri.”

As reported by CNN Business, the trigger phrase is used to launch Siri on various products, including the iPhone, iPad, HomePod and Apple Watch.

Bloomberg, which first reported the news, said the change could come next year or in 2024. Apple did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

Although the update would be seemingly minor, experts say it may signal broader changes are coming and could require extensive artificial intelligence training. Lian Jye Su, a research director at ABI Research, said having two trigger words allows the system to more accurately recognize requests, so the move to one word would lean on a more advanced AI system.

“During the recognition phase, the system compares the voice command to the user-trained model,” Su said. “‘Siri’ is much shorter than ‘Hey Siri,’ giving the system potentially less comparison points and higher error rate in an echo-y, large room and noisy environments,” such as in the car or when wind is present.

The move would allow Apple to catch up to Amazon’s “Alexa” prompt that doesn’t require a first wake word for its voice assistant. Microsoft shifted away from “Hey Cortana” in 2018, now allowing users to only say “Cortana” on smart speakers. However, “OK Google” is still required for most Google product requests.

The move away from “Hey Siri” would also come at a time when Apple, Amazon and Google are collaborating on the Matter automation standard, which will allow automation and Internet of Things devices from different vendors to interoperate.

With this in mind, James Sanders, a principal analyst at market research firm CCS Insight, said “redoubling efforts on improving Siri functionality is likely a priority at Apple.”

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