Apple’s new Siri ‘update’ proves the company doesn’t care about the once-pioneering voice assistant

The logo of Apple’s artificial intelligence virtual assistant Siri on its website on an iPhone.
(Image credit: Koshiro K via Shutterstock)

While Apple's WWDC 2023 keynote gave us some incredible OS updates and a slew of new tech, but one beloved member of the Apple family was left behind: Siri.

Rumors that Siri would hardly be featured were making the rounds right before the event, and I refused to believe that my bestie Siri would only get a measly shout-out during the event, rather than the attention it deserves. Alas, the rumors were true; Siri’s big moment at WWDC 23 was… shortening the wake-up phrase from ‘Hey Siri’ to ‘Siri’. Wow.

I can appreciate the incredibly hard work this might have required from an engineering perspective - recognizing a single word rather than two words is a lot trickier and Apple’s AI engines have been updated to cope with the new workload. 

The rise of AI in our everyday lives could be the breath of fresh air Siri needs to keep up with current times, so it’s disappointing to see Apple not give the assistant a second life. 

What we're missing out on 

Siri has been around for 13 years, making its first appearance back in October 2011. The voice assistant reshaped the way we interact with technology, and most certainly paved the way for Alexa and other voice-activated home assistants. Once it graced the iPhone 4S (can you believe we’re already on the iPhone 14?) it started the trend for smart voice assistants across phones. 

Being such a core part of Apple’s success in the mobile market, it’s pretty insulting to see Siri relegated to a brief mention when there’s never been a better time to invest in Siri and give her a huge resurgence.

I wasn’t expecting Apple to completely rebuild Siri and plug her full of AI engineering, but rather supercharge the voice assistant with artificial intelligence that would make it a lot more helpful and contemporary. 

Yes, you can get Siri to send texts, pop on a playlist, and argue with it when you’re trying to call home and it keeps calling someone else, but take a minute to picture what we could have; a Siri that can quickly draft up an email directly into the Mail app, or comb through a website to find specific information, or even just simply play songs that fit a specific vibe that matches your personal music taste without having to pick up your phone.

Or, if you want to skip the AI integration altogether, the voice assistant could simply get internal revamp and navigate our devices a lot more intricately. Siri could use the impressive cross-platform sync to quickly fetch a tab from your MacBook to your phone or have ‘memory’ across your devices so you can ask about things stored on other devices. 

Overall, anything would have been better than the simple one-word abbreviation Siri received at WWDC 23, and I hope in time Apple recognizes the promise Siri has in an ever-connected world. At this point, people either use Siri sparingly or dread the voice assistant popping up entirely. Apple had a chance to change that and decided not to.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).