I know what you’re thinking: “Siri came out over 18 months ago! What are you talking about, Fool?” Hear me out.
Even though Siri is mostly software-based, it was launched as a feature exclusive to the iPhone 4S. I say “mostly” because there was technically a hardware element, too. The iPhone 4S had an improved version of Audience‘s background noise filtering technology integrated directly into the processor, whereas the previous iPhone featured a discrete hardware chip from Audience. Hackers were still able to get Siri to run fine on the older hardware, so Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s rationale for the exclusivity was only partially valid.
Siri. Source: Apple.
More importantly, Siri is still technically in beta and has yet to see an official stable release. While Siri has yet to shed its effective “work-in-progress” label, Apple has continued to add new features and services to the virtual assistant. The bad news is that Siri is mostly considered a novelty instead of the revolutionary feature it was initially billed as (I’m guilty as charged). A year ago at D10, Tim Cook said that Apple was “doubling down” on Siri, saying a slew of new features were en route. Retrieving sports scores are hardly what I’d consider “doubling down,” and Apple has been hiring engineers to teach the assistant new tricks. In its job listings, Apple described Siri as an “entire miniature OS within the OS,” showing how ambitious its plans are. So far, Siri seems like unrealized potential.
In many ways, Google Now is everything Siri wants to be. Google has some advantages in data though, since it can incorporate many more sources for predictive purposes, such as flight and traffic data. Siri could potentially be one area where Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could grow its integration ties with Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). CEO Marissa Mayer has put a big emphasis on mobile, including acquiring numerous iOS app start-ups. Scoring an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) partnership to serve up Yahoo!’s data and content within Siri could be a big win for both companies while putting heat on a mutual rival.
A dramatically improved Siri could easily be a killer feature.
The article 3 Killer Features Apple Should Release in 2013 originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Evan Niu, CFA.
Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google.
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