May 15, 2012
Apple Changes Siri’s Response To Best Smartphone Request
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Apple could have just done a very dangerous thing: They´ve admitted they have the capability to sway Siri, getting her to say whatever they want. In other words, they have ways of making Siri talk.Granted, they´re in a tough spot. After all, their golden child was beginning to run a bit too freely, giving controversial advice and swearing like a sailor to little boys.
Now, Siri´s running around with the kinds of smartphones Apple wouldn´t want her to be caught dead with. And as a final punctuation on her grand rebellious statement, she started telling others about it, calling the Nokia Lumia 900 the “Best Smartphone Ever.”
Of course, this little quirk made the news just in time for gathering around the bar with friends and showing off your latest Siri trick.
Now, Apple has fixed this message, changing Siri´s response to the Snow White-like question to “The one you´re holding” or even the more coy “wait“¦there are other phones?”
Nokia, on the other hand, was none-too-pleased about losing the most expensive-free advertising they´ve ever not paid for.
After all, it must be killer to have the "World´s Most Valuable Tech Company" push your product for you, especially in such a viral and guerrilla-type fashion.
Tracy Postill, a spokeswoman for Nokia, issued a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, saying, “Apple position Siri as the intelligent system that's there to help, but clearly if they don't like the answer, they override the software.”
It´s times like these when Apple can fall back on Siri´s “Beta” labeling as a sort of a shrug of the shoulders, similar to how a frustrated and slightly embarrassed parent can throw up their hands and say, “Kids will be kids.”
Apple does have complete control over Siri, of course, and many of the pat answers she gives to silly questions such as “Where are you from?” or “Do you love me?” are programmed by Apple.
For other, more pressing questions such as “How many feet in a mile?” or “How much does an iPad cost?” Siri relies on third parties like Wolfram Alpha to scour the internet and look for the most pertinent answer. In this instance, it seems Wolfram Alpha has been paying attention to the recent press for the Nokia 900, the Finnish company's big bet on Windows Phone.
So, if Apple can change these responses and begin listening for specific phrases, what else can they do?
They haven´t yet commented on Siri´s most recent antic, and likely never will. But what they have done could be even more dangerous; they´ve set a precedent. Now, the next time Siri shoots off her mouth when she shouldn´t and upsets an organization, much like the ACLU became upset with Siri´s abortion scandal, they´ll be able to point to this exact story as evidence that Apple can and has changed their tune before.
Either way, it must be tricky to have millions of intelligent personal assistants acting as your spokeswoman.