June 15, 2012

Woz Poo-Poos Siri Whilst Standing In A Pasture

Michael Harper for

For all the talk Apple´s ever given about “doubling down” on privacy and for all the great lengths they´ve gone to protect unannounced products, they sure do let Steve Wozniak run his mouth like a loose cannon. Although, I guess if you helped build the world´s most valuable brand and built the very first personal computer, you´re allowed some leeway.

While he doesn´t report to 1 Infinite Loop every day for work–and hasn´t since 1987–he is still an official employee and receives a modest paycheck every year, estimated to be around $120,000. Woz is also an Apple shareholder, so he keeps close to the company. This doesn´t mean, of course, that Woz doesn´t have any problem calling them like he see´s them, even if Apple is the one to be called out.

Recently, Woz has even been talking about his preference in smartphones, saying he thinks Windows Phone is quite lovely, though there´s “no contest” with Android when it comes to interface.

In an earlier interview, Woz has even said he thinks Steve Jobs´ mortal enemy, Google´s Android, is better in many areas than the iPhone.

Really, Woz“¦.Tell us how you really feel.

So, as the only living Apple co-founder made his way to New York State this week to check in on a horse of his own namesake,  Woz was more than willing to give his opinions on Apple´s newest announcement about Siri´s new tricks.

Siri, as you may recall, was once a third-party app offered on Apple´s App store. In her original state, Siri could call Taxis, book tables, and even perform complicated arithmetic. Seeing some potential there, Apple bought the company just months after they landed on the App store and baked her right into the iPhone 4S. Now, many of her earlier capabilities are gone, a point that hasn´t been lost on Woz.

"A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo," Wozniak said. "I was using it to make reservations long before Apple bought it,” Woz told reporters for the Times Union.

"I would say, 'Siri, what are the five largest lakes in California?' and it would come up, one, two, three, four, five. And I would ask 'What are the prime numbers greater than 87?' and they would come up all in a row. That was pretty incredible," Wozniak said.

He was so impressed when he first saw the original app, he began telling his family and friends, saying “This was the future: speaking things in normal ways, feeling like you're talking to a human“¦”

So what happened when Apple bought Siri? Woz summed it up in one gesture. Big thumbs down.

"'What are the largest lakes in California?' I'd get all these lakefront properties. And I'd say, 'What are the prime numbers greater than 87?' And I'd get prime rib," said Woz.

"I think voice recognition for all the platforms is going to get better and better and better at putting together complete sentences and phrases. What did a human really mean?

Like, if you said, 'Five, I mean six.' It will understand a backup, the little faults in our speech that humans understand. It will understand that eventually."

It wasn´t all prime rib and lakefront properties for Woz, however. He did like the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display and thought Apple´s Passbook (the digital wallet app) looked rather promising.

When asked what he thought about Apple´s WWDC Keynote on Monday, Woz the horse simply whinnied.