Apple's Siri Voice Commands

At its meeting today, Apple released one key piece of iOS 5 that was not much talked about before–Siri.  In April of this year, Apple had acquired Siri, “your personal assistant,” for somewhere around US$100 to US$200 million. At the time, most people didn’t think much of it. However, Apple has now made it a key part of the new iOS 5, using the catchphrase “Your wish is its command.”

Recently, I expressed my thoughts about iOS 5 in an article about the top 5 features that iOS 5 copied from Android. After this morning’s announcement, you can chalk up another point for Android; that is, there are now top 6 features that iOS 5 copied from Android. Google has been offering voice search functionality on Android since 2009, and voice commands functionality on Android since 2010.

Google Voice Actions for Android gives your voice (yes, literally, that sound that starts in your throat and comes out of your mouth) the force of a command to do stuff like the following:

  • Send text messages
  • Listen to music
  • Get directions
  • Call businesses
  • Call your contacts
  • Send email
  • View a map
  • Go to websites
  • Write a note
  • Search Google

Both Siri and Google Voice Actions offer basically the same functionality and features. However, Siri, originally a third-party app, will be removed from iOS devices and will only be available again after the said devices are upgraded to iOS 5. More specifically, iOS5 will only be available for the iPhone 3GS upwards, and the two latest versions of the iPod Touch.

Apple has some explaining to do for the iOS users who will be stripped of Siri and cannot upgrade to iOS 5. Finally, as if borrowing Voice Commands from Android was not enough, Apple just had to go Google and stick the beta tag on Siri.

Who’s the copycat, really?  Who’s really looking up to whom?

Matthew Sabatini
Matt has been an Android fanatic since the original Motorola Droid. In addition to designing web pages, running his own company, and going to school, he finds time to write for Android Authority. Matt still owns that good old Droid 1 and a Xoom Family Edition.
  • AppleFUD

    The thing about Siri is, apple did a better job demoing it than Google did their voice integration technology. That’s where Android is often let down–the marketing.

    If you watch the demo you think, wow. . . siri just knows what to do.

    That’s because they are hiding the voice commands pretty well however, you will still have to have the commands in what you say or it will not work, e.g. “email bob”

  • The acquisition pricing is $200 million not billion by the way.

  • Eugew23

    True, Google had the concept of the voice commands on Android devices first. However, you gotta give credit to Apple for executing it well, even better than Google did with their Voice Actions. Still, from notifications to voice commands, android had it first.

    • Herve

      Google did not invent Voice commands. It’s much more older than that.

  • Matthew Cummings

    watch the video on the apple site of Siri in action it has gone above what Android can do currently, it is much better and I own an Infuse……

    • Jailbreakme

      yes it is, agreed 100%…
      But is a lot easier to spend 200 Millions to buy 3rd party program to add to an improved version of the Iphone 2g, 3g, 3gs, 4…. (you get the point), that make your own aplication, they haven’t changed IOS in a long long time, they just add more things to it and improve little by little their phones, the Iphone fans are always there to fund them, and they love to get ripped off, if Android wasn’t where is at now or if never existed…. How much the Iphone 4s will cost you guys?
      How much do the 3g was with a 2 year contract before Android came out? you should be happy Android is out, your new toy is at least 300 dollars cheaper.
      Anyways Mac did not make SIRI… they bought it and if you want it you have to get the Iphone 4s. Or Jailbreak your phone, but is too much work and there is not gonna be unthetered Jailbreak for the IOS5 (beta), so sit and wait anyways, why Jailbrake?. Android doesn’t need a computer in order to work or root (jailbrake for Android is called root, we need to do this in order to get rid of the handcuffs set by carriers not by Android, what about Iphone users?), but you can manage your computer with an Android phone.
      Android comes in many flavours and fits many budgets, Iphone only for big carries… I might not have the best Android phone… but I definitely can have and Android phone and I can add memory later if needed, can’t say the same about Iphones, only 1 choice like it or not, not even an option made by Apple in where they can offer from day 1 on what size screen you want 3.5, >4… I will not be surprised if they came out with an Iphone 4S with a >4 screen 1 month before the Iphone 5 is released (but maybe their proud will not let them do it, 3.5inches till Iphone 7Gsxr revision25 beta).

  • Lundehundt

    if I have to remember the syntax of a spoken command I better type it

    • Siri3g

      And that is what Iphone is all about, people that need the shortbus, can’t handle choices or customize anything, so yes you better get the phone :)

  • Chris

    This article looks remarkably similar to Bill Palmer’s articles at Beatweek: poorly researched and cherry picked evidence used to support the argument of a writer that comes off as little more than a fanboy. The difference is that Bill Palmer is all about the iPhone.

    Most objective readers would agree that iOS integration with Siri is clearly an idea taken from Android. I, and others, would also agree that it can be frustrating when people think Apple revolutionized smartphones again when Android has had this functionality for about a year. Finally, I personally think that it is a bit of dick move from Apple to pull the Siri app from the App Store so that users are forced to buy a new device to use it, even though their existing device is perfectly capable of running it.

    However, Siri can do more than Android voice commands, and you know it. Android’s voice commands cannot interact with calendars, or set up location-based reminders, or check weather, or respond to natural speech. Even though the original idea came from Android, the iPhone is now able to do it better. Google will likely improve voice commands in the future to offer a similar feature set, but at this point, Siri is tops, and your refusal to acknowledge that comes off as idiocy and arrogance.

    I have a Droid X myself (I would never want an iPhone), and I sort of hate Apple, but I do have the sense to acknowledge reality.

    • Brooks

      I agree with basics of your post but I’ve just tried Voice actions and it CAN react correctly or close enough to things like: “Remind me in two days to call Bob”. Puts entry in your calendar two days from now at time you entered command. It will read exactly as spoken: Remind me in two days to call Bob. It will also respond to “What’s the temperature in Raleigh, North Carolina” response: “It is mostly cloudy and 72 deg F.” Also “How many ounces is 32 grams?” responded, after a couple of tries to get question correctly input: 1.1 ounces.

  • Simple

    Lol this article is amazingly poor. Voice control has existed for YEARS, before even iPhone and Android were on the scene. iPhone has had Voice Control too by the way, before Siri.

    Siri is NOT a voice control interface, it is a form of artificial intelligence, and understands indirect as well as direct commands.

    Looks like a lot of Android fanboys are in Egypt hehehe (check photo)

  • Moo

    If they bough Siri in 2009, who copied who? They didn’t just slap this in. Have you SEEN Siri? Only a fool would compare what it can do to Andriods’s voice commands.

    I agree fanboy article or Apple hater.

  • Moo

    Apple has revolutionized voice control because Siri works in a natural and intuitive way, the feedback and context presented are spot on and the understanding of what you mean is far superior than voice commands.

    One person below said, but you’ll still have to at send email. Ermmm what else WOULD you say? If you really had an assistant, you still would need to say send and email, the differenece is that yoh can say it as send an email to bob, or write bob an email, which splits up th words and is natural and clearly isn’t looking for the word send…??

  • Microsoft and PC HW makers, Google and Droid phone makers. Similar. Great products no doubt. All innovators. Some Sci-fi book had it a century before all these damm devices, yes or no. Ever watch spce oddessy? Apple refines exsisting technology to the next level. They really test specific SW with specific HW and dial it. They visualize a clean way to implement features and do not take pride in being first. They take pride in being BEST.