(Pocket-lint) – Apple is reportedly keen to ditch its famous “Hey Siri” trigger phrase, choosing instead to allow people to simply say “Siri” to invoke the assistant.
All digital voice assistants require users to say a specific phrase in order to get their attention, with “Hey Siri” having been Apple’s phrase of choice for years. But a new report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, writing via his weekly Power On newsletter, has that about to change.
Gurman reports that Apple is already testing the removal of “Hey” from its trigger phrase, making it quicker and easier for people to begin a Siri request hands-free. While iPhones and other Apple devices can invoke Siri via the press of a button, it’s the voice-activated feature that makes similar assistants so useful. And Apple hopes that making its trigger shorter will make it faster for people to use on HomePods and other devices, like the iPhone 14.
However, while Gurman notes that this might “seem like a small change”, it’s actually more complicated than many might think. “Making the switch is a technical challenge that requires a significant amount of AI training and underlying engineering work”, he says. Apple is reportedly already in the midst of that training, with employees using “Siri” themselves in an attempt to get the assistant up to speed.
Gurman also points to the fact Siri needs to be able to understand multiple accents and dialects as another stumbling block, with the previous “Hey Siri” trigger giving Siri more words from which to device the user’s intention. By removing one of those words, Apple risks accidental triggers or simply Siri not responding at all.
The single-word trigger phrase isn’t a new idea, however. Alexa, Amazon’s own digital assistant, handles it just fine. But “Alexa” is a more complex word with an additional syllable when compared with “Siri”, making it easier for software to pick up.
Writing by Oliver Haslam.