Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

Summary: Apple has a beta tag on its Siri technology, but it's unclear whether the average bear views the service as a test run.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple's iPhone 4S had a Siri moment on the Howard Stern show when the service stumbled on questions, was roundly mocked and callers chimed in to say the servers the voice technology used appeared to be down.

Stern's biggest beef: Siri didn't quite work the way it does on Apple's commercials. In a nutshell, Stern said the commercials are horse poop (I'm paraphrasing).

As I explained the quips to colleagues there was a familiar refrain coming back at me. Siri works for some stuff, flails at other items and is a beta so you expect some hiccups.

Then it hit me. Apple doesn't really do betas and few real folks view Siri as a test run. Commercials don't usually highlight with betas.

So what is Siri? A beta that should be treated as such? Or a real service that's ready for prime time today? What's the perception gap here?

If you follow this theme, the Siri expectations are higher than they would be for betas from other companies.

The obvious comparison here is Google. Google launches a lot of betas and you come to expect some imperfections. Your tolerance for beta problems has an inverse relationship with the price you pay. Android 3.0 Honeycomb issues on a $499 tablet and patience is thin. A quirk on a free Google product barely raises an eyebrow.

Microsoft also has its beta products and you also expect a few hiccups. I view Vista as one big beta program for Windows 7. Microsoft probably disagrees.

When confronted with an Apple beta, I'm not quite sure how to react -- and I bet a lot of consumers are slightly befuddled too. Apple rarely does public betas---at least ones that are touted as the primary feature for a hot-selling iPhone. Is Siri's beta tag a crutch when few people view it as a test run?

Stern highlighted the expectations game for Apple. Siri wasn't viewed as a beta by any stretch. I'm not sure other consumers view Siri as a beta either. Fortunately for Apple other implementations of voice technologies have been betas---officially or not---for years.

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Topic: Apple

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  • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

    They used it as a main selling feature for their biggest product, personally I think the beta tag was just slapped on to explain hiccups and a marketing strategy to give the idea "if it works this well now then.."

    When I think beta I think testing, there not testing.. Their doing!
    Frenz9
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      @Frenz9

      It's not a beta.

      This is as good as Siri gets ;-)

      There's nothing funnier than watching people on television or your Apple friends demonstrate this wonderful device and it doesn't work. Good for laughs though.

      It's predecessor from the sixties ELIZA worked too and it was just as funny when it failed ;-)
      tonymcs@...
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      @Frenz9 It was noted as Beta at introduction but yes, is a big feature of the 4S. I agree that when I think of beta I think of testing and guess what, they are testing. Siri is the type of product that you need a far larger test base than any company can provide internally, thus release it to the public as a beta to complete the testing. Siri will work on other iOS products but is currently limited to only the 4S. Yes, it's a marketing thing to get people to upgrade but another very strong possibility is for testing. It's far better to do your testing via the smaller install base of a new device than releasing it to all devices. This no only allows them to test the code but also judge the server load and determine what if any upgrades are needed before a broader release.

      The above is based on common sense speculation but of course if you are small minded Apple hater like Tony here then common sense can not be applied to anything Apple related let alone allowing the use of facts.
      non-biased
  • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

    Siri was never promoted as a beta. If it was, it was hidden under very clever marketing. Sure, in the iPhone 4S launch key note, they did say it was a beta but it was never publicly promoted as such. The awful truth is that people around the world bought the iPhone 4S for Siri and it doesn't work for different accents. This is shitty. Why release a product worldwide if there is no support.

    Okay, now, Apple got its profits. Apple, I hope you are happy. Now please shut up, go back to your desks and bring out language support for every country you sold this language-recognition phone to.
    deepakpatnaik1
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      @deepakpatnaik1 <br>I can't think of any company that markets its products as beta. You have to pay for marketing so it really doesn't make any sense to do so. Besides, why do they need excuses a "beta" by Apple standards still beats all of it's competitors' official products. Whether it's good enough for you is a subjective question.<br><br>"The awful truth is that people around the world bought the iPhone 4S for Siri and it doesn't work for different accents."<br><br>That explains why Apple has such low customer satisfaction compared to competitors. Clearly people buying competitors' products are going I got exactly what I wanted when I bought this, but not Apple products.
      anono
      • The fact is that, Siri was the main feature in the 4S, and people paid

        a high price to "upgrade" to the latest iPhone. Without Siri, most of those that "upgraded" because of it, would have kept their regular iPhone3 or iPhone4 and not have paid for the beta which cost them $500 or more.

        So, was Siri worth paying $500 to get? The fact remains that, without Siri, the iPhone4S would have been basically an iPhone4, with slightly more capable hardware, but not worth paying $500 to $800 to upgrade. Apple pulled a fast one on the market, and the fanatics still don't see anything wrong with that. It's insane!
        adornoe
      • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

        @adornoe@... You use the word fact several times as if you have any clue what a fact is. Your version of "fact" when it comes to Apple is speculation and you didn't use one single fact in your post did you. Here is an actual fact that pretty much discredits the premise of your post, the 3GS was a very similar upgrade to the 3G that the 4S is to the 4 if you disregard Siri all together. Just as has happened with every iPhone release people bought up the 3GS as soon as they could. You like to pretend that the 4S ONLY sold because of Siri but history has shown that the hardware upgrades do indeed drive people to upgrade no matter what your FUD says.
        non-biased
  • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

    The only place that the beta tag shows up is the Apple website. All the marketing material for the web sent to US carriers makes no mention of the beta. IMO, they only call it beta as an excuse. Personally, I think they rushed it out to make up for a lack of iPhone 5 and smacked beta on their own material as a fall back position. Apple would never run a public beta unless it was stuck in a position it didn't want to be. So, it had to run a beta that wasn't really marketed as a beta ... what Siri is today. After all .... Apple has pushed its motto of 'it just works' for so long that it would have a hard time marketing something as a beta.
    Ididar
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      @Ididar
      Read my comment above. Why do they need excuses? A "beta" by their standards still beats competitors' official products. Considering how iPhone sales have been growing over the past few years, "stuck" isn't exactly how I'd describe them. The iphone 4 was the best selling phone by far before Siri or the upgraded hardware.
      anono
      • The fact remains that a beta product should not cost $500,

        and shouldn't even get charged for.

        Imagine if Microsoft were to release the upcoming Windows 8 beta as a paid "upgrade" and charged people some $200-$600 for it? How many people would complain to the better business bureau about that kind of hoodwinking?
        adornoe
      • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

        @adornoe@... The FACT is that Apple has not charged anybody for a beta product. People bought the 4S which does come with Siri but absolutely nobody was charged a single penny to buy Siri. If you want to keep posting the word fact then try backing it up with some actual facts for a change. I know it's something you have never done before but time to try something new.
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      duplicate
      anono
  • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

    Works for me 95% of the time. Who cares what Howard Stern thinks?
    dhmccoy
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      @dhmccoy Try the features in the commercial... Please tell us if it works like those.
      slickjim
    • I agree. I wonder how much MS paid him

      @dhmccoy
      to "have this problem" live on air. ;)
      William Farrell
      • Doesn't matter...

        and a product which costs $500 should be put through the wringer, no matter who's controlling the wringer. ll
        adornoe
      • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

        @adornoe@... Ok, I am starting to wonder, did somebody that owns a 4S mug you and take $500? That has got to be the case as the 4S starts at $199 with a contract and if you are not eligible for an upgrade because say you got a 4 last year you could sell that for $300 bringing you back down to $200. Of course you are allergic to facts so you obviously avoid them.
        non-biased
  • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

    You should read your comments more, that is what I have been saying for a month now! My complaint has always been that Apple slapped a Beta Tag on the Siri Feature Page but not in any commercials or advertising anywhere else.

    Crud, in the common areas VLingo, Speak to it and Siri share, Speak to it and VLingo are much better on Android!

    As for Apple not doing Beta, then why we're there so many issues with Snow Leopard and Lion on first release.
    slickjim
    • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

      @Peter Perry I have seen Google products marketed without the mention of being beta when they officially are but of course you give them a pass but not Apple right?

      Snow Leopard and Lion were not beta releases but just like EVERY major OS upgrade from EVERY OS provider there were issues. Wasn't a Mac user when SL came up but can speak from experience that I didn't have issues with Lion.
      non-biased
  • RE: Apple's Siri has beta moment, highlights expectations game

    The author discredits himself by bagging Vista in my opinion. I have deployed many Vista machines successfully for business and personal use. Virtually every person I deployed to was worried because of what they've read by moronic tech press and almost all of them were pleasantly surprised by Vista once they actually used it.
    lippidp