Local Siri

Here’s my WWDC prediction for 2018:

Siri will be significantly replaced with a new, on-device Siri.

A few attributes of this new Siri that would make it interesting, and give it a shot of coexisting in a world with Google Assistant, Alexa and Cortana:

  • Requests will run directly on your device. No more waiting for your voice to be uploaded and the response downloaded, no more spotty Siri when your network connectivity is down. This will significantly increase response time and reliability.
  • Siri will treat your devices as a single cloud, fetching information from other devices or sending a request to the device best suited to process it.

This goes a step beyond where Siri is today regarding your privacy, and from that perspective it’s totally in sync with Apple’s privacy stance. But does doing things locally mean worse results?

I don’t think it has to. Some questions will require a network request, like asking how long it would take to drive somewhere, but if you’re an Apple user who’s all-in with iCloud, all your data is already on your device. Your documents, your calendars, messages, emails, can all be scanned by machine learning right on your device. Spotlight already does this for indexing.

So asking “What movies are playing nearby” will result in an internet request, but “Open the garage door” would not, since that can be completely handled inside your house on your local LAN. If you’re out, it will send a message to one of your other devices that is at home, like the Apple TV or HomePod. This is how HomeKit works today.

This is what I’d like to see, but since I’ve never been right with my WWDC predictions, I’d suggest not getting your hopes up.