In a clear bid to bolster the usage and effectiveness of its voice-driven personal assistant platform, Apple is looking to expand its in-house Siri development team by leaps and bounds over the course of the coming year.
Specifically, the company is hoping to hire as many as 142 new engineers to join its Siri development team in varying capacities, according to independent analytics company, Thinknum.
Thinknum’s findings were revealed in one of the firm’s most recent analyses of all currently available Apple jobs containing the key search term, “Siri”.
As you can see in the aggregated chart pictured below, Apple’s available job listings for Siri team members saw its most significant spike around the month of July, 2017, and has steadily but healthily increased in the months since — with early 2018 also seeing sizable boosts in the availability of them.
What’s most interesting about these revelations, of course, is that Siri jobs saw their first big surge of 2017 around the same time Apple announced its HomePod speaker at the Worldwide Developers conference (WWDC) in June — saying at the time that its high-quality audio (but predominantly Siri-only) device would launch around the end of December, 2017, according to earlier reports.
However as we awaited HomePod’s arrival – you may recall that Apple encountered a string of manufacturing setbacks which prompted Apple to delay the speaker until earlier this year — ironically, around the same time that Thinknum’s data reveals the largest spike in available Siri-related jobs.
This apparent surge in hiring likewise occurred around the same time that preliminary HomePod reviews detailed a range of hiccups and inconsistencies in the speaker’s effectiveness responding to even the most basic commands. At the same time, Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo speakers were being hailed as more “full-featured” offerings with more advanced capabilities baked in.
A Brighter Future for Siri
It appears that as Apple’s difficulty making and releasing HomePod on-time increased, so too did the company’s desire to hire more Siri-centric professionals to help make the speaker even better.
More damaging, was a report which surfaced late last month revealing a rather turbulent internal environment — laden with conflicts of interest and overall direction — which had materialized among Apple’s existing Siri team members, as they struggled to arrive at a consensus on the best way to proceed in making Siri the best she can possibly be.
It’s certainly worth noting that amid the internal conflicts and lackluster reception to HomePod, Apple has maintained that it has no clear intentions of simply giving up on its voice-driven personal assistant platform. And so, if and when these 142 Siri jobs are ultimately filled, it’s reasonable to assume the platform could receive the much needed boost it’s in dire need of.
Continue Reading: Has Apple Dropped the Ball on Siri?
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