Siri won’t just joke and tell you that the best smartphone around is the one you’re using Siri on. She’ll also be ironic and tell you the iPhone 4S is the least popular smartphone on Earth.
Earlier this week, Siri — the iPhone 4S’s little voice assistant — raised something of a ruckus when she started saying that the Nokia Lumia 900 was the best smartphone around. It wasn’t really Siri saying it, of course, but Wolfram Alpha, the answer engine that Apple licenses to respond to some (but not all) Siri queries. It was embarrassing, so Apple tweaked the algorithm so that instead of using Wolfram Alpha if someone asked what the best smartphone was, they got a joke answer instead, including “The one you are holding,” “There are other phones?” and “You’re kidding, right?”
Nokia, of course, immediately declared a conspiracy. “Apple positions Siri as the intelligent system that’s there to help, but clearly if they don’t like the answer, they override the software,” was their official statement. (And yes, that’s true, Nokia. Siri’s a beta.)
Whine whine whine. The truth of the matter is, Apple hasn’t reprogrammed Siri to joke only when asked what the best smartphone is. Siri will also joke if you ask her what the least popular smartphone is. And yes, she’ll even sarcastically tell you that the iPhone 4S is the least popular phone around, in complete defiance of the actual state of affairs of the mobile landscape.
We were curious if Siri would answer all queries about the best or worst smartphones this way, but after a lot of time asking Siri what the stupidest or ugliest or most feminine smartphone is, all we get are web search results. Siri will only answer this way if you ask what the best, most popular or least popular smartphone. Otherwise, she plays dumb. Too bad. That could have been fun.
- Thanks Jeff M.