Apple seeks an army of engineers to make Siri smarter

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Siri as matchmaker
Siri is surely going to get smarter with Apple hiring 100+ for the development team.
Photo: Apple

Apple wants to hire 142 people for Siri-related jobs, almost twice as many as this time last year. Clearly, the company is serious about turning around its troubled voice-driven digital assistant.

Siri has been a sore spot for Apple lately. Voice access is a weak point in the otherwise-stellar HomePod, while rival smart speakers using Amazon’s Alexa draw positive reviews.

News of the push to hire Siri engineers comes from analysis company Thinkum, which tracked Apple job openings with the term “Siri” in them. The number of Siri job listings grew steadily starting last July. A February spike put the company at its new high.

Apple hiring Siri developers
The number of Apple job openings with the word “Siri” continues to rise.
Graphic: Thinkum

That’s exactly when the HomePod launched, accompanied by numerous reviews complaining that Siri was the weakest feature of Apple’s smart speaker. The Apple hiring spree indicates Cupertino heard those criticisms.

Siri job listings might mean bright future

Earlier this month, details of in-fighting on the Siri development team came to light. The company reportedly can’t decide whether the AI assistant should just answer short questions and follow simple commands, or if it should handle complex tasks.

Siri is currently only up to the most basic requests. Meanwhile, Amazon Alexa is much more full-featured, thanks to numerous “skills” whipped up by third-party developers.

The big surge in Apple hiring for the Siri project might indicate that Apple made up its mind to compete head-to-head with Alexa.