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.
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.