Apple is refining Siri as part of its preparation for the iOS 8 update later this year. One of those refinements, alongside support for new languages like Arabic and Dutch, is getting the voice-to-text virtual assistant to better understand — and speak — the way Australians talk.
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According to MacRumors, a spate of Apple job listings for Siri Language Engineers posted in the last two weeks point to extra language support being added to the service in coming months, before the likely unveiling of iOS 8 in September or October.
A language engineer for Cloud Services Localisation in Australian English is the listing most relevant to Aussie users; the potential hire will be “developing natural language processing code specific to [the Australian] language”, and refining the way that Siri understands the Australian accent. Siri already understands Australian English OK and can reply in an Australian accent as of iOS 7.1, so the hire would likely expand the team and make things run a little more smoothly.
As it stands, Siri is pretty good at Australian accents — both listening and responding — but it’s clear that the virtual assistant is a work in progress for Aussie iPhone users. At least Apple is continuing development on Karen rather than just letting her sit idly after the initial launch.
The job listing doesn’t mince words, either; Apple’s language engineers are changing the world. “This is an opportunity to durably shape the future of human – computer interaction, and walk the bleeding edge of a nascent field.” [MacRumors]