Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Apple iPhone X early adopters: We love everything about the phone, except Siri

iPhone X owners are happy with every aspect their purchase, with one glaring exception.

A new survey of iPhone X owners has found extremely high levels of satisfaction with every single key feature of the device, but just 20 percent satisfaction with Siri.

Although Siri's poor performance in the survey might not be a major surprise, the result for Apple's virtual assistant is a huge deviation from the finding by tech analyst Creative Strategies that overall 97 percent of customers are satisfied with the device.

The company also found that 85 percent of iPhone X owners are "very satisfied" with their device, meaning a large portion of the overall satisfied number is not just satisfied but very satisfied.

Creative Strategies' principal analyst Ben Bajarin said this result is one of the highest 'very satisfied' rankings he's even seen with a tech product.

An earlier study he conducted with Firstly on how Apple Watch owners felt about that device found 97 percent of customers are satisfied, but only 66 percent are very satisfied.

The latest survey looks at satisfaction levels with the iPhone X's design, speed, camera, OLED display, FaceID, battery life, handling, and portrait-mode pictures.

FaceID, which replaced the home button and introduced a major change to how iPhone owners interact with the device, has been well received, with a customer satisfaction score of over 90 percent.

Besides Siri, two features where Apple could eke out higher levels of satisfaction are portrait-mode pictures and portrait-mode selfies. However, even here these two features have respectable scores of over 80 percent and over 60 percent, respectively.

Even though Siri is not unique to the iPhone X, Bajarin justifies its inclusion in the survey because Apple made "unique optimizations with on-device performance and machine learning that exist with Siri on iPhone X due to the new processor design".

That Siri needs to improve is unlikely to come as a surprise to Apple, whose voice assistant is often seen as lagging behind AI voice assistants from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. To change this situation, Apple recently hired Google's former head of search and AI, John Giannandrea, to lead its machine-learning AI strategy.

Apple is also ramping up it is hiring engineers to work on Siri. According to Thinknum, Apple has posted hundreds of Siri-related job listings since the beginning of the year. Apple's jobs website currently lists 197 Siri-related vacancies.

The response from iPhone X owners to Siri stands out as particularly bad in an otherwise positive survey.


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