The Path Siri is Taking Towards Human Intelligence. Or Not

| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week of February 26th

The Secret Success of the Apple Watch

Two separate estimates confirm that Apple sold over 17 million Apple Watches last year. In this report from MacRumors a fairly detailed picture of the amazing success of the Apple Watch is presented. “Apple Watch Outsold All Competing Smartwatches Combined Last Year.” There, a senior research analyst with IDC notes:

Consumer preferences have shifted to more sophisticated devices and towards well recognized brands.”

Compare Apple Watches to find the one you need. Image of Series 3 LTE.

Apple Watch Series 3 LTE

My take in that is that Apple is able to build new products that integrate well into its own ecosphere and thereby become more pleasing and enduring. Other companies can sell products that are less expensive, maybe look cool, but don’t become part of what the pros call a “total system solution.” So the other smartwatches end up in a drawer.

In that light, when Apple might ship a Series 4 model remains up in the air. History suggests that it may well be in September of 2018, but Apple has shown recently that it’s ready to give up a slavish devotion to annual schedules in favor of major breakthroughs. This was discussed on the Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast from March 1st.

We’re reaching the point now in 2018 where Series 0 customers from 2015 may well be considering a upgrade, further fueling the sales numbers. The sales curve for the Apple Watch could very well end up looking like the early iPhone. That is, the slow growth part of the exponential rise generates great criticism that later fades as the curve is climbs exponentially. We’re seeing that kick in.

More Debris

• Speaking of building an ecosystem and seamlessly integrating itself into our daily lives, Amazon is doing just that with its package delivery system that will soon feature the Ring home security doorbell system. “Why Amazon Can Crush Apple in the Smart-Home Market” The title sounds incendiary, but follow me here. Amazon is building one kind of infrastructure and Apple is building a different one because each sells a different class of products. That’s why the author sees Alexa crushing Siri.

Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, Google Home smart speakers

HomePod, Echo, and Home. Each recognizes speech; each has its own ecosystem to support.

But Apple is also building one of its infrastructures around (Apple) music, TV entertainment, and very secure home automation. That dictates the design of HomePod. And in that design, Apple is focusing on music in a way that doesn’t cater to an open system design for music services. And so, “Spotify considers flagship smartphones and smart speakers from Amazon, Apple, and Google a threat to its business.” Who saw that coming?

The point is that one has to have the big picture in mind before comparing products that seem to look and work alike but support vastly different agendas and ecosystems.

• This last week, I wrote about how my iPhone X had become my new second screen, replacing an iPad for that specific use. Unknown to me, two other authors were also writing about larger iPhone displays. They have some great analysis and supporting information.

• And if that happens to whet your appetite for where Apple may going in 2018, here’s another Bloomberg article by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu that peers into what Apple may have in store. Check it out. “Apple Plans Giant High-End iPhone, Lower-Priced Model.

Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features.

So there you have it. A short peek into the future and how the major players are building systems to integrate completely into our lives. That’s why Amazon tried to get into the smartphone business a few years ago. But that product failed. The question is, how well will each player build new products that augment their ecosystems and attempt to squeeze each other out?

kuri home robot

Mayfield Robotics Kuri. Get ready.

And I haven’t even delved into robot companions here. “Family Robot Companions Are Evolving Fast, Will Soon Be Common.”

Take a deep breath.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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Hofstadter’s critique of AI driven translation is basically an elaboration of John Searle’s Chinese Room thought experiment which points out that computers are incapable of truly understanding anything, i.e. concepts, ideas, what ‘anger’ really means, what it means to ‘like’ something, etc. All they do is manipulate symbols based on a set of rules. Used to be, under GOFAI (good old fashioned AI) those rules were devised by these strange creatures called ‘programmers’, in the post GOFAI regime of Machine Learning we have a higher order of rule making where the rules are made by an even stranger creature called… Read more »


I have been forever annoyed while driving when a radio commercial comes on with siren noises or other noises that sound like possible car troubles. And then there’s the PSA against even reading texts while driving that starts off with and includes several sounds of a text received alert. It is only a matter of time when a radio commercial triggers a voice activated assistant to do something unwanted or even dangerous. Voice recognition would at least reduce such a possibility but I do wish that radio stations and advertisers would be more considerate.

Frank Carlet
Frank Carlet

“solution looking for problem” Exactly right, but you finally put into words what I had been thinking for quite a while.


AppleWatch: The idea of the AppleWatch really coming into its own sounds about right. I said when it was released that it would be about the fifth generation before I’d get one and as features get added it’s looking like that should be about right. For reference my first iPhone was a 5C, Home Automation: Whether Amazon/Alexa crushes Apple/Siri misses the point. I still have not seen a compelling case for it. Today a bunch of us were chatting at work. There were engineers, programmers, systems people, and such. All very tech savvy, all very geeky, and all dismissive of… Read more »


Whenever a company tries to sell you a smart device with the promise of ‘easy set up’ and ‘hassle free updates’, it is best to run for the hills.


For me, Siri won’t be a real AI assistant until I can say “Siri, take the Apple users agreement that came with my iFridge and sing it to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivans Modern Major General” and it does.