Study shows Siri is not that smart, which is poor timing for Apple’s smart speaker debut

Apple wants in on the smart speaker business, but Siri is going to need an update if Apple wants to compete with Google or Amazon.

Bloomberg reports that Apple intends to debut a smart speaker similar to the Amazon Echo or Google Home in June. The device will allegedly differentiate itself from the competition through heightened integration with Apple devices and virtual surround sound technology. However, a recent study of personal voice assistants suggests that the Apple smart speaker might also stand out due to Siri’s inferior intelligence.

A digital marketing agency released the results of a survey of digital personal assistants and revealed the accuracy of Siri’s answers are far below that of the Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa.

Digital marketing agency Stone Temple studied the capabilities Alexa, Siri, Cortana and the Google Assistant. They asked each system the same 5,000 questions and categories the answered based on criteria including:

1. If the assistant answered verbally
2. Whether an answer was received from a database (like the Knowledge Graph)
3. If an answer was sourced from a third-party source (“According to Wikipedia …”)
4. How often the assistant did not understand the query
5. When the device tried to respond to the query, but simply got it wrong

The Google Assistant — found on the Google Home — answered the greatest percent of answers (68.1 percent) with the highest accuracy: 90.6 percent of the answers given were 100 percent complete and correct.

Cortana gave the next highest number of answers at 56.5 percent. Siri, while not performing great at 21. 7 percent, still managed to answer more questions than Alexa, which answered 20.7 percent.

It’s worth noting, however, that while Siri answered a smidge more answers, Alexa was a solid 25 percent more accurate than Siri. (Alexa answered completely and correctly 87 percent of the time; Siri had 62.2 percent correct answers.)

The Stone Temple study breaks down the different results in a very digestible way, and is certainly worth reviewing if you plan on investing in a home smart speaker or personal assistant any time soon.