Subtracting Siri Would Be a Mistake
Piper Jaffray’s Analyst Gene Munster reportedly issued a research note to clients speculating that Apple will exclude Siri from a forthcoming, low-cost version of the iPhone 5. Upon reflection it is my belief that such a tactic would be a big mistake. It is also mystifying because Siri, being software, does not add to the Bill of Materials for a new phone. With Google differentiating its new phone with speech commands tightly knit with anticipatory search and response, why someone would think Apple would counter with a lesser offering targeting the same potential subscriber base in a highly competitive market segment is a mystery.
Comparing Apple’s Siri to Google’s speech-enabled mobile offerings has been a long-time sport for Piper Jaffray (as Greg Sterling notes in this post at SearchEngineLand). Based on prior posts, I could easily categorize Munster as a Siri skeptic. But the real point is that smartphones are irreversibly multi-channel, multimedia and multimodal devices. Apple and Google benefit from each others’ promotion of speech-enabled functions and human-like interactions and now Amazon and perhaps even Facebook seem poised to enter the fray.
This is no time for any model of iPhone to remove the voice-based personal assistant.