This week, along with the announcement of the iPhone 15, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 9. It was a relatively minor iterative update, but my One feature in particular caught my attention: Siri's offline mode.
Siri can be frustrating at the best of times, but on the Apple Watch it's especially bad because it seemingly doesn't work. unstable network connection. A long pause and the announcement “We’re working on it” is an all too common experience. Siri's offline mode with Apple Watch Series 9 could make this a thing of the past.
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Until now, Siri worked like this: You spoke into your watch's microphone, your audio samples were transcribed into text on the device, but interpretation of that text required sending that text to Apple's cloud of Siri servers. Then the clock would have to wait for a response back before they could fulfill your request.
It didn't matter whether what you asked was trivial or obvious, even the simplest requests required a clock. talk to the server to actually answer your request. And the watch's network connection is slow and unreliable.
The watch uses Bluetooth relays through the iPhone whenever possible to maximize power efficiency, but it's not exactly the fastest wireless networking method. Outside of iPhone range, the situation gets even worse, as you're at the mercy of the watch's small and weak Wi-Fi and/or cellular radio service.
Top comment Not Jony Quince
No matter how “bad” people say Siri is, I often use it for tasks like setting timers . It's much faster with Siri. Siri doesn't work from time to time – this is my #1 problem. This is a welcome change.
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In this regard, the Series 9 could be a big step forward, and Siri's loading indicator could be a thing of the past. Thanks to the increased power of the S9 chip, Apple uses natural language machine learning models on the watch itself, so some queries can be processed completely offline, without having to contact a server at all. There's no longer any reliance on the watch's spotty internet connection, which should make regular activities much faster.
I'm relatively confident that this will work as advertised, since Apple has already implemented a similar change for Siri on the iPhone. starting in 2021, improving response times and privacy.
One big question is what kinds of “basic” requests Watch can handle on its own, and what kinds will still need to be handled server-side. This list has not yet been approved. We'll know for sure when Series 9 launches next week, but I'm sure the two things I'm really excited about will be covered – running workouts and setting timers. Apple used the workouts as a Siri demo during the keynote, so that's a guarantee.
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