No Speaky to Bixby

Samsung says Bixby voice assistant won’t ship with Galaxy S8:

One of the key signature features of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, its Bixby voice assistant, won’t work out of the box, when the device goes on sale later this month. Other parts of Bixby, including its visual search and reminder abilities, will ship at launch, a Samsung representative told Axios in a statement.

Samsung really doesn’t like being reliant on Android to power all their mobile devices. Tizen is the most obvious example of this. TouchWiz is another. Bixby is the latest example.

What I want to know is if Samsung is truly invested in Bixby for the long-term?

Siri was very beta and had many problems when it first launched. Today it has much fewer, although it has a ways to go. Apple’s great at having the balls to ship 1.0 versions of products and then iterate year after year. Remember when everyone was bitching about the shitty colors, icons, and hard-to-read Helvetica Light in iOS 7? If you compare iOS 7 to iOS 10 you can see a lot has changed in four years.

Even if Samsung does decide to stick with Bixby, they have yet to prove they can ship top-quality software experiences on par with iOS and Android.

If Samsung is dreaming of overcoming Apple, they have some work ahead of them.

“Siri, replace yourself with Viv.”

For the last four years the creators of Siri have been working on a next generation AI called Viv:

The major difference between Siri and Viv is that the latter is a far more open platform. One of the biggest frustrations with Siri is that it has only a small number of tasks it can complete. For the vast multitude of requests or queries, Siri will default to a generic web search. Viv’s approach is much closer to Amazon’s Alexa or Facebook’s Messenger bots, offering the ability to connect with third party merchants and vendors so that it can execute on requests to purchase good or book reservations. The company’s tagline — intelligence becomes a utility — nicely sums up its goal of powering the conversational AI inside a multitude of gadgets and digital services.

Sounds awesome. I wonder if Apple will just buy Viv like they did Siri or if they’re going to be take Siri to the next level on their own.

There were negative reviews of Amazon’s Alexa when it came out but more and more I’m hearing positive experiences with it (from Apple nerds too).

Update: Here’s a video of Viv in action from TechCrunch Disrupt

When is WWDC?

In an unusual chain of events, it appears Apple is announcing the WWDC dates through Siri. Although the Apple website has not been updated with any new info, Siri is proudly proclaiming that WWDC 2016 will indeed be held in San Francisco from June 13th to June 17th. Although Siri didn’t explicitly say, it is almost certain that WWDC will once again be held at Moscone West, simply because it’s the best choice of venue for an event like this in San Francisco. This is an unusual announcement nonetheless, it being the first time Apple has used Siri as the primary announcement vehicle for one of its events. WWDC is expected to feature the unveiling of iOS 10, OS X 10.12 and more…


deliberately radical without regard for traditions

Timm Romine responding to Sean Geraghty’s criticisms that Apple has thrown out discoverability and usability in their products:

Sorry, Sean, and Don, and Bruce, but The Future won’t have buttons whose functions can be achieved without buttons, and it definitely won’t look like iOS 6. And you can argue it won’t look like iOS 7–9. But what’s certain, is the future of UI is minimalistic, sleek, simplistic — according to the sci-fi movies we revere.

Back in 2009 I wrote about the future of iconography. I speculated then—and Siri is now showing us now— that the interface of the future is no interface (I’m not suggesting I’m a genius, the writing was on the wall).

Just like learning any new language, learning the language of an interface takes varying degrees and practice before one is accustomed to it.

I’ve been maintaining this blog since 2006 so I’m used to the endless stream of doom-and-gloom pieces on Apple.

We, and Apple, are going to be ok.