On-device Siri processing might resolve one of the biggest pain points of using the Apple Watch | Technology

Apple Watch Siri Offline.jpg

Alongside the iPhone 15 announcement, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 9 this week. It was a relatively minor iterative update, but one feature in particular caught my attention: offline Siri.

Siri can be frustrating at the best of times, but it is particularly poor on the Apple Watch due to its seemingly unstable network connection. A long pause and a “Working on that” announcement is an ever too common experience. Offline Siri with the Apple Watch Series 9 could make this a thing of the past.

The way Siri worked up to now is that you would talk into your Watch’s microphone, your audio samples are transcribed into text on device, but interpretation of that text required sending that text to Apple’s cloud of Siri servers. The watch would then have to wait for a response back before being able to enact your request.

It doesn’t matter if what you were asking was trivial or obvious, even for the simplest queries, the Watch needed to talk to a server in order to actually respond to your request. And the Watch’s network connection is slow and unreliable.

The Watch falls back on Bluetooth relay via the iPhone whenever it can to maximize power efficiency, but this isn’t exactly the fastest method of wireless networking. Out of range of the iPhone, the situation…

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