Apple is hiring hundreds of engineers to make Siri smarter

2 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Trends

Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) hiring trend data suggests that the company is finally taking its Siri intelligent assistant seriously. According to hiring data that we track at Thinknum, the number of open positions that contain the term "Siri" has accelerated in recent weeks, with a current all-time high of 161 job listings posted today alone. This marks a jump in hiring for the keyword of 24% in just over a month.

As you see in the chart above, hiring for Siri-focused positions accelerated in mid-February. The hiring trend has been on an upward trajectory since summer 2016, but only recently did the openings spike so acutely. 

Apple has come under fire of late for Siri's lagging intelligence, especially when compared to her competitors at Amazon and Google.

The job openings are largely based at Apple's new headquarters in the Santa Clara Valley. Of the 161 openings, 125 are based there.

City

Unique ID (Count)

Santa Clara Valley

125

Cambridge, UK

10

SF - Corporate

10

Seattle

5

Shanghai (China APO Only)

4

Singapore

1

Beijing (China APO Only)

1

Madrid

1

Munich

1

Ottawa

1

Hong Kong

1

Tokyo-PD

1

Of the 161 openings, almost all — 154 of them — are categorized as "Software Engineering".

Category

Unique ID (Count)

Software Engineering

154

Design

1

Product Management

3

Information Systems and Technology

3

As for patterns in the job titles, the most common title is "Siri - Software Engineer", of which there are 5 positions. With three positions, "Siri - iOS Engineer" has three replicated openings. The rest is a smattering of engineering skillsets, from Infrastructure Engineers, to Machine Learning Engineers, to Natural Language Processing (NLP) Engineers.

Sending Siri to School

It's easy to see that this is a concerted effort by Apple to make Siri smart. Or, at least, smarter than she has been. It's no secret that Siri is perceived as lagging behind her competing AI cousins at Amazon (Alexa), Google (Google Assitant), and Microsoft (Cortana). While the other assistants are picking up new skills on a daily basis (Alexa Skills and Google Actions are massive, growing categories), Siri is still struggling to take notes and turn off lights. When Apple released the long-awaited HomePod, critics praised the speaker's sound quality but unanimously called it crippled by Siri's lack of smarts.

It's clear from our hiring data trail that Apple knows where it needs to improve.

"Hey Siri - get your learn on," the company appears to be saying. In this case, the tutors are software engineers.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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