What does Apple’s Latest Acquisition of PullString Means?

by Josh Biggs in Mobile on 17th April 2019

It is an established fact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the way we interact with technology. Where before we had to carry out unsavory tasks on our own, now, we can simply ask an AI assistant to do them for us—minimizing effort, economizing energy and saving time. This innovative tech works like this: It reads the habitual behaviors, checks the contextual parameters, and then, automates chores in an incredible way. Take the example of a smart lock that senses your presence on the porch, and then opens/closes the front door for you. Or, for that matter, a fitness tracker, which records everything from your heartbeat to your sleeping patterns, and then suggests customized workout routines to you. These and the rest are the accomplishments of Artificial Intelligence, which keeps on progressing with the passing times—aiming to unlock new levels of human convenience.

In the present era, a unique AI functionality has surfaced, especially in the smartphone market, which works on the basis of voice command. In principle, you just have to say the word and your work is done by the AI. That is advanced voice assistance for you, brought to the integrated AI in your phones by the mobile companies. Studies predict that about 50% of all online searches on mobiles will be carried out via voice command by 2020 (ComScore). What does this fact signify? That you need to update your handsets to those that do support voice assistance, as therein lies the future.

Siri’s Downfall

It has been some years since Apple introduced Siri in one of its mobile lineups. Siri—a voice-activated, AI assistant with almost-human-like remarks and responsive tendencies—swept the world by storm at its inception. People readily joined the iPhone cult just so they could enjoy the companionship and the uber-convenience that this witty voice assistant promised to provide. For a time, everything went well. But then, glitches from the backend started slowing things down, along with affecting its dependability ratio. This created loopholes in the market which were later monetized by the competitors, such as Google and Amazon.

In other words, Siri may have laid the ‘rock’ for voice assistant tech, yet given its held-back potential, it was gradually superseded. USA Today reports that Google Assistant currently caters to the largest audience of around 1 billion, usage wise, in addition to executing the ‘voice search capability’ by a success score of 90%, according to Meeker. Whereas, Amazon’s Alexa holds the top position when it comes to device compatibility. I mean, even smart washing machines, toilets, and spectacles respond to Alexa-based commands, said from the other room, over a free-flowing home network (Check: Frontier Internet Plans). It’s not for nothing that Amazon Echo was the top-selling personal voice assistant of 2019 (

Siri’s Comeback

So, where does Siri stand? At the “brittle and inflexible” software brink ( Incapable of overcoming the iPhone-bound physical restriction? Apple says no. Yes, this year, Siri is said to make a blasting comeback, aiming to overtop its contemporaries in the voice assistance niche. How do we know that? Because of the PullString deal that the representatives of Apple have recently finalized just under a $100.

Something you should know about PullString is that it is a San Francisco based startup which specializes in the amalgamation of voice recognition and artificial intelligence. It has been operating since 2011 when voice AI was still a novelty. Formerly known as ToyTalk, PullString was the power-force behind the interactive tech which you find in popular conversational toys, like ‘Hello Barbie’. More recently, however, it has shifted its focus towards creating voice apps for high-end organizations, like Google and Amazon, while also dabbling in IoT hardware.

Siri’s Original App

Applications are the essence of any smartphone, and lend it relevancy + meaning. With voice assistance technology brought to mobile apps, the interaction between smart devices and the AI assistants can be lubricated to a great degree. In other words, once the apps like ‘Google Actions’ or ‘Alexa Skills’ hit the market, you will be able to scan through the entire blueprint of commands you can voice out through your smartphone assistants to the corresponding network of devices appended in your surroundings. Cool, right?

Consequently, this latest PullString deal with Apple sounds super promising, in that it aims to help the tech giant slough off its ‘voice’ based deficiencies and come up to the level of Alexa or Google. With such a cool alliance in place, you can expect Siri to get a whole new makeover in the upcoming months, courtesy of the advanced toolkit that PullString boasts of. You may find Siri’s compatibility extended across multiple smartphone apps, its conversational experience made much more flexible and its backend glitches permanently fixed. You may even see original Siri apps come into existence.

The possibilities of this acquisition are endless!

Categories: Mobile