Apple's campaign to leverage pop culture icons as pitch people for its voice search tool Siri has included the likes of John Malkovich, Samuel L. Jackson, and Zooey Deschanel. Now the company is appealing to its digital creator fan base by employing legendary film director Martin Scorsese as its latest Siri promoter.
Sure, Scorsese has received plaudits for his work on films like Goodfellas, Raging Bull, and The Departed, but only real film buffs will recognize that the man in the new advertisement isn't just some busy New Yorker interacting with Siri, but one of Hollywood's greatest talents. In what seems to be a nod to Scorsese's first hit film Taxi Driver, starring Robert Deniro, we see Scorsese huddled in the back of a yellow New York City taxi rapidly firing questions at Siri about everything from scheduling to traffic information to the real-time location of friend in the city. Interestingly, while Scorsese is the only non-actor in Apple's Siri commercial line-up, it's his commercial that comes off as the most natural and authentic.
While Apple certainly has the advantage over competing voice interface systems in terms of star power, recent trends indicate that Siri may be facing a stiff challenge from Google's new voice search tool included in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Last month, when Google's Hugo Barra introduced Google Voice Search to the audience at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, the demonstration was impressive, to say the least. Since then, some users have taken to YouTube to show off the differences between Siri and Google Voice Search, with Siri often taking a beating in terms of speed and accuracy.
For its part, Apple maintains that Siri is still a project "in beta." In fact, at the end of all of the Siri commercials, if you look closely you can clearly see a tiny message that reads "sequences shortened," indicating that the quick exchange seen in the video won't exactly match up to what happens in real situations. This kind of gap between advertising and reality has irked some users and even resulted in a lawsuit over what some felt were false claims made by Apple regarding the software's capabilities.
In May, Apple issued a response to those claims that essentially questioned the validity of the grievances due to the fact that the plaintiffs hadn't exercised their options to return the phones. Whether or not Siri lives up to the fast-paced, witty banter portrayed in the commercials, healthy voice search competition from Google and others means that voice-controlled smartphones are anything but a passing (and sometimes buggy) fad, and are likely here to stay.