This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Apple: Without a Much-Improved Siri, CarPlay Will Be a Dud

Stocks in this article: AAPL GM SIRI P

Author's Note: This article was written late last week while testing Eyes-Free Siri on a Chevy Sonic. Monday morning Apple announced CarPlay, billed as "the best iPhone experience on four wheels." Curiously, there's no direct mention of Eyes-Free Siri in Apple's marketing or official press release on this new feature. Based on the the way Eyes-Free Siri functions, that's not a surprise (as illustrated in this article). For CarPlay to be a success, Siri must be better. Hopefully we'll see a new and improved Siri accompany this renewed in-car infotainment effort from Apple. If it's basically Eyes-Free Siri rebranded, but not improved, don't expect much. It will end up Siri operating through your vehicle's dashboard with all the same stops, starts, bugs, miscues and miscommunications that hurt the present Siri experience.

That said, I would be shocked if Siri is not greatly improved -- as in way more intelligent -- in this forthcoming iteration. Because, of course, we would expect nothing less from Apple, a company obsessively focused on details and perfection in execution.

So read the present article with this in mind and then color me prescient or flame me as an Apple hater. The truth likely sits somewhere in the middle. 

For more details on CarPlay, see Chris Ciaccia's Apple Want Its Piece Of the Connected Car

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First things first ...

For the most part, I have nothing but good things to say about the Chevy Sonic from General Motors (GM).

The folks at GM were nice enough to let me borrow one so I could test Apple's (AAPL) Eyes-Free Siri.

I'm not much of a car guy, but for $20,000 -- give or take a few grand depending on model/options -- I'm confident enough in my feel for the driving experience to say the Sonic provides strong value. Frankly, when I looked at the car I wasn't expecting much. However, once I drove it, that changed. It's every bit as comfortable and feels just as powerful as my 2013 Toyota (TM) Prius (which I am also happy with).

That said, I have to question GM and, more so, Apple's decision to go nuts to the struts marketing Eyes-Free Siri on Winter Olympics (and other) broadcasts.

Surely, you've seen the television spot by now:

GM beat us to death with that thing during the Olympics. So much so I figured I had to drive a car equipped with Eyes-Free Siri. I needed to discover what all the commercially manufactured fuss was about.

My logic: If GM and Apple, assuming Apple has a say in these matters (read on, but remember that thought for the narrative conclusion on Page Two), decided to feature nothing other than Eyes-Free Siri on the Equinox commercial, it must be otherworldly good.

The reality: Going back to consistent use of Siri reminded me just how bad it can be. And Eyes-Free Siri is little more than a marketing ploy ... a name attached to functionality you can achieve in vehicles not officially outfitted with Eyes-Free Siri. In fact, this functionality, at times, works better in my Prius than it did the Sonic.

All of this leads me to argue (and reassert) that Tim Cook needs to fix two major problems at Apple:

Siri (obviously) and Apple's increasingly damaging external partnerships.

In fact, in a vignette of irony, GM's advertising drew me closer to dropping a couple bucks on another item that goes by "SIRI," Sirius XM (SIRI) Satellite Radio.

My Sonic was equipped with XM. That allowed me to listen to E Street Radio. Long ago, I subscribed almost solely for that station (and a little Howard Stern). Every time I was in the Sonic, I found myself drawn to the satellite radio option. In fact, the only reason why I continued to employ Eyes-Free Siri was for the purposes of this article.

At this juncture in Siri's development, it would have made more sense for GM (and saved Apple the embarrassment) to feature Sirius XM as an option and/or tout Pandora (P) functionally. Though, as I explain in this article, if you have an iPhone that experience falls meaningfully short.

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,590.21 +233.34 1.34%
S&P 500 2,039.82 +26.93 1.34%
NASDAQ 4,703.61 +59.2980 1.28%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs