Apple asks its San Diego Siri quality control team to relocate to Texas

Apple asks its San Diego Siri quality control team to relocate to Texas

Apple is undergoing a significant organizational change, combining its San Diego team, which comprises 121 employees responsible for reviewing Siri interactions, with a team in Austin, Texas. The decision to merge the two teams has taken some employees by surprise, especially as Apple had initially communicated a move to another San Diego campus by the end of January. This sudden shift to Texas has left some staff members facing relocation challenges and potential job changes.

The San Diego team’s primary role involves listening to and reviewing Siri recordings in multiple languages, such as Hebrew, English, Spanish, and Arabic. The objective is to ensure that Siri responds appropriately to user interactions. This quality-checking process is part of Apple’s strategy to enhance its digital assistant’s performance and reliability, an area where the company has faced criticism for lagging behind competitors.

For employees who choose to relocate to Austin, Apple is offering a relocation stipend of $7,000. However, for those unwilling or unable to make the move, the company is providing severance packages. These severance packages include four weeks of severance pay, along with an additional week’s pay for each year worked. Additionally, Apple is offering six months of health insurance coverage for departing employees.

The decision to merge the San Diego and Austin teams comes as Apple continues its efforts to strengthen its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, particularly in the realm of digital assistants. While Apple has been investing substantial resources to catch up in the AI space, it has faced challenges and criticisms, especially concerning Siri’s performance compared to competitors like Google and Meta.

Despite the significant organizational change, Apple has generally been able to avoid widespread layoffs, a trend seen in other tech companies over the past couple of years. The company’s approach to employee transitions, offering relocation support and severance packages, reflects its commitment to facilitating a smooth process for its workforce.

As part of its broader AI strategy, Apple has been working on optimizing large language models (LLMs) for use on its iPhones. It has also been actively seeking partnerships with news outlets to acquire training data for AI development. The company’s announcement of its LLM plans, expected in June, will likely shed more light on its vision for the future of AI within its product ecosystem.