Twenty years ago, when asked if you smell what the Rock is cooking, your answer to the infamous wrestling ring query would have involved some kind of goofy, thinly veiled homophobic catchphrase that’s better left in 1998. Leaving juvenile wrestling storylines behind for the plots of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has matured over the years. Now, in addition to the silver screen, we can see The Rock on YouTube in his latest partnership with Apple.
In July, Johnson tweeted his latest co-star was to be Apple’s AI, Siri, in a new movie called The Rock x Siri Dominate the Day. After the millions (and millions) of his fans retweeted the link, The Rock revealed the trailer was not for a feature film but a big-budget commercial for his artificial co-star. A month later, Apple broke up the full-length commercial into 4 shorter videos to highlight the Siri commands used in each.
One entitled Sunset Selfie shows off how easy it is to take a hands-free selfie with Siri —even in an as implausible environment as outer space. Leg Day shows The Rock turn on the lights remotely in gym to help prepare for his workout. The Rock also appears in Reminder, busting through his trailer asking Siri to create a reminder in his calendar to dominate relentlessly for the rest of the day.
Last but not least, in what’s called simply The Kitchen, demonstrates Siri’s use as a cooking aid in a much more modest setting, and Johnson uses the voice command to set a timer as he prepares a dish. Despite being out in the open in a bustling commercial kitchen, his iPhone isn’t covered by an iPhone skin—probably because he’s The Rock and he doesn’t need one to protect his smartphone. Everyone else who doesn’t live in an unrealistic Apple commercial should get iPhone 7 Plus skins online if they expect their phone to last long enough to explore the true extent of Siri’s powers.
Whether Siri’s real life performance stands up to the big screen remains to be seen. Despite the production value of these commercials, some people are doubtful. Walt Mossberg, a reputable tech journalist, calls Siri too dumb to be of use, and as the world’s biggest tech companies race to create the best voice assistance with Alexa and Google Assist, Apple is left in their dust.
It’s capable of following basic voice commands that involve sending a text or making a call, but more complex directives, like those shown in these commercials, have failed in the past. “Sorry, something’s wrong. Can you try again?” is the disappointing response that often follows these requests. And that’s if it recognizes your “hey Siri” prompt.
There’s hope that the latest innovations burrowed deep within iOS 11’s code could help iron out some of the glitches. Six years on from Siri’s world-wide debut, Apple finally announcedits plan for the AI to operate out of the upcoming HomePod speaker.
In competition with the likes of Amazon, Sonos, and Google, it has a lot of ground to make up. Teaming up with the People’s Champion, the most electrifying man in all of entertainment, should help. But ultimately its success is up to Siri and its ability to offer responsive and capable assistance in various Apple devices, including the HomePod and skin-clad iPhone 7 Plus. No amount of YouTube views will change that.