In 2011, Apple revealed a voice assistant named ‘Siri’, which quickly became a household name due to its popularity. It was released with the iPhone 4S, and for many people was the main selling point on the device which had only been tweaked since the last generation. However, although this was Siri’s biggest stage, it wasn’t the first time it had been revealed to the public.
So where did Siri come from? You’d be mistaken if you thought Apple created it from scratch. Steve Jobs met with the co-founder of Siri and eventually bought the company in 2010, shortly after the voice assistant launched as a standalone app. Back then, Siri didn’t have a voice, it simply displayed a text response. It was based loosely around Hal from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ using dry humour to entertain, and sometimes even insult the user. In those days, Siri even swore.
What’s interesting to learn about Siri however, is that it became extremely close to becoming a default application on Android phones. The voice assistant is now one of the biggest selling points of Apple’s phones, but they almost lost it to Android through a deal by Verizon. The phone network was in the process of striking a deal with the Siri creators which would see the app become exclusive to Verizon Android handsets.
Apparently, the deal was so close to being done that adverts were already filmed. However, Apple swooped in at the last second, bought the company and made it an exclusive product of Apple, giving it a complete makeover and removing all profanities.
The information in this article was taken from ‘Siri Rising: The Inside Story of Siri’s Origins‘. Take a look for further information about what Siri was up to before the Verizon deal.