After acquiring Siri in April 2010 for $200 million, Apple spent the ensuing year integrating the voice recognition tool into what has become the flagship feature of the iPhone 4S. But, Siri was almost renamed by Apple prior to its release…
Speaking at a monthly event for startups in Chicago, Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus talked about how Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wasn’t the biggest fan of the Siri name. Since the Cupertino-based company couldn’t think of a better alternative, however, Siri remained the official name of the iPhone 4S feature. But, what does Siri mean anyways? Kittlaus explained his reasoning behind the name:
So Siri means in Norwegian, “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”.
I worked with a lady named Siri in Norway and wanted to name my daughter Siri and the domain was available. And also consumer companies need to focus on the fact that the name is easy to spell, is easy to say…
Kittlaus also mentioned just how quickly he received a response from Steve Jobs directly after launching his Siri app for iPhone in early 2010:
Three weeks after we launched I got a call in the office from someone at Apple that said, “Scott Forstall wants to talk to you and he’s the head software guy.”
And I said sure…
Only it wasn’t Scott that called it was Steve. And Steve never announces where he’s gonna be and what he’s gonna do because there’s too much commotion around it. So he said, “Dag, this is Steve Jobs.”
And he wanted me to come over to his house the next day, and I did, and I spent 3 hours with him in front of his fireplace having this surreal conversation about the future.
And, you know, he talked about why Apple was going to win, and we talked about how Siri was doing. And he was very excited about the fact that.. you know, he was very interested in this area in general but, you know, they’re patient, they don’t jump on anything until they feel they can go after something new and he felt that we cracked it. So that was his attraction.
I ended up very lucky, timing wise. I got to work with him for a year before he got real sick. And he’s pretty incredible. The stories are true. All of the stories.