Steve Jobs loved everything about Siri… except its name
Before Siri technology made its way into Apple’s iPhone 4S, it was actually owned by a company called Siri Inc., founded in 2007 by three guys named Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer, and Tom Gruber. A standalone Siri application was once available in the App Store – before it was purchased by Apple and baked into its iOS software – and it allowed you to make all sorts of queries using only your voice.
At this month’s Technori Pitch even in Chicago, Kittlaus, who was previously Siri Inc.’s CEO, gave a talk during which he described the work he did with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Steve called Kittlaus just three weeks after the Siri app for iPhone launched back in 2010 and asked to meet up.
“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.”
Within three months after its App Store debut, Apple had acquired Siri, and Kittlaus went to work with the company in California. He stayed there until just weeks after the iPhone 4S made its debut last October, when he left to spend more time with his family and focus on other ventures in Chicago.
According to Kittlaus, Steve thought his company had cracked the voice-controlled assistant, but he wasn’t too keen on the “Siri” name. He spend weeks trying to think of a better one, but he failed to come up with anything, Kittlaus said. In the end, he gave in and the name just stuck.