Back in 2009, before Apple purchased Siri, Verizon wanted to bring the app to its range of Android smartphones. The carrier signed a contract with the startup behind the voice assistant to preinstall it on all Droid handsets, and even went so far as to shoot commercials touting the feature, but Apple's buyout resulted in the deal being scrapped. By purchasing the company, Apple not only secured the rights to what is now an iconic feature of Apple's iOS products, but also prevented its biggest rival brand in the smartphone space from including similar functionality in its handsets.
Siri was to be a halo feature of Verizon's Droid line
In its "Siri Rises" feature, The Huffington Post looks at the full story behind the app, from its beginnings as a US Defense Department research project, to its inclusion as a halo feature of iOS 5, and beyond. The Apple takeover came after Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus received a phone call from Steve Jobs asking him to meet the next day. After Kittlaus and Jobs sat down to discuss their vision for the future of the technology, Apple made an approach to purchase the startup.
A propensity for swearing was swiftly cut by Apple
Siri has gone through a lot of changes since becoming Apple property; originally based on 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL computer, the voice assistant was programmed to be "otherworldy," "vaguely aware of popular culture," and full of "dry wit." Some of that wit, in particular a propensity for using swear words, had to be dialed back for inclusion in a mainstream product like the iPhone 4S. Real-world functionality was also cut from Siri's repertoire: for the release of the standalone iOS app, Siri's developers worked hard on partnerships to bring functionality such as restaurant booking (only recently included in Apple's implementation) to users, something that became increasingly more complicated once the startup was nestled within one of the world's largest companies.
What does the future hold for Siri?
What does the future hold for Siri? Of the three co-founders originally responsible for the software, only one is still working with Apple, and Scott Forstall, who oversaw the integration of Siri into Apple's mobile OS in his role as Senior VP of iOS software, has also left the company. Gary Morgenthaler, an early Siri investor, argues that Apple should expand the humble assistant's capabilities to do for automation "what Amazon has done for shopping," helping out with all of life's mundane tasks. He offers the examples of booking flights, ordering flowers, and offering fashion advice as a small part of what Siri could be able to do for users. Whether Apple decides to take that grand path or continues to add functionality like checking up on sports scores and cinema times, it's clear that Siri, and voice control in general, is a big part of Apple's future plans.