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Apple's Siri might have been called something else

According to one of Siri's creators, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was not initially enamored with the name.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Apple's Siri. Sass comes at no extra charge.
Apple's Siri. Sass comes at no extra charge. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

What's in a name? That which we call Siri, by any other name would be as sassy -- though we might have known the voice assistant technology by another name.

NetworkWorld this morning recounts some of the highlights from a speech given by Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus at Chicago's Technori Pitch event yesterday. While the speech focused mainly on the importance of building Chicago as a startup scene, Kittlaus included a handful of behind-the-scenes tidbits on what led to Siri becoming an Apple technology.

One of those was that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs originally sought a different name for Siri. Not finding a suitable alternative, and with persuading from Kittlaus, the name was kept around.

Kittlaus also noted that the first time he talked with Jobs ahead of the acquisition, he was under the impression he had been called up by Apple Senior Vice President Scott Forstall. Instead it was Jobs, who invited him over to his house, which led to a three-hour conversation "about the future":

And, you know, [Jobs] 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.

Ultimately, the rest became history. Apple acquired Siri in 2010, relaunching it as a built-in feature exclusive to the iPhone 4S in October 2011. That same month Kittlaus departed Apple to begin work on new startup ideas.

One other fun tidbit from the talk: Kittlaus originally took to the name because of its Norwegian meaning of "beautiful woman who leads you to victory," later deciding to name his child that if he had a daughter. Kittlaus ended up having a son instead.