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Apple gave Siri its bite

Siri's creator has said the software was originally created with a 'light attitude.' Then Apple got involved, and along came the sass.

You probably know by now that Siri, the new iPhone 4S personal assistant, has some serious attitude. At times, it's a downright smart arse (which is ironic, considering it can't look up location-based services outside the US -- not till next year, at least). Well it appears Apple added the extra attitude after it bought the software.

Norman Winarsky, co-founder of the company Apple bought for $200 million (£126 million) last year, told The Wall Street Journal that they put "deep thought" into what kind of personality the software should have. Then Apple got involved and cranked the sass up to 11.

"There were many conversations within the team about whether it should be gender neutral" or "should have an attitude," Winarsky said. Apple decided to have male and female options, but before it bought the software, Siri had "occasionally a light attitude" according to Winarsky.

So how did we get the borderline sarcastic responses it now spouts? According to someone who worked at Apple on the project, the team wanted to keep it friendly and humble, but with an edge. They sum it up as thinking, "How would we want a person to respond?" they told The Wall Street Journal.

The Siri group at Apple fine-tuned the responses to forge an emotional bond with customers. Hence listing nearby mines and swamps when you tell it you need somewhere to hide a body.

Siri can't give UK users location-based information as Apple doesn't have a deal with a UK-based provider, limiting its use somewhat in our green and pleasant land, but we should see such options coming in 2012. Siri is only available on iPhone 4S, but some enterprising chap got it working on his iPhone 4 yesterday.

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