This article is about the intelligent personal assistant developed by Apple Inc. For other uses, see Siri (disambiguation).
Siri on the iPhone 5S, running iOS 7.
Original author(s) SRI International
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial release October 4, 2011; 8 years ago (2011-10-04)
Operating system
Available in
Type Intelligent personal assistant
License Proprietary

Siri /ˈsɪri/ is a part of Apple Inc.'s iOS which works as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator. The feature uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services. The software, both in its original version and as an iOS feature, adapts to the user's individual language usage and individual searches (preferences) with continuing use, and returns results that are individualized. The name Siri is Scandinavian, a short form of the Norse name Sigrid meaning "beauty" and "victory", and comes from the intended name for the original developer's first child.[2]

Siri was originally introduced as an iOS application available in the App Store by Siri, Inc., which was acquired by Apple on April 28, 2010. Siri, Inc. had announced that their software would be available for BlackBerry and for phones running Android, but all development efforts for non-Apple platforms were cancelled after the acquisition by Apple.[3]

Siri has been an integral part of iOS since iOS 5[4] and was introduced as a feature of the iPhone 4S on October 14, 2011.[5] Siri was added to the third generation iPad with the release of iOS 5.1.1 in May 2012, and has been included on all iOS devices released during or after October 2012.[6][7]

Siri is also integrated into Apple Watch's Watch OS, and can be activated by pressing the digital crown or when a voice command is used.

iPhone application

Siri was first launched as an application available on Apple's App Store in the United States by Siri, Inc.[8] It integrated with services such as OpenTable,[9] Google Maps,[10] MovieTickets and TaxiMagic.[11] Using voice recognition technology from Nuance and their service partners, users could make reservations at specific restaurants, buy movie tickets or get a cab by dictating instructions in natural language to Siri.[12] Siri was acquired by Apple on April 28, 2010, and the original application ceased to function on October 14, 2011.[8]

A key feature both of the research and development behind the original Siri, Inc. application,[13] and behind its function as an iOS application, is its artificial intelligence programming aimed to allow it to adapt to the user's individual language usage and individual searches (preferences) with continuing use, with return of results that are therefore individualized.[14][15]

iOS integration

File:Iphone 4S showing Siri.jpg
The Siri feature shown on a white iPhone 4S

On October 4, 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with their implementation of a beta version of Siri.[16] The new version of Siri is integrated into iOS, and offers conversational interaction with many applications, including reminders, weather, stocks, messaging, email, calendar, contacts, notes, music, clocks, web browser, Wolfram Alpha, and Apple Maps.[15] Currently, Siri supports English (United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore), French (France, Switzerland), German (Germany, Switzerland), Japanese, Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Spanish (Mexico, Spain, United States), Mandarin (China, Taiwan), Korean, and Cantonese. On launch, Siri had limited functionality outside the United States and Canada. However, Apple, with the release of iOS 6, added the missing functionality to other countries.[17][18] Siri also replaces 'Voice Control' on previous versions of iOS, which could only perform basic tasks such as play music, make calls and open apps.

After announcing that Siri is included with the iPhone 4S, Apple removed the existing Siri app (which ran on all iPhone models) from the App Store.[19]

In October 2011, independent developers stated that they had ported Siri into the other iOS devices.[20][21] However, some news sites suggest that the videos posted by the developers as "proof" only show the user interface of the Siri software, and not the voice commands, implying that developers have not been able to port the application with full functionality.[22] However, new reports from January 2012 suggest that independent developers have succeeded in porting Siri to earlier iPhone models, the iPod Touch, and iPad., a United States-based team, have demonstrated Siri working as intended on the iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and iPad, communicating without the Apple servers.[23]

In later January 2012, independent developers successfully created and distributed a legal port of Siri to older devices via Cydia.[24] The port, however, requires authorization keys from another iPhone 4S, which can be exploited in the form of a proxy server, or by transferring the Siri authorization file from an iPhone 4S.[25] Due to this requirement, developers have bypassed Apple's Siri server completely by creating their own backend using APIs from services such as Google and Wolfram Alpha.[26]

On June 11, 2012, at Apple's WWDC conference, Apple announced that Siri will be available on the iPad (third generation) beginning in late 2012 with the release of iOS 6. Also on June 11, 2012, at Apple's WWDC conference, Apple announced updates for Siri coming in iOS 6 (which launched in fall 2012.) These new features include: opening apps, telling sports scores and other sports related information, checking movie times, finding restaurants and also ordering reservations. Siri can also tell the height of sports players in iOS 6. It also brought some previously US only features, such as Google Maps and Yelp integration, international.

On September 12, 2012, Apple announced that Siri will also be on the iPhone 5[27] and the iPod Touch (fifth generation).[28]

On June 13, 2013, Apple announced that Siri will have a gender option, meaning that you can choose if Siri will sound like a male or a female, with the release of iOS 7.[29]

Currently, Siri is included on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, 5th generation iPod Touch, 3rd generation iPad, 4th generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and all iPad Minis.

Research and development

Siri is a spin-out from the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center, and is an offshoot of the DARPA-funded CALO project.[30][31] Siri was co-founded by SRI's Dag Kittlaus (CEO) and Adam Cheyer (VP Engineering) and by Tom Gruber (CTO).[13]

Siri's primary technical areas focus on a Conversational Interface, Personal Context Awareness, and Service Delegation.[32]

Siri's speech recognition engine is provided by Nuance Communications, a speech technology company, although this was not officially acknowledged by either Apple or Nuance until AllThingsD Conference (2013).[33]

The original Siri application relied upon a number of partners, including:

The sources in Apple's implementation of Siri differ from the original iPhone application. It integrates with default iOS functionality, such as contacts, calendars and text messages. It also supports search from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha, Google Maps, Yelp! and Wikipedia.

Siri also contains numerous pre-programmed responses to conversational and amusing questions. These are designed to provide an entertainment factor and give Siri human-like qualities.[36]

Voice actors

The original American voice colloquially known as "Samantha" was provided by Susan Bennett in July 2005.[37] Reports that the voice was provided by Allison Dufty were incorrect,[38] which was proved by Ed Primeau, an American audio and video forensics expert.[37]

The British male voice is colloquially known as "Daniel" and is voiced by Jon Briggs, a former technology journalist. The voice was recorded for Scansoft, which had merged with Nuance Communications in October 2005, although Apple has never confirmed any involvement of Nuance with Siri.[39]

The Australian female voice is colloquially known as "Karen" and is voiced by Karen Jacobsen, an Australian-born and New York-based entertainer, singer, voiceover artist, and songwriter.[40] Jacobsen is also the Australian voice in GPS navigation devices for Garmin, Mio, Navman, and TomTom.[41]

Vehicle integration

Main article: CarPlay

Siri was first introduced to the world through the automotive industry in April 2010 as a hands free upgrade with Ford and Honda but fell through when stocks dropped 20% due to price inflation. In June 2012, former Apple SVP Scott Forstall announced that Apple had been in discussions with automobile manufacturers and companies to get Siri integration as part of a scheme called "Siri Eyes Free" mode to provide eyes and hands-free operation, stating that Siri could be in vehicles in as soon as 11 months.

The day following the announcement of this unprecedented collaboration between Apple and automobile manufacturers, Harman International Industries's stock immediately fell by 15%, given Harman's substantial revenue sources from providing GPS, Navigation, and Telematics systems for vehicles, many in particular manufactured by companies partnering with Apple.

At WWDC 2013, Apple's Eddy Cue announced a new system called "iOS in the Car" aimed at integrating Siri and other iOS functions more fully into native in-car systems, like satellite navigation (Satnav) and music playback, which was later renamed CarPlay by Apple on March 3, 2014.


Siri was met with critical acclaim for its ease of use and practicality, as well as its apparent "personality". However, issues did arise when Siri was used by consumers from areas with distinct accents. Google's executive chairman and former chief, Eric Schmidt, has conceded that Siri could pose a "competitive threat" to the company's core search business.[42]

Writing in The Guardian, journalist Charlie Brooker considered Siri's personality to be unpleasantly servile, but found that the software worked "annoyingly well".[43] Siri was criticized by organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and NARAL Pro-Choice America after users found that it would not provide information about the location of birth control or abortion providers, sometimes directing users to pro-life crisis pregnancy centers instead. Apple responded that this was a glitch which would be fixed in the final version.[44]

Siri has not been well received by some English speakers with distinctive accents, including Scottish[45] and Americans from Boston or the South.[46][47] Apple's Siri FAQ states that, "as more people use Siri and it's exposed to more variations of a language, its overall recognition of dialects and accents will continue to improve, and Siri will work even better."[1]

In March 2012, Frank M. Fazio filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on behalf of the people who felt misled about the capabilities of Siri and failing to function as depicted in Apple's Siri commercials. Fazio filed the lawsuit in California and claimed that the iPhone 4S is merely a "more expensive iPhone" if Siri fails to function as advertised.[48][49] On July 22, 2013 U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in San Francisco dismissed the suit but said the plaintiffs could amend at a later time. The reason given for dismissal was that plaintiffs did not sufficiently document enough misrepresentations by Apple for the trial to proceed.[50]

In March 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern that Siri was sending a large amount of personal voice and user information to Apple, including the first name and nickname of the phone owner and his or her contacts, the owner's relationship with those contacts, personal labels assigned to email accounts, and the names of songs and playlists stored on the phone.[51]

On October 30, 2012, Google released a new Google Search app for iOS, which featured an enhanced Google Voice Search function and aimed to compete with Siri.[52] Google's Voice Search was compared favorably to Siri, with some reviewers preferring it. An Apple fan blog side-by-side comparison said that Google's Voice Search on iOS is "amazingly quick and relevant, and has more depth [than Siri]".[53]

Supported languages

Language Region iOS version[54]
English 23x15px United Kingdom 5.0 onwards
23x15px United States 5.0 onwards
23x15px Australia 5.0 onwards
23x15px Canada 6.0 onwards
23x15px Singapore 8.2 onwards
23x15px New Zealand 8.3 onwards
Template:Country data IND India 8.3 onwards
French 23x15px France 5.0 onwards
23x15px Canada 6.0 onwards
23x16px Switzerland 6.0 onwards
German 23x15px Germany 5.0 onwards
23x16px Switzerland 6.0 onwards
Italian 23x15px Italy 6.0 onwards
23x16px Switzerland 6.0 onwards
Japanese Template:Country data JPN Japan 5.1 onwards
Spanish 23x15px Spain 6.0 onwards
23x15px Mexico 6.0 onwards
23x15px United States 6.0 onwards
Korean Template:Country data KOR South Korea 6.0 onwards
Mandarin 23x15px China 6.0 onwards
23x15px Taiwan 6.0 onwards
Cantonese Template:Country data HKG Hong Kong 6.0 onwards
Danish 23x15px Denmark 8.3 onwards
Dutch 23x15px Netherlands 8.3 onwards
Portuguese 23x15px Brazil 8.3 onwards
Russian 23x15px Russia 8.3 onwards
23x15px Commonwealth of Independent States 8.3 onwards
Swedish 23x15px Sweden 8.3 onwards
Thai 23x15px Thailand 8.3 onwards
Turkish 23x15px Turkey 8.3 onwards

International versions

According to sources from Brazilian site Techguru, Nuance Communications has delivered the final version in Portuguese to Apple. It also announced that the company would be making a deal with the bank Bradesco to provide an application similar to Siri for voice support.[55]

As of iOS 6, Siri has functionality to find local businesses and other location services outside of the United States. In Siri's original release its functionality was limited in most countries, with maps and local search with help only being available within the United States.



Voice activated digital assistants, including Siri (since the release of iOS 7 and continuing with the latest release), have been shown to allow users to bypass iOS security.[56] As Adam Greenberg explains in SC Magazine:[57]

"The workaround only grants access to the phone app, but from there people can use the phone to dial anywhere they wish, listen to saved voicemails, view and change contact information, access photos, use Twitter, login to email and shoot out texts.

Dany Lisiansky demonstrated the bug in a YouTube video, where he also posted step-by-step instructions on how to make it work. Several users have taken to the comments section and Twitter to confirm the exploit is genuine. Moreover, whether an iOS 7 or iOS 8 device is locked or unlocked, Siri can be used to switch it into airplane mode to effectively disable the 'Find My iPhone' or 'Find My iPad' apps.[57] However, Siri can be disabled on the lock screen in Settings. In response, Apple released iOS 7.0.2, which patched the passcode-bypass flaw as well as reintroduced the option to enter passwords via the Greek alphabet keyboard, rather than just the four-digit numerical option.[57]

In popular culture

Siri was featured in various media appearances:

  • "The Beta Test Initiation" episode of The Big Bang Theory featured Rajesh Koothrappali falling in love with the Siri on his new iPhone. By the end of the episode Raj has a dream that he goes to meet Siri in the form of a real woman (played by Becky O'Donohue). But of course when she turns around, he can't speak to her. Thus, an offer to make love to her is unable to be fulfilled. He then wakes up screaming "NOOOOO!"
  • The Criminal Minds episode "The Itch" briefly featured Siri at the beginning in which Siri completely misunderstood the message the driver wanted to send.

See also


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  2. ^ "How Apple's Siri got her name". March 29, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ Hay, Timothy (February 5, 2010). "Siri Inc. Launches 'Do Engine' Application For iPhone". Dow Jones Newswire. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Apple Launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5 & iCloud". Apple. October 4, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
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  7. ^ "Apple — iPad — Compare iPad models.". Apple, Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
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  30. ^ "ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (ACM TIST)"{{inconsistent citations}} 
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Further reading

External links