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Apple acquires Siri, developer of personal assistant app for iPhone

post #1 of 61
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Apple has purchased Siri, the maker of a mobile personal assistant application for the iPhone, with the move being characterized as a move that will increase competition with Google.

Apple's purchase was confirmed Wednesday by Robert Scoble, who theorized that the Cupertino, Calif., company might have paid about $200 million to purchase Siri. Previously, Scoble had declared that Siri was "the future of the Web."

"There's a new way to get things done - just ask Siri," the company's official website reads. "No more endless clicking on links and pages to get things done on the Internet. Delegate the work to Siri and relax while Siri takes care of it for you."

In a video demonstration, a user uses Siri to find local Italian food. The search is done with voice, and multiple sources of information are scoured to return results that include reviews, maps, and the ability to share with others via e-mail.

The free application (iTunes link) was also used to obtain a reservation for a restaurant using OpenTable, and to buy tickets for the film "Avatar" in 3D in IMAX. Users on the App Store have given the application an average rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

The software also supports open-ended questions, with one inquiry demonstrated: "What's happening this weekend around here?" The program returned results with events, including concerts and theater.

Voice queries are provided in "natural" English, as one would use in a conversation. The user said "How about San Francisco?" to have the location of the previous search automatically changed.



Scoble said the application is a "very cool personal assistant" that he thinks will play a large part in the future of the mobile Web.

"This shows Apple is very willing to buy its way into the new mobile web and the new API-driven web," he wrote. "This also could be a major cornerstone in how it competes with Google."

The news of another Apple acquisition came soon after The New York Times confirmed that Apple bought chipmaker Intrinsity for an estimated price of $121 million. Though the purchase had been rumored since early April, it was not confirmed until Tuesday.

Siri is the latest in a line of purchases for Apple, which has a massive war chest of more than $40 billion. Earlier this year, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said Apple must "think big" with its money, and that potential acquisitions will see the company taking "big," bold" risks.

Early this year, Apple bought mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless for $275 million. That purchase laid the groundwork for the recently announced iAd platform, set to launch later this year. Apple will offer developers of applications the ability to place unique, dynamic, content-rich advertisements within software released for the App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

And late last year, Apple acquired streaming music service Lala for $85 million. Apple has not yet announced its intent with that purchase, but reports have suggested the company could use talent and technology obtained from the purchase to create a cloud-based iTunes that would allow users to access their purchased content from a number of Internet-connected devices.
post #2 of 61
I thought Siri was a small operation. I guess not. Unless the number is in error.

But when searching Google. SIRI comes up. a market capitalization of $4.55 billion, shows it's not the one, and indeed, it turns out to be Sirius XM Radio.

This is it:

http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/...od=rss_WSJBlog

Gotta be careful looking up Siri inc. There's a bridesmaid dress maker with that name as well.

But looking up Siri.com finds this:

http://siri.com/

http://www.dealipedia.com/company_view.php?id=14663

I bet that unlike what their web page says - "Soon, Siri will run on iPhone 3G and additional mobile platforms, as well", It WON'T be running on additional mobile platforms.
post #3 of 61
Another use for Apple's cash reserves, buy competition for Google.

Very interesting - and fun

go get em Steve!
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post #4 of 61
Fantastic! Apple can really push that to the next level including voice queries for the device functions itself. This service bypasses putting eyeballs on google ads.
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post #5 of 61
Apple must keep up with the Jones' here.

Google is going in the same direction.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/...-aardvark.html


I like it the purchase. For me it's just going to be a matter of using this technology and that's going to depend on the quality of the results that it spits back at me. Higher quality results = more trust and usage.
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post #6 of 61
I think it's pretty clear why Apple bought Siri... but we all know there's often a deeper plan that will amaze us later.

For example - there is a growing trend to shut down cell phones while driving. Perhaps Siri becomes the answer - allowing a driver to just say (in plain speak) what information they want rather than looking away at the screen. Just a thought.
post #7 of 61
I love the idea of Apple doing this buy and integrating voice search into the platform. I also love that this should mean more competition and innovation as this feature matures and develops. Unfortunately, I get the idea that at least some apps are going to be 'duplicated' out of the app store.

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post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

I think it's pretty clear why Apple bought Siri... but we all know there's often a deeper plan that will amaze us later.

For example - there is a growing trend to shut down cell phones while driving. Perhaps Siri becomes the answer - allowing a driver to just say (in plain speak) what information they want rather than looking away at the screen. Just a thought.

That's an important feature for me. I have a BT Jawbone ICON (I swore once I'd never put BT by my ear) because it is important for me to have hands free.

Apple also knows, at at the least Jobs knows, that he doesn't have to beat Google on desktop searching he simply has to create the better mousetrap for mobile computing. He's employing the same strategy that they used against Microsoft (not attacking a strongpoint but doing and end around).

If I knew I could pick up my phone and just ask I'd probably not even worry about sitting down at the computer and going to google.com.
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post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Apple must keep up with the Jones' here.

Google is going in the same direction.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/...-aardvark.html


I like it the purchase. For me it's just going to be a matter of using this technology and that's going to depend on the quality of the results that it spits back at me. Higher quality results = more trust and usage.

It seems as though Apple should buy Nuance as well. Possibly, that's the more important company, as they make the speech to text software that Siri is using.
post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

For example - there is a growing trend to shut down cell phones while driving. Perhaps Siri becomes the answer - allowing a driver to just say (in plain speak) what information they want rather than looking away at the screen. Just a thought.

Actually, what *I* would love is a setting that I could enable when I get in the car, (or detects my car's bluetooth...I wouldn't want it on all the time.), and whenever a text message or phone call comes in, it tells me who the call/text is from. The iPhone already reads back the contact name when you use Voice Control, I would think it could easily be programmed to announce the contact name for a text message or phone call so you don't have to reach in your pocket and look at who is calling.....just a thought.
post #11 of 61
This is great, I think it shows that Apple is looking to push the innovation envelope. Great news for the iPhone OS and users.
post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It seems as though Apple should buy Nuance as well. Possibly, that's the more important company, as they make the speech to text software that Siri is using.

yeah, but for $5Bn, they would get everything else that Nuance brings with them. I don't know if Apple wants to own OCR, scanning, etc.

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post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

Perhaps Siri becomes the answer - allowing a driver to just say (in plain speak) what information they want rather than looking away at the screen. Just a thought.

So, exactly like Microsoft's Sync?
post #14 of 61
Apple Innovation (n.) 1. Let someone else do the hard work, and we'll just buy them and take the credit.
post #15 of 61
Interesting the Google ad banner on the page bottom, say SIRI is the sexiest stock of 2010; Find out why SIRI will run wild. SIRI is better than sex!
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post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

yeah, but for $5Bn, they would get everything else that Nuance brings with them. I don't know if Apple wants to own OCR, scanning, etc.

Are they a public company? I saw no financial info on their site. If they're public they must include that.
post #17 of 61
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Originally Posted by AppleSux View Post

Apple Innovation (n.) 1. Let someone else do the hard work, and we'll just buy them and integrate their technology into our products, then take the credit.

There, FIFY.
post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSux View Post

So, exactly like Microsoft's Sync?

What, exactly, does MS sync do? Can you supply a link?
post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSux View Post

Apple Innovation (n.) 1. Let someone else do the hard work, and we'll just buy them and take the credit.

You mean the way MS does it?
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSux View Post

Apple Innovation (n.) 1. Let someone else do the hard work, and we'll just buy them and take the credit.

AppleSux your presence here has been of no benefit to AI as I can see it. I'd think long and hard about the next few messages you post with regard to their relative value on Appleinsider.

Cheers
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post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Are they a public company? I saw no financial info on their site. If they're public they must include that.

They are public, symbol NUAN.
yahoo finance puts them at a current cap of$ 4.93bn.

Their site has links to their SEC filings and earnings if that is what you are looking for.

They have been pretty busy lately themselves with acquisitions. Some, unrelated to voice.

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post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

What, exactly, does MS sync do? Can you supply a link?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Sync

http://www.fordvehicles.com/technology/sync/

My father has it in his Flex. Pretty slick.
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

They are public, symbol NUAN.
yahoo finance puts them at a current cap of$ 4.93bn.

Their site has links to their SEC filings and earnings if that is what you are looking for.

They have been pretty busy lately themselves with acquisitions. Some, unrelated to voice.

That's strange. I looked at their sitemap, and saw no reference to any financial data.
post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottiB View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Sync

http://www.fordvehicles.com/technology/sync/

My father has it in his Flex. Pretty slick.

Not nearly as sophisticated though. Siri uses natural language queries, while Ford sync only recognizes what appears to be programmed-in words and phrases. That's been around for ages on the Mac, and even older systems.
post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

I think it's pretty clear why Apple bought Siri... but we all know there's often a deeper plan that will amaze us later.

For example - there is a growing trend to shut down cell phones while driving. Perhaps Siri becomes the answer - allowing a driver to just say (in plain speak) what information they want rather than looking away at the screen. Just a thought.

Driver: Where can I buy a pearl cover for my wife's iPhone?

Siri interpretation: Where can I lay with a girl other than my wife? - I phone.

Siri action: Text wife with question.


Hope this works as well as the video demo.

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post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

AppleSux your presence here has been of no benefit to AI as I can see it. I'd think long and hard about the next few messages you post with regard to their relative value on Appleinsider.

Cheers

Finish him
post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post

Driver: Where can I buy a pearl cover for my wife's iPhone?

Siri interpretation: Where can I lay with a girl other than my wife? - I phone.

Siri action: Text wife with question.


Hope this works as well as the video demo.


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post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post

Driver: Where can I buy a pearl cover for my wife's iPhone?

Siri interpretation: Where can I lay with a girl other than my wife? - I phone.

Siri action: Text wife with question.


Hope this works as well as the video demo.

Siri Voice Search, the Newton Handwriting Recognition of today

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post #29 of 61
not available in UK store. How annoying.
post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Siri Voice Search, the Newton Handwriting Recognition of today

It's actually pretty good. If you've got an iPhone, 3G or later, give it a try, it's free.
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Siri Voice Search, the Newton Handwriting Recognition of today

That's APPLE voice search, thankyouverymuch.
post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's actually pretty good. If you've got an iPhone, 3G or later, give it a try, it's free.

I expect it is. I was just going along with the thread of the joke.

I actually found my MP2100 to be quite good with the handwriting recognition. I should dig it out sometime.

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post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

I expect it is. I was just going along with the thread of the joke.

I actually found my MP2100 to be quite good with the handwriting recognition. I should dig it out sometime.

The last model was pretty good. A friend still uses his for this and that.
post #34 of 61
I just tried Siri...

Fantastic!

I wonder if the developers will see APIs for this in the SDK...

I know that I certainly could use it.

.
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post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

not available in UK store. How annoying.

Voice queries are provided in "natural" English,

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post #36 of 61
just tried it. Works simply and the voice recognition was 100%

I haven't tried more advance stuff and the "magic" behind Siri is how it
intelligently plans around your day. If it was just voice search it'd be nothing
that you don't already have with Bing and Google but where Siri appears to
be groundbreaking is it's intelligence.
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post #37 of 61
I have used Siri, I thought it was very good at voice recog. For example, be on the road and say ' Nearest McDonalds' , it would confirm my request and then proceed to map it. Can do the same in google but type local McDonalds.

I don't know how well sync and google voice recog etc work so can't comment on those.

This sounds like a wise 'technology' buy for the voice recog unless there are other features I am not familiar with.
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post #38 of 61
Long video but fascinating

Siri is a lot deeper than what many may think

http://vimeo.com/5424527


I have a hunch that Apple has been behind Sir for quite some time. Perhaps over a year. The relationship between Apple and Siri was pretty cozy sounding. Also look at Apple's recently patents.

iGroups - Social networking
http://www.patentlyapple.com/patentl...velopment.html

iTunes ticket purchasing (gets more powerful with something like Siri)
http://www.patentlyapple.com/patentl...et-system.html

Both of these patents now add more weight with Siri acquisition.

Very clever acquisition from Apple.
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post #39 of 61
The only downside I see is that Apple will probably require that all restaurants and movies be approved before being included in their version of Siri's app.

-kpluck

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post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

The only downside I see is that Apple will probably require that all restaurants and movies be approved before being included in their version of Siri's app.

-kpluck

Considering how bad some are, I wouldn't mind.
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