Published November 11, 2011
Can you hear me now?
Apple's latest iPhone comes with an innovative built-in digital assistant named Siri, who can recognize your voice commands and speak back answers. Siri's real name is Daniel, however. And Daniel's real name is Jon Briggs.
Just don’t ask Apple about that.
Briggs is a former tech journalist who recorded a series of voice-overs five or six years ago that became the basis for Siri -- and the oh-so-secretive Apple suggested to Briggs that he keep those details confidential, the journalist told London paper the Telegraph.
“We’re not about one person,” Apple reportedly told Briggs -- who pointed out that he had never had a contract with the company, and therefore Apple couldn't tell him what to do. Apple has not been back in touch, the Telegraph said.
Briggs made recordings of his voice years ago to a company called Scansoft, now a division of speech-to-tech company Nuance, which named him "Daniel." Nuance works with Apple on Siri, the paper noted. Briggs was unphased by the discovery that the massive technology company had co-opted his voice for its latest smartphones -- a fact he learned of only when he saw a demonstration of Siri on TV.
“I got paid a decent sum by Scansoft,” he said. “I love Apple’s products and I think Siri is a game-changer.”
Apple fans who raced out to buy the new iPhone 4S were surprised to learn the wide range of questions Siri was prepared to answer.
When one user asked about life's meaning, he was informed: "All evidence to date suggests it's chocolate."
To the same question from another owner, Siri replied "42" — a nod to classic sci-fi series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
Another user asked: "Why am I here?" The system replied: "I don't know. Frankly, I've wondered that myself."
And when a smitten buyer asked "Will you marry me?", the software responded: "My End User Licensing Agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies."