Siri founder leaves Apple

Dag Kittlaus, entrepreneur and co-founder of voice control software and ‘personal assistant’ Siri, has departed Apple just days after seeing his application launched as part of the latest iPhone package.

Kittlaus, who has a background with Telenor and Motorola, was CEO of Siri when it was snapped up by Apple for somewhere in the region of $200m in April, 2010. Siri was founded in 2007 by engineers and developers from Google, Yahoo, Apple, Motorola, Netscape, and eBay among others.

“You can ask Siri questions naturally, just as you would ask your assistant, “Will it rain today?” or, “Get me a table at a good Italian restaurant.” Through the streamlined interface, you won’t have to weed through web pages to get movie tickets or call a cab. Over time, Siri will get to know you and, with your explicit permission, personalize your results,” the company blurb says.

Apple has now packaged the technology as an integral part of the iPhone 4S, which acts as a personal assistant to allow users to control practically all of its functions with their voice.

Siri allows users to find out information, such as the weather, directions to a venue or movie show times. It also allows users to listen to text messages and respond to them with voice and to access and modify content in the address book and calendar.

Apple claims that Siri even adapts to the user’s individual preferences over time and personalises results specific to the user. And according to Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, Apple competitors will be forced to integrate similar functionality to Siri in their new handsets.

“Voice recognition technology is nothing new – Google has its Google Voice Search for Android and Windows Phone 7 uses Bing voice search. However, these technologies are software based and are not integrated with the hardware. They do not take into account the quality of the handset, such as the clarity of the microphone, and in practice, that’s what makes the iPhone 4S’s voice recognition much more reliable than anything else out there.”

“Siri will push the whole industry into taking the voice recognition engine and integrating it with the hardware, rather than having voice recognition as a software add-on.”

There has been nothing official from Kittlaus yet, but it is reported that he parted with Apple on amicable terms and wants to turn his attention to a new project.

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One comment

  1. Avatar Malik Saadi 25/10/2011 @ 2:14 pm

    I believe the initial vision of Dag Kittlaus was to get Siri available on all platforms; iPhone was just a first step in this strategy. With the acquisition of the business by Apple its future is now tightly associated with iPhone and the application is transformed from a third party utility to a more integrated and differentiating feature of iPhone 4S.

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