Apple Loses Another Siri Player
September 12, 2012

Second Siri Co-Founder Left Apple In June

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Siri hasn´t always been the saucy minx who lives in your iPhone 4S. She was once a small, innocent app which lived, albeit briefly, in the App Store. Apple then took notice of this app and saw its potential (allegedly thanks to some prodding by Wozniak) before buying it up and bringing the app and its creators and developers into the warm embrace of 1 Infinite Loop, where they lived happily ever after. Or at least, happily until June, when Adam Cheyer (Siri co-founder and engineer) took his leave from Apple, according to Bloomberg.

Both All Things D and Bloomberg have reported the somewhat old news of Cheyer´s departure, both citing People Familiar With the Matter as saying he left to spend time with family and work on other projects. Before he left, Cheyer had worked for Apple´s mobile software group, assumedly playing a major role in baking Siri directly into the iPhone´s hardware and software.

Cheyer isn´t the first Siri team member to depart from Apple´s presence since they were acquired, of course. Last October, shortly after the iPhone 4S made its way into the pining hands of millions, Dag Kittlaus left the company.

Like Cheyer, Kittlaus was said to have left Apple to work on other projects as well as spend some time with his family.

Recently, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak took some time while standing in a pasture to explain how he persuaded Apple to purchase Siri. In its early days, Siri had much more functionality packed into it than it its current, iOS 5 form.

For instance, Siri could still return your requests for simple math, facts, figures and stats, no problem. Siri could also tell you where the closest Italian restaurant was located. Where she excelled, however, was the integration with other services. In addition to finding the closest Italian restaurant, she could also book a reservation for you, as well as call a cab to take you home if you imbibed in a little too much vino.

“A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo,” Wozniak said. “I was using it to make reservations long before Apple bought it.”

“I would say, ℠Siri, what are the five largest lakes in California?´ and it would come up, one, two, three, four, five. And I would ask ℠What are the prime numbers greater than 87?´ and they would come up all in a row. That was pretty incredible,” Wozniak said.

Now, says Wozniak, inquiries about the largest lakes in California yields results about lakefront properties. Inquiries about prime numbers now yield a list of the closest restaurants whose reviews mention prime rib.

Siri has seen her fair share of detractors since her last coming-out party nearly a year ago. In addition to many lawsuits (some of which are just plain silly) many in the tech press have taken her to task for not working as well or as quickly as Apple promised. Apple´s response, of course, is that little tag on the corner of the promotional site for Siri. Though Siri is still capable of doing a few things pretty well, she is still in Beta, and that has been Apple´s saving grace.

Now that Siri is almost a year old, Apple plans to increase her power and functionality in iOS 6, which should be announced today during Apple´s big iPhone announcement.

In addition to her familiar set of tasks, Siri will now be able to launch apps, give directions and fetch the latest sports scores as well as make her way to the new iPad and new iPhone 5.