Tim Cook reveals that the S in iPhone 4S stands for Siri, and explains the new iPad name

During the D10 Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about Siri, the iPhone 4S virtual assistant, and why it seems to alternate from working almost like magic to not working at all. Walt Mossberg pressed Cook about Siri being a beta, and asked if Cook was satisfied with its performance so far.

Cook gave a stock answer about Siri's popularity, but also said a lot of people at Apple were working on Siri, and that in the coming months, we'd be seeing more, including more "breadth". He said Apple had some "cool ideas" about what to do with Siri.

Siri has proven, according to Cook, that natural language interface and context-aware, personality-driven voice interactions are something people want to use. He stressed that Siri-like technology used to be the stuff of dreams, and that now it was a mainstream reality.

Cook also revealed that S in the iPhone 4S named did in fact stand for Siri, which is different than the S in iPhone 3GS which stood for speed.

Interviewer Walt Mossberg asked Cook about product naming in general, and specifically Apple's choice to revert to simply the "iPad" as the name of Apple's third generation tablet rather than iPad 3 as a follow on to iPad 2.

iPod was consistently called iPod until there was an iPod mini, then nano, then shuffle. Yet each generation of those products kept the same, unnumbered names. As have Macs since the introduction of the iMac.

Cook feels either way works, and nothing about reverting to simply "iPad" should shocke anyone.

So you can do it either way, is the real story. You can stick with the name and people generally love that, or you can put a number at the end which denotes the generation or whatever. [..] The new iPad was not a shocking new way of naming from an Apple point of view. It goes back to what we've actually done the most. So it probably was talked about in a way that seemed more like a shocking change than it really was.