Tim Cook talks Siri's future, reveals iPhone 4Siri name, and explains the new iPad name

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.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Tim Cook talks Siri's future, reveals iPhone 4Siri name, and explains the new iPad name


I think the ipad is okay, but the iphone is stupid. So is imore. i love wp central much more, nokia piss on apple hahahahahah. Apples is for turd

I prefer to lose to the 'numerated' lineage from a device. It is much more upsetting when there is very little change between iterations of a device and yet it is obvious to you that your device is an older generation because you have the 4 rather than the 4S. Actually when it comes to the next iteration of the iPhone I would be real happy if it had the same screen, same size and look profile but had the extra functionality of LTE (though depending on Verizon it ma).
Too many people get their expectations too high because of 'rumors' and and 'gossip' and then they feel let down when those rumors don't pan out. When it comes to the next iteration of a product I tend to keep my wishlist short, my hopes are not set high and I tend to be happier when the product appears.
The only exception was really with the 4S and that was because I purchased a device simply to use while I was in the UK because my Verizon iPhone 4 was not compatible and I had thought I could get by without using it except on wireless and then decided I couldn't when I got to the UK.
My experience was marred by the quality of 3G where I was and similarly I am sure many people felt let down because they didn't have great service here. I gave the 4S to my younger brother when I left the UK and I am still happy without SIRI and with my 4, and when my Verizon contract expires I will make my mind up who provides my service and whether I purchaser an iPhone 5 or whatever they choose to call it but again my expectations will be set suitably low that I am happy regardless of whether anyone else feels let down!

So what about the 3gs? I suppose the S stands for what ever they want it to or did Cooke forget the 3gs ever existed? I hope overlooking this minor detail isn't a precursor to what's to come now that Steve is gone.

It stands for Siri like the article just taught us and he's right, y wouldn't stand for speed like the 3gs I personally find the 4s was a poor release upon apple. releasing a new and much anticipated device and the hardware is the same except for the camera and processor. I can't for the new iPhone!!!

Maybe the S should've stood for "STONED". SIRI, while an interesting distraction, clearly doesn't do what the commercials imply. SIRI doesn't even sound natural but rather, mechanical. Cook has no charisma. And the changes he's made to Apple, with the clown posse of suits showing up at the wrong meetings is daft (Project managers and supply chain managers together with Engineers??). The WWDC had better offer something more than incremental upgrades. Cook can't get away with that for long.