New iPhone feature is butt of Japanese joke
The name of the voice-command app Siri translates into hilarity.
Particularly impressive is Siri, Apple's new voice-command app that lets you talk to your iPhone. Need to know how bad traffic is in your area? Just ask the phone and Siri will give you real-time data on traffic outside.
However, Apple forgot the cardinal rule of language-based technology: If you build it, your audience is going to make lewd jokes with it. And Apple's new app made it all too easy for people to turn it into a joke, considering what Siri sounds like in Japanese. Here's a hint: The iPhone 4S almost certainly will be Sir Mix-a-Lot's favorite smartphone.
To the Japanese, the name Siri sounds almost identical to 尻, pronounced shiri. Shiri is a colloquialism for -- in the politest possible sense -- buttocks. Its proper usage, however, is crude. As Yoree Koh of The Wall Street Journal put it, the comparable term in English rhymes with "crass." Compliments for Apple's major new technology, likely to be the focus of marketing campaigns across the world, will make the speaker sound like a cat-calling construction worker in Japan.
Shortly after Siri was announced, both "Siri" and "shiri" became trending topics on Twitter in Japan. Google Japan searches for Apple's new voice-recognition software had the search engine asking users if they actually were looking for "shiri," and it isn't difficult to imagine what the image search returned on those queries.
Given Apple's flair for branding, it's surprising that the company didn't know about this potential gaffe before announcing Siri to the world. Japan is, after all, a major market for the company.
The iPhone itself was the first major smartphone success in the country, capturing 72% of the Japanese market by the middle of 2010. Although Google (GOOG) Android phones have narrowed the gap in 2011, diminishing Apple's market share to 38%, Japan is still a major market for Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company shipped 3.23 million iPhones in the country in the last fiscal year.
When your biggest mobile operating system competitor has crushed your lead in less than 12 months, it probably isn't the best idea to name a major new feature of iOS after butts. This is Apple, though. The iPhone 4S and Siri should prove as popular as previous Apple mobile products, named after someone's rear or not.
Android is better and cost much less.
this is bigger news than when justin bieber cut his hair last year! you can tell Apple is desperate when they unveil a new phone and the unique thing about it is... apps... apps that are probably normally free... and you know their customer base is dumb as hell when they actually buy them!
laugh my siri off!
Lol. I'm not big on smart phones but so far theres a war a brewin between the droid folks and the iphone folks.....wonder wich is better. I still have a motorolla RZR lmao.
@ Madame P.
Maybe you should comment on the article and not what people post. No one cares that you are a grammar police. Some people have bad grammar; get over it. Go troll somewhere else and let people comment on the article. I have friends who have very bad grammar that I would lay down my life for. I don't care if the misspell their or there, then or than, grammar or grammer, whatever. Get a life, troll. Oh, and proofread your own sentences. I see you left a comma out. Try and find it, troll
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
The company debuts an adorably tiny video gadget and targets the lifestyle consumer.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.