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Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 01:55 pm PT (04:55 pm ET)

Server-side update makes Siri a stickler for succinctness

Siri is already well known for her wit and willingness to joke, but a recent server-side update has given Apple's digital assistant the ability to tell users they should be more into the whole brevity thing.

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Siri can now respond to user requests with quotes, thanks to an apparently recent update, and users that are overly wordy will get a response that tactfully tells them so. The brevity commentary was first noted by a visitor to the social news site Reddit, and the quote responses first showed up on iLounge.

Faced with a long or rambling question, Siri will present the user with a choice quote from William Strunk, Thomas Jefferson, or MASH's Hawkeye. The Jefferson and Hawkeye quotes go by quickly enough, but Siri's Strunk-derived riposte is 30 words long and can take as long for her to read aloud as the request Siri's correcting.

The responses encouraging brevity are just the latest in a number of Siri updates aimed at giving the virtual assistant a "personality." The team behind Siri meant for the feature to "forge an emotional tie" with customers. To that end, they gave Siri a catalogue of witty responses to deliver, as well as a supply of jokes. When some of Siri's more awkward answers have attained notoriety on the Internet, the team has updated the assistant to give punchier responses.