When Siri launched on the iPhone 4S, it’s one of the few times I
know of — perhaps the only time — where Apple shipped a “beta”
product to consumers (as it still remains today). But it was a
smart move, because it allowed Apple to begin containing Google in
search on Apple’s own devices. Siri would decide where a search
should go, and it didn’t always go to Google (side note: Google’s
deal with Apple clearly didn’t anticipate or require Google be the
default for voice search, only for Safari search).
That containment wasn’t something average consumers widely
understood, I’d say. To them, Siri was just some cool new
tool that let you ask your iPhone for stuff. It was a subtle
way to dump Google without consumers ever realizing that
Apple dumped Google.
Smart analysis. My favorite little “containment” detail in iOS 6: the web search field in Mobile Safari now reads “Search”, not “Google” (or “Bing” or “Yahoo”).