Drivers want her in their cars. Homeowners want her in their houses. And just about everybody wants her on their phones.
But for now, Siri, Apple's ultra-efficient artificial personal assistant, is only available (without jailbreaking) on the iPhone 4S, not even on older models of the iPhone.
Wide Open Update?
That could change after Apple released the newest version of its firmware, iOS 5.0.1, which could offer a way to tweak an iPhone 4 (released in 2010) into Siri compatibility.
A self-described iPhone hacker named MuscleNerd tweeted that a "wide open fs" or file system leaves unencrypted RAM disks that can allow skilled users to extract the files needed for Siri. Unlike jailbreaking, this would not violate Apple's copyright, according to several reports.
Apple hasn't commented publicly on Siri's compatibility on other devices but last month reportedly responded to a user inquiry by saying "Siri only works on iPhone 4S and we currently have no plans to support older devices." The iPhone 4S is the first to have a dual-core processor.
At the same time, Google, not to be outdone in the battle for smartphone supremacy, is reportedly working on its own answer to Siri. The Web site Android and Me is told by its sources that a secret Google project named Majel is well under way, with a nod toward "Star Trek" fans who will recall that Majel Barrett Roddenberry (wife of franchise creator Gene Roddenberry and an actress on two of the series) voiced the computer responses on later incarnations of the show.
Where No Android Has Gone Before?
The report said Majel will be an "evolution" of voice services already available on Android-powered phones, which allow texting and searching. (Voice-activated dialing has been around for about a decade.) The improvement might be along the same lines as Siri, allowing people to interact with natural commands and queries, as they would talking to another person. So rather than start with commands like "search" or "dial" a user can say "I want sushi" or "I need to talk to Fred." Majel could be available as soon as this month.
In any case, the industry is quickly headed in the direction of advanced voice integration becoming a "checklist item within a year," like dual-core processors or high-definition recording, said wireless technology analyst Gerry Purdy of MobileTrax.
"It's important to realize that voice is something most people will use some of the time, not all the time," said Purdy. "It's not always socially acceptable in crowd situations. If you are out to dinner with friends most people might check their e-mail but they are not going to start talking to their cell phone in front of people."
But because the voice assistant has proven so popular -- high demand may have led the server system for Siri to temporarily shut down shortly after the 4S release -- Purdy said, "I'm sure Google Voice is working very hard on having something soon."
Posted: 2011-12-18 @ 12:26pm PT
If Apple puts Siri into a TV, what will happen if someone on a TV program says, "Siri change the channel."?