The dust has settled and the news is out. The iPhone 4S is on the way, bringing with it iOS 5 and all that new firmware goodness. One of the biggest features of the new firmware and phone that Apple proudly touted was Siri. “What’s a Siri?” you ask. Short answer, iPhone voice commands.
The long answer is that Siri is the result of a long time spent developing a product that’s finally ready to come out and play. Apple does everything with style, and we expect nothing less than perfection for Siri. Sure, we’ve had voice command before, but never like this and not for the iPhone. Here’s how Apple is spicing up the new iPhone 4S.
What Does It Do?
Siri is not quite your traditional voice command- it’s been upgraded to do a few new tricks. Sure, we’ve seen phones with the capability to dictate texts by voice or voice dial people in your contacts. Siri adds something new to the table by letting you dictate text everywhere.
Just hold down the home button (the old shortcut to voice dialing) and Siri starts. Speak into the microphone and Siri will lay down what you say in text form. You can reply to texts by the voice of course, but it also allows you to type Google searches or notes in the Note app without ever touching a keyboard.
Another reason why Siri is special is its remarkable integration into iOS itself. Siri isn’t just for typing by voice, it lets you set reminders, alarms, and manage your calendar. Siri is like its own interface for using the time management parts of your iPhone.
Siri even does questions. As Apple highlighted in their promotional video, ask Siri any question and it will provide an answer. That answer might be in a creepy robotic voice, but it’s there. Siri uses Wikipedia as one of its sources, so it’s ready with the list of all the makeup artists who ever worked on the original Star Trek series.
How Does It Work?
As usual with Apple, easy. Just hold down the home button and Siri starts. The app recognizes English, French, and German as of now.
Exactly how well Siri recognizes what you say is still unknown, something that will play a fairly major factor in whether people start using it. Apple claims that the recognition software is good and will “get better.”
Still, Siri isn’t much help for people who don’t speak English, French, or Spanish… which is a fairly substantial chunk of the world.
Can I Get It?
Sure, as long as you have an iPhone 4S. Apple says Siri is 4S-only, although it’s still unknown exactly why. A reasonable explanation is that Siri doesn’t work without the 4S’s incredibly powerful new processors, but the cynic in me thinks it’s to force people to upgrade.
If that’s the case and Apple is restricting Siri to the 4S to boost sales, then expect Siri to be cracked and available for download on Cydia soon enough. Apple tried to restrict multitasking to the iPhone 4, but that was on Cydia for all iOS devices. If you’re jailbroken, you’ll probably be able to use Siri on a non-4S device.
What do you think? Are you excited for Siri? Share our thoughts.