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iPhone 4 Can Hack Siri, as Hack Proves

Andrew Williams



Siri is currently an iPhone 4S-only feature, but a tenacious developer has already ported it to the iPhone 4. Is it proof that Siri is a tool to make more iPhone 4 owners go for the "S" upgrade, or does the voice command software really need that extra power?

Apple's original excuse for the non-appearance of Siri on the iPhone 4 was that the voice recognition app needed the extra processing grunt supplied by the iPhone 4S's dual-core A5 processor. But it appears this may not be true. Developer Steven Troughton-Smith has managed to install the Siri software onto a hacked iPhone 4 and get it running - albeit slowly and without access to the Apple-side servers that are necessary for the full Siri experience.

We expect the lethargic performance would be eradicated in an official port. It's also worth noting that some of Siri's current functionality was also available within the Siri Assistant app, which was pulled from the App Store on 5 October.


Siri comedy courtesy of a site whose name we won't repeat in full...

If the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are almost certainly capable of getting into bed with Siri, why is it only iPhone 4S owners who get to experience its delights? There are a number of obvious explanations. The cynic will suggest it's to further differentiate the new iPhone from its predecessor, and encourage more purchases.

A more charitable mind will point to Siri's data consumption, though. Apple's servers have to do most of the work when calculating what you're trying to say to Siri, and suddenly opening this up to millions of iPhone and iPad users could cause a heinous server meltdown that would do no favours for Apple's otherwise top-notch reputation for offering a great user experience.

We expect to hear news of Siri's transition to iPad 2, if not other iOS devices, soon. Stay tuned for the latest details. Or perhaps we could just ask Siri...

via 9to5mac


October 17, 2011, 8:03 pm

I'd go with the Apple servers bit, it's pretty obvious even the 3G could handle siri, Audio capture is not processor bound.


October 18, 2011, 1:33 pm

This is a bit silly news, it's far from "proven" all that's been shown was the Siri ** menus ** working, not the voice part at all.

Let's keep the word "prove" and "fact" for actual proofs and facts shall we?

Audio capture may be, but voice synthesis is very much processor bound.


October 18, 2011, 4:05 pm

"voice synthesis", what you mean the bit were it talks to you? I can tell you that's not very processor bound either, I even had that ability in the days of my BBC micro.

From what I can gather this is how Siri works.
1. Capture your audio commands, maybe do some basic filtering.
2. Compress the audio so that it's does not take too much bandwidth.
3. Send compressed audio to Siri servers for processing
4. Retrieve decoded response from Siri
5. Use decoded response to give user different response views, use Speech synthesis to have that HAL effect.

Now none of the above would like I say even cause the 3G any issues. After all the Siri App was available on the App Store before Apple pulled it and that worked fine.

Now I don't blame Apple for not enabling for all iPhone users, because doing so would certainly overload the Siri Servers. Yes, Apple could maybe spend millions upgrading there network to cope, but that's not exactly fair. Now maybe Apple if they feel charitable in the future and the siri server have spare capacity your never know they might enable for older models.

Now here is the bit that might be of real interest, I actually do work in the field of Neural Networks, that's the bit that's doing the magic of understanding your voice. I've even got a feeling that the part the Siri servers are doing could also be processed locally without issue, Neural Networks take lots of processing and time for learning, but for executing it's very low. Now the reason I believe it's not done locally is because the technology could then easily be copied, and I'm sure this is something DARPA wouldn't take kindly too :), using the servers prevents any reverse engineering.


October 19, 2011, 3:06 pm

Not with this fluidity, have you actually used it? You need a fast processor for that.

I'm actually surprised they haven't stuck a bit of NOR flash in there somewhere too.


October 19, 2011, 4:16 pm

@Gk.pm: Not with this fluidity,

I'm sure a Dual core makes a lot of things go more fluid, but as pointed out the magic of Siri is not actually done on the phone, so this extra core isn't going to make a huge difference here.

Like I said, I don't believe Apple are wrong in what they have done, but I'm pretty sure it's not down the CPU speed. Internet Bandwidth is not cheap, if they opened up the Siri servers to all iOS devices it would certainly struggle. Look what happened when everyone tried to update to iOS 5 for a good example of this.

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