Reports say Apple is testing the Siri, Voice Control App on devices other than the iPhone 4S.
Siri is a feature that lets users interact with almost every part of the iPhone using their voice. With the tap of an on-screen button users can ask Siri to write texts, set their alarm or search the nearby area for a good restaurant. The Voice Control app is only available on the latest Apple iOS device, the iPhone 4S.
The rumors supposedly come from sources close to Apple. They say that Siri is being tested on the iPhone 4 and possibly older versions as well.
This may be a response to the popularity of hackers who are working on a way to import Siri onto older iPhones. One of the biggest roadblocks for hackers to hurdle is that most of Siri's processing takes place on Apple's servers. Siri doesn't do much on-board computing but instead send queries back to Apple's supercomputers. Since Siri has to connect over the Internet, Apple can make sure the phone issuing Siri-related requests is also an iPhone 4S. However, hackers have been making headway in that department, though there is still no firm date of when those who have jailbroken their phones can get the new feature.
Some are skeptical that Siri will ever come to older iPhones. Other than a faster processor and more on-board storage, Siri is basically the only reason why someone would buy the 4S over the iPhone 4. If Apple were to port the voice app to older devices it also might irk some loyal Apple fans who ditched their older devices for the iPhone 4S.
Some may wonder what Apple would get if they port the feature to older phones other than delighting a good segment of its user base. The company does collect data from people's Siri searches and uses that data for its advertising business iAd. A much larger base would mean much more data being collected, making iAd even more powerful and profitable.
We'll have to see if the rumors are true in the coming months. Siri is still in beta and Apple plans to add more languages and support for local searches, among other improvements, sometime in 2012.