A developer ported the Siri voice command system from the new iPhone 4S (read our review) over to the previous generation iPhone 4. You can see from the video that the system runs, but not smoothly, and we don’t get an actual voice demonstration. The folks at 9to5Mac say that a user can speak to the phone and have it recognized. It works in the primary view engaged by holding the home button of the phone and when you tap on the voice button on the iOS keyboard. The Siri digital voice works as well.
The phone performs sluggishly because Siri requires the GPU driver of the iPhone 4S to run smoothly. They did not port that driver, hence the poor performance.
UPDATE: They now are able to get better speed, but still cannot reach the Apple servers. I’m betting this gets done soon, just as one of our commenters suggested below.
We’ve learned from the project that technologically there is no reason Apple could not include the Siri engine in the version of iOS 5 that runs on the iPhone 4 or possibly even on the 3GS. It certainly could run on the iPad 2 since it ships with the same processor as the iPhone 4S. The article’s author wrote:
We are not entirely sure why Apple is making Siri an iPhone 4S exclusive but it could be due to special microphone support, or because the A5 may allow it to run slightly quicker.
It’s nice of him to give Apple the benefit of the doubt, but I have another suggested reason: Money! If the iPhone 4S did not have Siri, would over a million people have preordered it last week? I wouldn’t have! The speed and camera help make it a nice upgrade, but Siri exclusivity pushed me over the edge and drew me back to the iPhone.
Below watch our editor Josh Smith demo Siri.
Siri is pretty great and I hope they bring it to my iPad 2