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Siri Ported to iPhone 4 from the 4S, Why Didn’t Apple?



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

iPhone 4S Siri ported to iPhone 4

via 9to5Mac



  1. Alexander Scott

    10/15/2011 at 9:56 am

    Considering that that 4S just came out yesterday, and it’s already been ported over today…my prediction is that we will have Siri running on our i4 by the end of next week.

  2. Rob Tanteo

    10/15/2011 at 10:35 am

    Since Apple confirmed Siri was still in beta-mode during the iPhone 4s announcement, though I agree that it has a whole lot to do with the ‘money aspect’, I also do believe Apple wants it to be close to perfect before releasing it on older iPhone versions.  Had they released it to all iPhones right now in the buggy state it’s currently in, then it would likely be ripped by the media and iPhone users.  Apple is doing the right thing here.  Siri will be ported to older iPhones, but only once it’s a solid product…which it’s not too far away from being already.

    • Matthew

      10/15/2011 at 10:09 pm

      I agree with you almost 100%. 

      In all honesty though, it really doesn’t seem all that buggy. 
      And if they were really worried about the media, and whoever else ripping it apart because it is not stable yet, why wouldn’t the beta be like iOS, where it is only available to registered dev’s. 
      As many good reasons that you do have, I believe it to be a stupid marketing ploy to get people to buy the 4s, because it isn’t the BIG of a step above the iPhone 4. Sure it has a dual core processor and GPU, and 8MP camera, but the iPhone 4 still runs perfectly fine. 
      This was not meant to argue with you either by the way. Simply stating my opinion. :)

  3. Neel Basra

    10/15/2011 at 1:27 pm

    “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.”

    You’re kidding me, right?

    Apple’s a corporation. They have to think of profits too. If the 4S had no exclusive feature, there would be no reason to buy it. A better camera? I don’t think I’d pay $300 for a better camera.

    • Stvnlngstn

      10/15/2011 at 1:47 pm

      People bought the 3GS for the better camera and processor.

      • Neel Basra

        10/15/2011 at 1:53 pm

        But that was because the 3G had very slow hardware. Lol.

      • Roy Obrien

        10/15/2011 at 2:15 pm

        and also it allowed for video recording mms etc

  4. Mark Stephenson

    10/15/2011 at 4:53 pm

    The 4S needed a unique selling point, Siri was it, it was always going to be able to run on a 4. Take Xcode 4.2… you cannot download it on Snow Leopard from the app store as it says it works on Lion only. This is BS as all the Beta’s worked on SL and the GM works perfectly fine on my Mac running SL.

    Its all a ruse to get you to upgrade.


  5. Herve

    10/15/2011 at 5:43 pm

    This demo demonstrate nothing at all. sluggish UI, no voice commands, nothing. This has the color of a hoax.

    • Anonymous

      10/17/2011 at 12:00 am

      Wrong. This is NOT a hoax. The sluggish UI has recently been fixed although the commands are not being accepted by Apple’s servers as they come from an iPhone 4, not a 4S. Look up the more recent video of the iPhone 4 running Siri.

  6. Beest Ruffian

    10/15/2011 at 6:30 pm

    ’cause it just runs better on the system its designed for, the 4S. But whatever..kudos to the geek who made it happen!

    • Anonymous

      10/17/2011 at 12:01 am

      It’s because the developer had to turn off his GPU in order to get it to work. The problem has been fixed recently, however.

  7. Ryan Cockburn

    10/15/2011 at 7:39 pm

    I can’t wait for the final ported product. 

  8. lsbeller

    10/15/2011 at 9:24 pm

    I downloaded the Siri app before Apple bought the company over a year ago and still have it on my 3GS. It is a separate app and not integrated the way it is on my 4S but it works flawlessly. It’s a lot like the Google App.


  9. Wasssssup

    10/16/2011 at 4:13 am

    There are more iPhone 4’s than there are iPhone 4s’s, hopefully apple is just limiting it during the beta period in case a serious bug pops up, in an effort to prevent widespread issues. Obviously as this is a realatively new and unique piece of software there is a high chance of something like this happening.But it wouldnt be the first time they have limited software…

  10. Naveed Persian

    10/19/2011 at 2:22 pm

    lol @ how slow that shit was… siri works great on my iphone 4s, and yeah its in beta mode, there are alot of flaws still… 

  11. Dawn

    07/01/2012 at 9:14 pm

    I have a 3GS and bought siri from the apple store long ago, I think was free and was great. During my update prior to the release of the 4s Siri was wiped from my phone as though I never had it. It is funny to me that they can talk like it was never available prior to the 4s release. I liked the app, it is a shame they wouldn’t leave it available for the select few that found it.

  12. Mike

    09/23/2012 at 9:00 am

    Yesterday iOS 6 came out and Siri is still not supported on my iPhone 4 but the 4s had more features added to Siri.

    Apple may think this will drive me to buy an iPhone 4S or 5. But in all truthfulness it drives me away. I can deal with new hardware as that’s normal. But to also limit software that can be supported is not right. So they say I look at it is, why pay $600 for a newer model of the 32 GB iPhone when in a few months they could put out a new version of that iPhone with a GS or S on it and add software that can be support by older models but won’t ? If you look at it that way you’ll feel like a fool wasting all that money each time.

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