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A5 Mystery Solved (Why Siri Won't Run On iPhone 4)

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the can't-do-it-no-siree dept.

Iphone 239

Hugh Pickens writes "Anna Leach reports that Siri support has been a contentious issue for owners of earlier iPhones, but a recent filing from Audience shows that Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because the phone's chip can't handle it. Linley Gwennap of the Linley Group cracked one of the secrets of the new iPhone's A5 chip after working out that it packs some serious audio cleaning power not available on the iPhone 4's A4 chip. Audience has developed technology that removes most or all of the background noise when someone places a cell-phone call from a restaurant, airport, or other noisy location. The iPhone 4S integrates Audience's 'EarSmart' technology directly into the A5 processor, improving its technology to handle 'far-field speech,' which means holding the device at arm's length rather than directly in front of the mouth. Apple has also licensed the Audience technology for a 'new generation of processor IP,' which may mean that the forthcoming A6 processor will appear in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5. 'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear. An acquisition would prevent Audience's other major customer, Samsung, from using the technology to compete with Apple,' says Gwennap. 'The company may be hedging its bets, as it could switch to Qualcomm's Fluence noise-reduction technology in the future.'"

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Post "first post" to slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947005)

frosty piss.

Interesting but wrong (5, Insightful)

zonker (1158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947015)

Or at least not the whole story. It has been shown already that a jailbroken iPhone 4 can run Siri just fine.

Re:Interesting but wrong (4, Informative)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947055)

Prior to Siri being released it was an APP in the App store, folks I knew used the silly thing and no it wasn't called Siri. Apple had purchased the technology\application and about a week before Siri was released on the 4s the app stopped working as the back end servers were shutdown. I never loaded the app but wish I had because while Siri is interesting it certainly wasn't so interesting as to be a compelling upgrade from an iPhone 4. Siri, like the app before it, is a work in progress for sure! If I can recall the app name or get hold of the friend that was using it I'll post the app name - obviously it's no longer available in the app store and hasn't been for some time now.

Re:Interesting but wrong (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947071)

Yep.

It's pretty funny to say "it's hardware" when there's nothing preventing apple from running it in software except choice (the restriction of the customer's, that is).

This is what you get when you run apple. Literally - you let them dictate the software that you can run, this is the result. Don't like it? Don't use apple.

Re:Interesting but wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947171)

Well, reading TFS, it says they "licensed a new generation of processor IP" -- but if you ask me, that sounds suspiciously like "licensed some DSP code that runs on any sufficiently-powerful DSP, but only paid for a license for their new chip (and pay royalties on the DSP code for every A5, whether it runs Siri or not)" -- cheaper than paying licensing for all manufactured iPhone 4 units (whether or not they use Siri) and provides an incentive to buy the latest. There's absolutely no reason something like that would be implemented in dedicated silicon, it just doesn't make sense. And yeah, it's possible the A4's DSP isn't powerful enough, but I have a hard time seeing how speech cleanup could be more demanding than x264 de/encoding...

Re:Interesting but wrong (3, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947295)

Well, reading TFS, it says they "licensed a new generation of processor IP" -- but if you ask me, that sounds suspiciously like "licensed some DSP code that runs on any sufficiently-powerful DSP, but only paid for a license for their new chip

That would make the statement "Siri can only run on the A5" true, then. It's just that the "why" is not the most obvious why. The why is a legal/contractual why.

I don't know why anybody cares, Siri isn't very useful at the present time anyway.

Re:Interesting but wrong (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947751)

Obviously it isn't true. Siri has been widely reported to be working on the A4 chip. This is clearly a 'May' situation instead of a 'Can' situation.

Re:Interesting but wrong (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947901)

I don't think you understood the content of the article. 4 and 4S can indeed run Siri, but Siri does it better in the very environments where it's important. Without the noise reduction hardware, Siri doesn't work nearly well enough on an iPhone 4. Lets face it. If you're at home and you need something you have your computer and a full keyboard in front of you. You would probably use them. Siri is typically used out and about where the background noise is the worst. The two have been compared, and in a quiet environment, they are comparable. put them in a noisy room and the iPhone 4 can't compete with the 4S.

Re:Interesting but wrong (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947975)

The big problem with Siri isn't background noise. Siri just isn't all that smart. If you want to do simple things - send a simple text, it sort of works - just like voice commands have sort of worked since, oh, around 2000. If you want to do complex things it sometimes works, but very often screws up. When it screws up, you end up keyboarding the problem. Might as well go for the keyboard in the first place.

Re:Interesting but wrong (3, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948075)

I'm guessing you've never used it given your response. Texting works very well, assuming you don't have some odd accent it's not programmed to handle. General queries also work well. I find the word recognition to be good enough for day to day. Comparing any voice recognition app to something from 2000 is a stretch in the extreme, and a flat out lie at best. If this was easy, it would be on every platform out there. Take a look at the recent Android attempts to duplicate it.

As to functionality, I find it works relative well for day to day tasks, general texting, and simple management. Then again, I'm not expecting Star Trek in a phone, but rather a phone that does a few things well.

Re:Interesting but wrong (4, Informative)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947105)

Actually, it WAS called Siri before Apple bought it. I still have a copy of the app on my iPhone, although it's useless now since it won't communicate with the server. The original version wasn't exactly what shipping with the iPhone 4S. Yes, it's the same basic technology, but that's it. For whatever reason, it seems as though Apple didn't think the technology was good enough without the add-ons that come with the 4S.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947259)

uh yes the app was called siri back then, I used it myself for over a year. I still have the .ipa file.

Re:Interesting but wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947057)

[Citation Required]

Re:Interesting but wrong (3, Informative)

zonker (1158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947121)

[Citation Required]

Took all of a 5 seconds to find the article on C|net's own site to find this which shows Siri on a 3GS and 4:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57320077-233/developer-ports-siri-to-iphone-3gs/ [cnet.com]

But I'm sure you've heard of Google too. Derp.

Re:Interesting but wrong (5, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947393)

Interestingly, the link you posted seems to be consistent with this new explanation: "Petrich tells 9to5Mac that the port really only works when no ambient noise is present." In the cnet article they chalk this up to microphone quality, but you would see something similar if it is indeed due to noise removal instead.

Of course, noise remval is still software algorithms, so should be possible without hardware support. Then again, the same can be said for 3d gaming, and it sucks pretty bad without hardware acceleration.

Re:Interesting but wrong (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947633)

'Of course, noise remval is still software algorithms, so should be possible without hardware support."

Realtime software always requires hardware support. In fact all software requires hardware support, even if the hardware is a human being with a pencil, a piece of paper, and a wetware co-processor.

Re:Interesting but wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947661)

You knew what he meant, why did you have to be a dipshit about it?

Re:Interesting but wrong (5, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947679)

I am a software architect, dwelling exclusively in the ethereal realm of abstractions, trouble me not with your "physics."

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947141)

[7] [redsn0w.us]

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947297)

[Citation Required]

[Authors name required]

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947645)

Actually, you mean: [Authors Slashdot ID Required]

Otherwise, though, kudos to you. I don't know why anyone even bothers to reply to ACs who are clearly trolling.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947693)

Your right, why didn't I think of that? I even got a flame bait out of it. I just couldn't resist.

Re:Interesting but wrong (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947899)

Well, it is perfectly understandable. People who write [citation required] are the second lowest form of Slashdot Scum, with the first being those that post the same ridiculous drivel as an AC. The best response is to send them to the correct citation [justfuckinggoogleit.com], of course ;-)

Let those who would mod intelligent responses to inane posts as flamebait choke on that! Cheers!

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38948009)

[citation needed] is always a valid response to an unsourced claim, and any snotty complaint about that is a transparent attempt to pretend that it is up to skeptics to prove your claim wrong when you know that in reality it is up to you to prove yourself right. A lie, in other words.

The only correct replies to [citation needed] are:
1. A citation. Of an actual source. No, Google links do not count. And no whiny passive-aggressive bullshit like you added in your initial response to the AC.
2. An admission that you cannot produce any citation, and so your claim should be treated as suspect until a citation is produced.

Anything else is whining and it is lying. No exceptions.

Yes, that means you, Zero__Kelvin, are a liar and a whiner.

The same applies to pjbgravely, who lied by insinuating that there is any connection between the validity of a post and whether it was made anonymously or pseudonymously. Modding his post as Flamebait was objectively correct, and you are the one who is "choking on that", because you know that you have no choice to agree completely with it.

Re:Interesting but wrong (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947073)

Yesterday (after reading the article), I did some Siri tests with a 4S and my girlfriend's jailbroken 4. For all the tests, the phones were next to each other and I only spoke once for both of them. With no/minimal background noise, they had the same results. With the tele on in the background, the 4S was much more reliable.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947303)

Thank you for this test.

This is why Siri is only allowed on the 4S by Apple. It doesn't matter if Siri can run on the iPhone 4 if it's useless 95% of the time in noisy environments. Not to mention the bad reputation iPhone 4 owners would give to Siri.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947397)

Strange that other manufacturers seem to be able to integrate the same tech entirely in software. The A4 isn't that much slower than Samsung CPUs and has the same NEON instructions. Talk time is comparable so if there is a special DSP in the iPhone it doesn't seem to offer any advantage. Sound quality is no different.

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947467)

I think you're missing the point that what Siri on the iPhone 4S does IS DIFFERENT from what other manufacturers provide. Yes, others do voice recognition, but it's not nearly as good under as many circumstances as what Siri does. Have you seen the various video comparisons (on YouTube) between Siri and Android phones interpreting the same commands? There's no comparison between the two.

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947761)

You're confusing voice recognition and natural language interpretation logic. As such, your perspective is null and void.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947485)

When you write the software assuming that something is done in hardware, it doesn't matter that it could be done in software. You can render most video games in software, but that doesn't mean that you can get away without a GPU that supports OpenGL or DirectX no matter how fast your computer is.

Re:Interesting but wrong (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947943)

With the tele on in the background, the 4S was much more reliable.

It is easy to have a poke at Apple as trying to force people to upgrade but there are other reasons for them to be cautious. If Siri did have dubious performance then it would be dismissed as a half-arsed gimmick, likely damaging it's reputation for a long time. As there are a lot more older iPhones out there being used than there are 4S models the majority of people experiencing Siri would be doing so with inferior sound quality and judging it accordingly.

As it is it looks pretty cool but I will probably keep using my 3GS for at least one more generation if it keeps on ticking.

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38948031)

Except that there's absolutely no reason that the DSP couldn't be done entirely on the back end for devices that didn't have it; you can't tell me that DSP operations are expensive in relation to, you know, speech recognition.

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947135)

But then there'd be no reason to stand in the rain waiting to swap your 4 for a 4s.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947707)

You say it like standing in line for anything is a good thing.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948001)

> You say it like standing in line for anything is a good thing.

I can't remember the last time I stood in line for anything not food or theater related. I've learned, however, not to go to my favorite coffee drive-thru on the way to work whenever Apple releases a new product. The coffee shop is right next to where the proselyte congregate waiting to receive their new icon, and it's impossible to drive a car through. (Except maybe really really fast, but then I'd have some 'splanin' to do.) (Oh c'mon, it's a joke!)

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947403)

Yup. It's mainly because the server power needed to process Siri commands is pretty large and Apple didn't want to overload the servers.

Re:Interesting but wrong (1)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947559)

I think the key to the correctness of the story and your post for that matter lies largely in the rather subjective definition of "just fine".

Re:Interesting but wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947727)

Everyone knows it's because of Steve Jobs communicating from the great beyond.

He wouldn't want something as perfect as Sirii to be installed in an inferior device such as a normal iPhone4.

Oh, great... (3, Insightful)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947027)

improving its technology to handle 'far-field speech,' which means holding the device at arm's length rather than directly in front of the mouth

I thought cell phone users were annoying enough when they constantly raised their voice as if the other end were deaf; now people are going to be yelling at their phones from across the room.

Re:Oh, great... (4, Funny)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947203)

Wait until they set up the iPhone to hang on the wall, with an earpiece you hold up to your head when making a call.

Going to be? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947569)

Don't you remember the Nextel craze?

People's phones would chirp and scream at them and they would press a button, it would chirp at them again and they would scream right back.

Some people would have extended conversations this way. In the middle of a room of annoyed people.

Maddening.

Re:Oh, great... (1)

phoenix_rizzen (256998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947621)

My biggest pet peeve with cell phone users are those who *always* use the speakerphone. It's bad enough I have to listen to your side of the conversation. I don't need to hear the other side of it.

And even worse are those who have it on speakerphone *and* hold it within 6 inches of their face. Being on the other end of such calls sounds like someone crinkling aluminum foil ... it's barely decipherable as words.

It's a phone. Use it like a phone. Stick it to the side of your head. You know, where the ear and cheek are. It's okay that the phone only reaches halfway down your cheek. The microphone will pick up your voice when you talk normally. It's designed to work that way.

The worst part is that it's not even old people doing it. It's young people, who were "raised with technology" that do it the most.

Re:Oh, great... (1)

tombeard (126886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947657)

No, now that our government approved tracking/monitoring device can hear side conversations as well its utility in enhanced.

Re:Oh, great... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947877)

There is that...every iPhone user a walking, talking surveillance machine. I wouldn't even go so far as to say Apple planned it that way - but if the capability exists, someone in the ever more empowered "A" agencies will see utilizing it as...part of their job.

Re:Oh, great... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947837)

Why would they yell across the room? Are they going to hold the home button down until it chirps, walk away to the opposite end of the room, and shout "CALL MOM"?

No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947063)

The iPhone 4 doesn't come with Siri.

I'm sorry Apple chose not to go out of their way to retroactively add a server-side feature to your year-old phone. If you think that's a dick move, give the Android update model a try.

Re:No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (3, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947213)

But the iPhone 4 use to run Siri. Apple removed it from the App Store, broke everyones existing copy by blocking it from the servers and then made it a 4S exclusive.

Re:No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (2)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947345)

The Android update model's been working great for me. My Samsung Epic shipped with Eclair and has since been updated to Froyo, and Gingerbread. Samsung is working on another update to the phone right now, 17 months after the phone's initial release.

Fully functional and stable CM7 and CM9 builds for the Epic are also available from the community.

Come to think of it, you don't even need an Android phone for the Android update model to work for you. I was running Android on my Touch Pro 2 before I got the Epic!

Re:No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38948055)

http://epiccm.blogspot.com/p/cm9-status.html

Perfectly... stable?

Re:No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947391)

The Android update model:

1) Flash the latest CyanogenMod

2) Update it when the update comes out

Not too hard (at least on the newer phones, some older ones need exploits)

Re:No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947649)

So to get updates on Android, you firstly have to remove the software which the manufacturer intended for that device? Is that because the manufacturer generally no longer gives a shit once they've taken your money? And on older phones, you need to use exploits in order to get updates? Wow, I really want an Android phone now.

Re:No, Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because... (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947701)

Or if you have a reference phone:

1) Wait for the updates to come to your phone automatically
2) Start flashing Cyanogenmod the day the phone comes out of support, with a single command needed for the bootloader unlock.

That must be why it works just as well on A4 (2, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947065)

I have tried Siri on a jailbroken iPhone 4 and it works just as well, I did not notice any difference.
I doubt this is a major reason for not enabling this on the iPhone 4, especially when taking into account how little difference "just" the improved camera and a dual core processor is to most users.

I would think the improved hardware sensor played a major role, but again, Siri worked just as well for me on an iPhone 4.

Also, I'm surprised that they advertise as "removing most or all of the background noise", while Siri did a fairly good job of knowing who was talking to her, it gets confused too often, which means that it won't work very well if other people in the room are talking.

Re:That must be why it works just as well on A4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947185)

So Siri worked well for you, or it didn't work well? I can't tell. Maybe the noise reduction in the A5 would have given better results for when other people were talking.

Re:That must be why it works just as well on A4 (0)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947421)

Server load is the main reason for limiting Siri's use to 4S owners.

Mystery? (5, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947075)

I always assumed the answer was something to the effect of:


boolean siriEnabled() {
    return (system.cpu.version >= 5.0);
}

Is anything else really needed? They don't want to support it on older models so you have to buy the new one. Conversely, if you really want the feature, buy the latest phone. Personally I find Siri an overhyped piece of junk. I have a 4S and I disabled it because it kept getting activated randomly and rarely understood my commands. Plus for the basic stuff like weather, I can just open the app. The anecdotal crap like "Will I need an umbrella today?" is just a dumb gimmick to me. But anyway, the fact is that the 4S is really an incremental improvement over the 4, and Siri is the one feature Apple can point to on the 4S as a differentiator, so they enforce that differentiation.

Good article, bad summary (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947097)

Possibly true: Siri uses a unique feature of the iPhone 4S.
False: Siri won't run on the iPhone 4

Siri runs just fine on jailbroken a iPhone 4, and it ran just fine on an iPhone 4 Before apple removed it [google.com]. Kudos to the authors for enhancing Siri to use new features of the A5 chip. Good job to the researcher who figured this out. But shame on anyone who uses this as FUD to make Apple look like they didn't cripple their own product to force people to upgrade.

Re:Good article, bad summary (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947163)

I see this differently. Siri uses a feature of the 4S to work more reliably (by doing a better job of filtering background noise). Yes it runs on the 4, but not as well, so it makes sense that Apple would disable it entirely. The only thing worse than not having access to a new feature is having it not work, which reflects badly on the company that created it.

Apple is not in the habit of releasing half-finished features. They either don't have a feature, or they do it right. Apparently they didn't think Siri on the iPhone 4 was good enough to enable. I'm sure there are other reasons, one of them surely being driving upgrades, but this seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to not enable a feature.

Re:Good article, bad summary (2)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947463)

"Yes it runs on the 4, but not as well, so it makes sense that Apple would disable it entirely"

Given the nature of the feature, the same could be said for simply using it as a phone, and by your logic it would make sense for Apple to disable the use of all iPhones older than the 4S as telephones...

It would be a pretty aggressive business model, though.

Re:Good article, bad summary (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947497)

I understand with that philosophy, and I would agree if it had not already been available on the iPhone 4 for over a year then pulled it from the market after Apple bought the company.

Re:Good article, bad summary (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948147)

Apple is not in the habit of releasing half-finished features. They either don't have a feature, or they do it right.

I don't understand that philosophy, at least as it relates to Apple. They have a history of pushing out iOS upgrades that tend to degrade performance on older machines, requiring a point release to improve it enough to be viable.

Apple is just as bad as everyone else in terms of dumping half baked concepts out there. In fact, I think Apple does less testing than some other vendors. I never upgrade any Apple device until the .3 rev shows up. I never buy the first generation of Apple hardware.

And I like Apple, in general. But this idea that somehow they're perfectionists is really pixie dust.

Re:Good article, bad summary (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947233)

Or maybe they wanted Siri to work really well, - even if there's background noise.

Apple's now defunct Newton was laughed at over the original version's poor handwriting recognition. Even though it improved immensely over time, lots of folks never got over that initial bad impression.

Re:Good article, bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947311)

You're very entitled to think that Apple (or any other company) should give you a product for free. What is wrong with a for-profit company restricting a selling point to a profitable item and not giving it away for free?

Is it unethical that Nvidia turns off parts of a GPU to sell you a "lower" version if the GPU at a lower price? Should they be forced to implement all possible features and remove product lines?

Re:Good article, bad summary (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947389)

The issue is that Siri was free, and then Apple took it away and made it an exclusive feature of a new phone so people would buy it. Personally, I dont care. But the claim that there is any technical reason for it other then to get people to buy new hardware doesn't stack up. Sure, it may run better on the 4S, but it was running fine on the 3GS at one point.

Re:Good article, bad summary (1)

gamanimatron (1327245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947615)

That depends on what you mean by "running fine." There's a major difference between "this works well enough we could charge a couple bucks for the app" and "this works well enough we're going to hype up the next version of our flagship hardware with it."

Re:Good article, bad summary (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947987)

There's a major difference between "this works well enough we could charge a couple bucks for the app" and "this works well enough we're going to hype up the next version of our flagship hardware with it."

Too true! To charge a couple bucks means the app must work well consistently.

To hype the next version of a flagship product, it just needs to work most of the time.

To be a flagship product, it only needs to be minimally functional.

Re:Good article, bad summary (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947567)

"Wrong" is subjective here.

Apple is certainly allowed to create artificial barriers and encourage people to upgrade devices. Yes, even if those barriers are motivated entirely by profit.

Meanwhile, potential and existing customers could and should evaluate Apple's business tendencies and attitude towards existing customers. That's part of what a rational consumer does before making any future purchases.

Both sides can and do exhibit varied expectations measured against reality. You called it "entitlement". The rest of us just call it "business".

Re:Good article, bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947523)

I liken it to the new voice recognition systems in the average car these days.

While the tech works pretty well if the car isn't moving and / or the interior is dead silent, it is utterly useless when the car is actually at speed. The interior road noise just kills the damn thing completely. To the point where I won't even try to use it if moving at all.

. . . while on the freeway . . .

Me: Call Home
Car: You said Mall . . . .
Me: WTF ? Mall . . how the hell did . . .
Car: The nearest Mall is 4.2 miles away . . .
Me: No, no no. . . CALL HOME
Car: Ok. Calling Brian . . on cell at home or on other ?
Me: OH FOR F*CKS SAKE . . . HOME. . CALL HOME . . H-O-M-E
Car: I didn't understand that . . . . . .
Me: BECAUSE YOU'RE A F*CKING RETARD BUILT BY RETARDS
Car: Can you repeat that ?
Me: SPAAAAAAAAAAAARTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHH

Mine works fine (4, Informative)

anethema (99553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947127)

I am using Spire to enable Siri on my i4 and it seems to work fine. I can use it fine while it is sitting in the dock in my truck about 4 feet from my mouth with tire, engine, and heater noise going. Not sure if it works better on a 4S but there are quite a few people using Siri on jailbroken i4's without problems.

Re:Mine works fine (1)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947353)

Do you also have a 4S with a proxy server installed? Where are all these people getting access to a Siri proxy? Are you trying to tell me I can install Spire and it will "just work?"

Re:Mine works fine (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947525)

Tire, engine and heater noise are easier to filter out. Try it with the radio on, or while someone else is speaking at the same time.

Needs work (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947249)

Siri is interesting, and probably a good start, but the noise filtering routines need work. When I try to use Siri in my noisy, diesel powered Jeep, well let me just say that the results can be quite amusing. I wonder, to improve the routines does the chip have to be redone?

Re:Needs work (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947405)

In my rather normal Mazda hatchback, my phone can be in its cradle in the dashboard, about three feet away, and the transcription is generally faultless; definitely different results when I try to use it with the radio on :)

Does "Ear Smart" enhance other functions? (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947283)

Is this audio cleanup technology on for "normal" use I.e. making phone calls? Can it be switched on or off in Apps so that, for example, a program like Skype could use it? Maybe Apple should provide an API for it (I assume they haven't already).

Is it (the algorithms) very processor intensive? Would that preclude a software only version of it running as a background process on a jail broken phone? Will the (rumored) upcoming quad core chips be able to run it without dedicated silicon?

By the way, I recently had the pleasure of going up in a small private plane and, in the cockpit, wore some headsets which remarkably cut out the background noise but recognized whenever we spoke. Is that what this technology does?

Many here missed the point (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947291)

There is already a dozen comments or so about how the article is wrong because Siri works on a jailbroken iPhone 4. That was never the point of the article. We know that it will work because of the jailbreaks. The question is why Apple didn't allow it to work on the 4. The article suggests a hardware limitation in that while the A4 chip can run Siri it lacks the much better audio processing the A5 has to remove background noise. Design wise this means that the Siri was meant to be used at a distance instead of always next to user's mouth. Also this means the 4S should be able to handle noise better. This is speculation but a reasonable one as I can see Apple not releasing a feature for quality reasons even if people disagree it is really a valid reason for them.

Re:Many here missed the point (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947753)

Design wise, Siri was one of the "you're not cool unless you have this" features that Apple used to dupe their customers into buying a new phone.

Re:Many here missed the point (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948179)

I'm pretty sure every manufacturer tries to get new features in their phones so that you will buy them. The only people that seemed overly concerned whether a feature is cool are the fanboys and the haters. Most people see a new feature and merely add it to the plus category when deciding on a model.

Re:Many here missed the point (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948163)

Except that there's a difference between "not releasing" for older iPhone models and "removing from" older iPhone models. Yes, I know Siri-as-on-4S is not the same as what was available from the App Store before.

Think of it, if you will, as follows:
Apple buys Rovio Mobile. Then they take Angry Birds, and make a better version - one that uses the reality distortion field sensor in the iPhone 5, perhaps. Then they disable Angry Birds on the 4S and every model prior, citing quality issues on earlier models that make for an inferior experience.

Far-fetched? Sure. Now instead replace it with a sat nav app - iPhone 5 has a better GPS, so they disable support on earlier models citing quality issues. Or a stargazing app - iPhone 5 has a better set of accelerometer/compass sensors, so they disable support on earlier models citing quality issues.

Yes, it might save them from user complaints that the sky view is sometimes twitchy, that the nav app puts them on the wrong road in downtown NY, or that the angry birds are at times not particularly angry just as Siri might misunderstand a few commands once in a while (and there's no shortage of that even on the 4S). But is that a valid reason for pulling the feature from the devices?

Compare this to the Asus Transformer Prime. Its GPS apparently has issues. Rather than disabling it, they informed their users about it, offered updates that address it (but don't fix it entirely) and told users they can take it back for a refund, and removed the GPS feature from advertising materials so that those looking to buy one should know that the unadvertised GPS feature is, well, unadvertised.. use at own peril.

Apple's case would be even simpler, as iPhones didn't ship with Siri until the 4S - so existing users wouldn't have any expectation as to the reliability of the feature beyond that which they were used to, and they could still simply not offer it to new users.

Apple/Audience buyout. . . (3, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947305)

"'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear."

Perhaps it's because Audience doesn't want to be bought? Even without Siri, it sounds like that tech would be useful in EVERY SINGLE PHONE - would make conversations a bit easier in noisy locations.

Audience probably figures that by broadly licensing the tech to every phone company in the world, they'll make MORE MONEY that Apple would be willing to offer them. At least, they might be betting on it.

Applications outside of phones. . . (2)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947333)

A moment's more reflection, and not only does the tech sound useful for every phone - sounds useful for any device with a microphone - video cameras, sound boards, computers, public address systems, teleconferencing systems, voice control systems in cars, voice control systems for customer support call-center use, etc.

It sounds like one of those rare instances of a technology which has almost universal applications.

Re:Applications outside of phones. . . (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947399)

Yeah. And Apple owning the implementation of the technology would be a substantial roadblock those who want the ubiquity of public closed-circuit TV with the power of Echelon. Every microphone being monitored, decoded, and analyzed by AI, producing a constant flow of actionable intelligence.

No, you're right, I'm probably just being paranoid.

Re:Applications outside of phones. . . (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947663)

And Apple owning the tech would be a roadblock how, exactly? It's not like someone doing that would have any qualms about using the tech illegaly.

Apple hates the dreaded F-word (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947355)

Hold on, so there's a cell phone of a particular OS which appears to have different capabilities and thus can't run the same software as its immediate predecessor. And both of them are on the market at the same time, you say?

Wait, wait... there's... somewhere in my mind... I'm remembering something... there's a word there I remember from long ago... it... it starts with an 'F'... F... F... Fra... Frag... FragmentatiALL GLORY AND HONOR TO THE ALMIGHTY SAINT JOBS AS IT WAS WRITTEN AT JANUARY 1, 1904 AND SHALL BE UNTIL HIS GLORIOUS SECOND COMING! ALL GLORY TO HIS AVATAR, DOGCOW! ALL GLORY! SOSUMI! SOSUMI!

Woah, sorry, guys. Don't know what just hit me. Anyway, as I was about to say, the... um... word... it... oh, forget it. I've got to get in line for the iPad 3! I heard that before his ascension into... before his death, Jobs himself sweated over the first batch of plastic cases! Oh boy!

Re:Apple hates the dreaded F-word (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947449)

I wish I didn't use my modpoints up. That post was actually pretty funny. Shame on whoever modded it -1.

iPhone 4 has an Audience chip too (5, Informative)

WarpedCore (1255156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38947445)

http://www.ifixit.com/blog/2011/05/17/unveiled-audience-powers-iphone-4s-impressive-noise-cancellation/ [ifixit.com]

There's been an Audience chip included in the iPhone 4 since June 2010. When iFixit tore down the iPhone 4S and noticed the chip wasn't there, it was assumed that the chip was either integrated into the A5 design or that Apple opted to do noise-cancellation without the need of an Audience chip.

It's true that the A4 chip doesn't have an Audience subprocessor in it but it doesn't mean that the iPhone 4 doesn't have the chip included somewhere else on its motherboard. The conclusion that the iPhone 4 can't do Siri is absolute garbage. The conclusion that the iPhone 4 can't do Siri technically because of this kind audio subprocessor is not being included in the iPhone 4's design needs to have their head examined and start doing some research. This entire thing is hogwash.

Facinating...so why won't SIRI work on my IPAD 2? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947889)

Still does not explain why siri will not work on my ipad 2.

Re:Facinating...so why won't SIRI work on my IPAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38948095)

you need the a6 proc to work at that distance

Because in capitalism we want no competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38947895)

"'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear. An acquisition would prevent Audience's other major customer, Samsung, from using the technology to compete with Apple,' says Gwennap."

The latter is prevalent thought, but that prevalence belies one of capitalism's stated goals: competition to drive quality up and price down, and to provide consumer choice.

Then again, another stated goal of capitalism is in fact to eliminate competition. I guess that means capitalism is not internally consistent, but rather it is paradoxical.

Re:Because in capitalism we want no competition? (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948053)

Who stated that goal? Some capitalist's PR flack?

The stated goal of capitalism is to gain more valuable property. Any other goal is either a means to that end, or an end for which capitalism is merely the means, or just not capitalism - or some combination.

In fact the goal of most capitalists is to ignore quality while driving profits up for purchasing more property. Stated or otherwise. Capitalists don't want competition; they want monopoly. It's only when other capitalists must compete with them that there is competition.

Why Not Buy Up AUdience (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38948029)

'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear. An acquisition would prevent Audience's other major customer, Samsung, from using the technology to compete with Apple,' says Gwennap

Maybe Samsung has contracts with Audience that prevent dropping Samsung while Samsung phones depend on Audience. Or maybe Samsung has some other methods of protecting itself from being screwed that way. They seem obviously necessary to mitigate the risk of depending on a small company like Audience. One might as well wonder why Samsung hasn't screwed Apple this same way, with the same speculative answers.

The whole approach is completely anticompetitive, and neither Samsung nor Apple are likely to be vulnerable to such an obvious risk. Gwennap is superficial for asking without looking into the likely answers. And pretty scummy for looking to such anticompetitive practices for advantages.

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