Look at that iPhone 4S, all sleek and new and, well, pretty much identical to the iPhone 4 on the outside. It’s what’s inside that counts, from the 4S’s superior camera and faster all-in-one processor to a voice assistant named Siri you can’t find anywhere else—anywhere else that’s not an Apple phone, anyway.
It sounds like a Siri port to Apple’s older iPhone 4 is in the offing. Apple is, according to jailbreak news-watcher JBN, testing Siri on devices “other than the iPhone 4S.” The claim’s origin? “A source close to Apple,” writes JBN. Grab your salt shakers, everyone, because here we go…
(MORE: What the Heck Happened to Siri?)
JBN’s hearing the iPhone 4, specifically, but since the source claims “phones,” plural, JBN reasons we’ll see Siri running on older devices, too. While I’m assuming for performance reasons that wouldn’t include anything with the number ’3′ in its moniker, there’s always the iPad and iPad 2.
The test, claims JBN’s source, involves a special version of Siri developed by Apple to work on “older devices” and handed out to select employees.
Happy as I’d be to see an iPhone 4 port of Siri, speaking as an iPhone 4 owner looking at a late 2012 upgrade timeframe, I’m not sure this rumor passes the smell test. The iPhone 4S is a nominal update to the iPhone 4. The camera’s better, true, but not spectacularly so, and the faster A5 processor’s arguably overkill for a device with a tiny 3.5-inch display (to say nothing of its impact on the phone’s battery life). Siri remains one of the 4S’s key distinctions. Why, assuming the company was toying with giving Siri away to iPhone 4 users as a freebie upgrade, would Apple eliminate that distinction?
Siri’s arrival on the iPad family is all but guaranteed, on the other hand, and it’s possible that’s what the scuttlebutt’s really about, say an iPad 2 version, perhaps to accompany the rumored iPad 2 update—not a full-on iPad 3—rumored to be in production now and shipping early next year.
Then again, hackers have been fiddling with Siri ports for older iPhones since the iPhone 4S launched last month, and we know earlier versions of Siri—previously available as an App Store download—ran well enough on older devices. So while I’m skeptical about the claim, it’s not unthinkable. But for now, assuming there’s anything to this rumor, my money’s on the iPad 2.