Legal ‘Spire’ Hack Puts Siri on Jailbroken iOS 5 Devices

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Forget all those illicit, convoluted hacks that let you kind-of-sort-of put Siri on your iPhone or iPod Touch — how about one that not only works, but does so without violating copyright law?

It’s called Spire, and it still requires that you jailbreak your iOS device, so it’ll only appeal to that user niche, but the thorny legal question — prior hacks violate Apple copyright by requiring users pull down pirated copies of Siri — is no longer an issue. The solution: Spire just grabs the Siri code from Apple directly.

(MORE: Should We Ban Apple’s Siri While Driving?)

Spire, writes iOS hacker Grant Paul, is a “new tool for installing Siri on previously unsupported, but jailbroken, devices,” a small download that “while installing…will download Siri itself (directly from Apple).” But since Siri is a much larger download and “will use about 100 MB of data,” Paul advises you’ll probably want to be connected to Wi-Fi before you grab it.

Another upside to Spire: You can specify your own proxy device instead of using a preconfigured one (which Paul notes has “privacy issues”).

But the hack still has a significant hurdle: Since Apple requires an iPhone 4S to authorize requests, you’ll need a proxy device to get the job done. That’ll be a deal-breaker for many, but if you’re game, Paul offers a list of ideas to get you started.

The first sounds unwieldy — owning an iPhone 4S, though you could go this route if you’re trying to help family or friends with older iPhones. The second sounds more plausible — using a “pay for” service where you rent someone else’s iPhone 4S, wired up like a server somewhere and dedicated to handling Siri requests (though no one’s yet established how many incoming requests an iPhone 4S could handle).

Paul says a third possibility would involve outright replacing Siri with something like Google’s Chrome API “to decode the Siri requests and parse Google’s result,” in which case you wouldn’t be using Siri — call this the “Why doesn’t someone just clone or one-up Siri and make that available as an app?” option.

In the meantime, if you want to give Spire a try, you can grab it via jailbreak app store Cydia now.

MORE: Report: New iPhone 4 Siri Hack May Not Break the Law

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham, Google+ or Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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