Siri is one of the most talked-about features of the new iPhone 4S. Sure, Apple’s latest phone also has a dual core processor which offers better performance than the chips found in the iPhone 4 or the latest iPod touch. But Apple’s new voice-assist service which lets you ask your phone questions — and get real answers is the show-stopping feature that makes the iPhone 4S special.

But it turns out that there’s really no technical reason Siri couldn’t run on older iOS devices. Apple just doesn’t offer it for any device other than the iPhone 4S.

That’s despite the fact that Siri was a standalone, third-party app until Apple bought the company that makes the software and incorporated the technology into iOS 5.

In fact, hackers have been trying to figure out how to port Siri to run on older iPhones and other iOS devices for the last few weeks — and now Steven Troughton-Smith has managed to get it working.

Up until now, we’ve seen a few folks get the software to start running — but since Siri needs to contact Apple’s servers to actually answer your questions, it wasn’t fully functional.

Troughton-Smith managed to grab some files from an iPhone 4S, copy them to an iPhone 4 and show Siri working perfectly.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to do this without copying files from Apple’s latest phone, and distributing those files without Apple’s permission would pretty much be an act of piracy. In other words, Troughton-Smith won’t be making the files available via Cydia or any other source.

But he does promise to post instructions for anyone that wants to follow in his footsteps.

Siri also reportedly works on the 4th generation iPod touch — but the microphone on that device isn’t as good as on the iPhone 4, which means you have to speak louder if you want the app to hear you.

via 9to5 Mac

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

4 replies on “There’s no good reason Siri is an iPhone 4s exclusive – Video”

  1. there is a perfectly good reason why siri is not available for the iphone4. sales. apple knows full well that the majority of their customer base either dont know or dont care about specs or features available on devices outside the magic kingdom. with a device that looks the same as the old one & very slight internal improvement that is already behind the competition, apple needed a “wow” feature to force the reason for upgrading. add to that the delay in releasing the 4S makes the earlier iphones that much older therby encouraging people to ditch 2 & 3 year old phones.

  2. Holden hits it on the head. Apple is all about the upgrade cycle and the halo effect. That’s why they’ve gimped iOS devices so much (to get you to purchase laptops & desktops) and every new iOS device has to have some “killer feature” that isn’t available to previous generations (either software or hardware)–that’s the big joke about iOS updates, they really aren’t full updates at all.

    The funny thing is, the only one that gets hurt by this is apple. I haven’t purchased and iOS device and won’t until apple puts out an iOS device that does all it is capable of doing (without me jailbreaking the bloody thing). If apple did this they would find that they would have a much larger market share–sure upgrades wouldn’t be as often but they would have a greater user base buying more apple products in general and they would have a huge lock-in via their ecosystem. BUT. . . that will never happen because Jobs ingrained his OCD control freak mindset into apple.
    Dear apple. . . you want to be even more successful? Give the users what they want–full control of their devices–and make the device as good as you can every single time, don’t gimp them via software and/or hardware. Hell, I would jump on board with that. . . but I don’t see it ever happening at apple.

  3. What a bunch of Apple haters. Gimping devices, forced obsolescence… Gosh, imagine a consumer goods company, any company, making something tech-wise that won’t be woefully outdated, underpowered, under-featured, two or three years from now. With the pace of improvements and advancements in processors and cheaper parts with more efficient and higher yields thanks to more effective manufacturing, you expect to use your phone forever? Go ahead! There’s nothing wrong with the iPhone 3G or 3GS.
    Every manufacturer banks on these cycles. Compare the first Droid to the most recent… Bunch of idiots.
    Also, anyone think that maybe the Siri server services couldn’t handle the volume of requests if the service wa rolled to every owner of an iPhone? Instead of 10 or 15 million phones to

    1. (cont) support, they’d have a hundred million. I’d bet they’ll roll it to iPads and maybe even older iPhones once they’re infrastructure-ready.

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