Siri Is an Impossible Dream on Older iPhones

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Without a doubt, Siri is the biggest draw to upgrade to the newest iPhone, so it's no wonder that Apple now admits that they have no plans to offer it on older devices. Michael Steeber, a tech blogger with an entrepreneurial spirit, teased an answer out of Apple's engineering team by suggesting an optional iOS upgrade that would enable Siri on the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. Apple could charge "a fee of $19.99 US dollars," Steeber wrote in the bug report. The engineering team replied, "Siri only works on the iPhone 4S and we currently have no plans to support older devices." In other words, Apple would like everyone to go and buy the latest iPhone, please.

Hackers, however, have their own plans. Just over a week ago, developer Steven Troughton-Smith found a way to install Siri on an iPhone 4 that required you to jailbreak your iPhone and trudge through a less-than-simple 20-step process. Though they didn't publish a how-to, their hack revealed not only that older Apple devices could support Siri. At first, many wrongfully assumed that Siri's required the iPhone 4S's powerful new A5 processor, but the hack worked (after many failed efforts). In doing so, Troughton-Smith even tricked Apple's servers into offering full Siri support using iPhone 4S files that had been copied onto other devices. Since then, another developer named Ryan Petrich managed to get Siri working on an iPhone 3GS. So it would seem that hardware limitations are hardly the issue keeping Siri off of old devices.

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Then what gives? The obvious answer is that Apple really would like you to go and buy the latest iPhone. However, you might also consider the idea that Siri's not ready for the mass market. After all, the software is still in beta mode. Just a few days ago, we reported on a few of the headaches that Siri's inevitable bugs were creating for users. (Summary: "Sorry, I am having trouble connecting to the network.") We know too well that Apple doesn't deal well with a lack of perfection, and so Siri hopefuls should latch on to the word "currently" in the statement from Apple's engineers to Steeber. Maybe one day, when the market's right and Siri is ready, you'll be able to voice-control all of your Apple devices. Until then, keep dreaming — and watching YouTube videos that show you how cool Siri is.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.