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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple's new Siri personal assistant feature on the iPhone 4S includes a "raise to speak" feature that allows Siri to be activated whenever an active iPhone is raised to the user's ear. The device is able to sense the raising action using a proximity sensor capable of detecting how close the user's face is to the screen. The iPhone has always incorporated proximity sensors in order to turn off the device's display during phone calls to prevent accidental input, but Siri's raise to speak feature requires that the device be ready to sense proximity to the user's face at all times.

siri_raise_to_speak.jpg



Teardown firm iFixit has gone back to its original teardown of the iPhone 4S to highlight the sensor involved and show how it emits infrared light at all times to support Siri's raise to speak function.
During our iPhone 4S teardown, iFixit buddy Markus noted that the new iPhone had a rather unusual-looking black component next to the ambient light sensor. We didn't make much of a fuss about it since we were knee-deep in disassembly pictures, but the little black box certainly piqued our curiosity.

Now that the teardown is wrapped up, we've re-opened the mystery and made a neat discovery about the 4S: that black component is an infrared LED, and the little bugger almost always wants to know if you're nearby.
In a video, iFixit demonstrates how the iPhone 4's proximity sensor is only activated while on a phone call, while the sensor on the iPhone 4S is active whenever the device's display is on.


Article Link: iPhone 4S Incorporates Revamped IR Sensor for Siri's 'Raise to Speak' Feature
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
11,051
12,450
Vilano Beach, FL
I wonder how much juice that uses IR'ing all day? I'd guess based on the battery life on our various IR remotes not much[?]
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,521
4,137
Twin Cities Minnesota
This could potentilaly be why they don't want to support Siri on older devices. :confused:

I am sure Siri would still work, but perhaps they could simply remove the raise to speak feature, or just use the gyroscope and accelerometer to tell the software that the phone is being raised.

Wouldn't an other use for this sensor be for detecting proximity of a person's face? I have seen threads on proximity detector not working well on the iPhone 4 causing spurious inputs for various people. I would be curious if 4s users have less of a problem with this ( my 4 hasn't had issues with the prox sensor, but I may just have a big face :eek: )
 

al0513

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2011
384
0
So they revamped it??

It still barely works for me!! I have to shoot it up to my face and speak real quick most of the time for it to work.
 

crisss1205

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2008
849
138
NYC
I wonder how much juice that uses IR'ing all day? I'd guess based on the battery life on our various IR remotes not much[?]

Well your remote only sends out an IR signal when you press a button, this is on all the time. If you accidentally sit on your remote leaving the button pressed down the remote battery could die out a little faster.
 

Pooshka

macrumors 65816
Jun 28, 2008
1,162
0
Does 'Raise to Speak' work for you 100%?

For me, it's hit-and-miss; sometimes the phone registers 'Raise to Speak', sometimes it doesn't. Can be very frustrating. Not sure if something's wrong with my device.
 

britboyj

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2009
706
829
I shall be turning this off now. I should have an option to activate with the home button and then have it work when held to my face, but not have it ALWAYS ready for raise-to-speak.
 

bp1000

macrumors 65816
Jul 7, 2011
1,402
92
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A334)

Don't think it uses that much battery.

LEDs are very efficient
 

jowie

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2004
571
8
London ish
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A334)

Mine is very hit-and-miss unless I'm actually on the Siri screen. And It goes off in my pocket quite regularly.
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
11,051
12,450
Vilano Beach, FL
Well your remote only sends out an IR signal when you press a button, this is on all the time. If you accidentally sit on your remote leaving the button pressed down the remote battery could die out a little faster.

Yeah, I was trying to factor that in, i.e., small incremental use vs. constant on, but they last a _long_ time. When we upgraded our DVR the last time, the remote had the original "mystery brand" batteries and it lasted for ~3 years IIRC.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,251
3,534
Tennessee
I wish there was some way for Siri to activate while the device is locked and raised up to the ear. I'm certainly aware of the logistics and problems involved and why we won't see it but I sure wish it was possible.
 

MUrhino

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2003
151
52
Definitely IR!

Guess I didn't know this was a feature we didn't already know about. Looked at my phone w/ some NVGs a few weeks ago and noticed the IR sensor going crazy. Thanks for confirming iFixIt!
 

crisss1205

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2008
849
138
NYC
I wish there was some way for Siri to activate while the device is locked and raised up to the ear. I'm certainly aware of the logistics and problems involved and why we won't see it but I sure wish it was possible.

That is pretty much impossible to do, it would go off every time you put it in your pocket.
 

jowie

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2004
571
8
London ish
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A334)

I like the private idea of being able to raise the iPhone to speak with Siri, so it's a shame that you can't get it to reply to you in private too.
 

ghostface147

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
3,628
3,811
Meh. I have issues where the screen goes dark as soon as I want to use it. I have raise to speak disabled.
 

Pooshka

macrumors 65816
Jun 28, 2008
1,162
0
I like the private idea of being able to raise the iPhone to speak with Siri, so it's a shame that you can't get it to reply to you in private too.
What do you mean? Keep the phone to your ear and she will reply to you in private as well.
 

asterizk

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2003
101
9
Sarasota, Florida
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A334)

I like the private idea of being able to raise the iPhone to speak with Siri, so it's a shame that you can't get it to reply to you in private too.

That's a good idea... nothing preventing them from implementing it that way in a future software update at least!

Edit: nevermind! As Pooshka just pointed out it, it already works that way.
 
Last edited:

finalcut

macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2007
384
10
Quebec, Canada
This could potentilaly be why they don't want to support Siri on older devices. :confused:

I am sure Siri would still work, but perhaps they could simply remove the raise to speak feature, or just use the gyroscope and accelerometer to tell the software that the phone is being raised.

Wouldn't an other use for this sensor be for detecting proximity of a person's face? I have seen threads on proximity detector not working well on the iPhone 4 causing spurious inputs for various people. I would be curious if 4s users have less of a problem with this ( my 4 hasn't had issues with the prox sensor, but I may just have a big face :eek: )
I've never had a single problems with proximity sensor with my iphone 4 and nothing on my 4s as well. I might be lucky :cool:
 

solidfox

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2006
8
1
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A334)

It actually uses the accelerator as well as the IR sensor. So you actually have to do the raising guesture at a high enough speed for it to register as raising the phone to your ear. I guess this is how Apple avoids it going of in your pocket all the time.

You can try it out by putting your palm against the phone first without swinging the phone and then after doing a raising like guesture.
 

UTVOL06

macrumors member
Jun 15, 2010
94
0
South East, USA
Just to be clear, the article source states the IR is only active when the screen is on.

Yes, I can confirm on my wife's white iphone 4S that the raise to speak feature only works when the screen is on..it works locked too as long as the screen is back lite. if your phone has been sitting a while just pick it up, hit the home key, and put it up to your ear and wait for the chime to speak. no need to unlock!

I wasn't even going to get an iphone 4S since I have the 4 until I started using my wife's 4S. The Siri feature is worth it all by itself to upgrade. it almost makes typing on the onscreen keyboard obsolete. Especially great to use while driving and someone texts you or you need to ask for directions without having to look down and manually type stuff in. recognizes my voice word for word number for number probably 95% of the time when i messed around with hers.

I have herd that siri will adapt to your speech with repeated input..not sure if this is true or not?
 
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