WHY is Siri exclusive to the iPhone 4S?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by illjazz, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. illjazz macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    It's a question I haven't been able to answer for friends who've been dismissing the decision as nothing more than a marketing tactic to move more iPhone 4Ss. My reply that Apple didn't really help moving iPhone 4Ss and that they will sell millions of them anyway didn't help much. They're suspicious of Apple's motives here, as well they should be as of any large corporation. But I refuse to believe that's how Apple rolls.

    My other explanations went something like this:
    1. Siri needs more RAM. iPhone 4S should have 1GB of RAM compared to the iPhone 4's 512MB. Well, turns out the 4S also has 512MB and not more. So that's not the reason.
    2. Siri's app store app is proof that Siri *could* work on previous iPhone models, so it seems hypocritical that Apple would then claim it will only work on the 4S. But there's a big difference here the way I see it. App Store Siri was an app. iPhone 4S Siri is deeply, deeply integrated into iOS 5. So deeply, in fact, that I'm sure they've optimized the hell out of it interlinking with all the services that it hooks into, like Calendar, dictation for everywhere there's a keyboard, search on Wolfram Alpha and Yelp, Reminders, etc. It's a whole different kind of operation than Siri running as an app, which in comparison provided drastically less functionality. At this level of integration and with the optimization it is likely to require for everything to work smoothly, I can absolutely see why the feature is limited to the 4S.
    3. Ok, ok, so why is Apple taking the Siri app, that runs perfectly fine on previous devices, out of the App Store? Well, simple. Siri, the company, is no more. It's been swallowed by Apple. They have no plans to maintain the app and provide further updates. They have rolled its functionality into iOS 5 on the iPhone 4S. With no further development, there is no point in keeping it around on the App Store.

    The last two "answers" or explanations represent my current stance on the topic. The former makes a lot of sense to me. The latter does too, although I could see Apple keeping the app in the App Store, letting it gather dust, and then have distraught users of the app automatically look to the iPhone 4S and how there, the feature works beautifully. But that seems evil because it would mean using a potentially deteriorating user experience as a marketing tool. And again, that's just not how Apple rolls.

  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    It's either processor power (but the iPad 2 has the same processor clocked higher), or (more likely IMO) a marketing "trick" to differentiate the iPhone 4S as having unique features. Apple is no different to any other large corporation in that respect and wants to sell devices to people
  3. OMGbrandon macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2010
    Miami, FL
  4. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    Because without Siri being specific to the 4S, the only 'upgrade' would be a faster processor and a nicer camera.

    Hardly worth an extra $100 or a new contract.

    Google voice recognition works on phones less powerful than the iPhone4, I see no reason why Siri wouldn't work on a regular iphone 4
  5. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Thats pretty much it.

    People always talk about how "Apple doesnt release a product until it's done" but here we are with a "Beta" feature being pushed as the main selling point of an Apple product. So it does seem that this is all marketing.

    Im not trying to be critical because I'm very very glad its in there for me, but I really do wish it was also in the iPad 2's that I bought my parents. While they love their iPads, their biggest problem is typing. So even if Siri is in beta, if it ONLY does the things advertised in the commercial (message/email dictation, searches, reminders) then it would completely change their life.
  6. acfusion29 macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2007
    no, not really... we don't have a Siri app for the iPhone 4S, we have Siri BUILT INTO the OS. it's a very big difference.

    but let's say that the feature can run on the iPhone 4 just fine, why would Apple add it to the iPhone 4? you were never promised that feature for the iPhone 4 anyways. they are also a company, and want to make money. :rolleyes:
  7. SXR macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2007

    and , they don't want the siri app to work because it's eating resources, im sure.
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
  9. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    The developer stated the 4S is the first hardware capable of supporting Siri as it is designed.
  10. tardman91, Oct 11, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011

    tardman91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    I suppose it probably won't be long before the jailbreak community gets Siri running on the 4 seamlessly. That would be something I would jailbreak my phone for. I'm just excited for iOS 5. That'll keep me happy enough with the 4 until someone gets Siri on it. The 4S is hardly worth an upgrade in my opinion, which works out perfect since I still have a year and a half left on my Verizon contract. I like the fact that Apple now seems to put major upgrades on a 2 year cycle.
  11. fjrabon macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    there have been indications that Siri would eventually come to the iPad.

    It really is hard to say without knowing the specifics of how siri works. If there is a lot of 'internal' processing going on, then maybe I understand. It might work on an iPhone4, but might be too glitchy to be up to apple standards. However, if it's almost all being shipped out to the NC server farm for processing, why does the A5 chip matter?

    I think part of Apple's reasoning when it comes to the iPad is that that's not how they really want you to use your iPad (it's not like Apple are control freaks or anything). They view the iPad as mostly a content consumption device and the iPhone as mostly a personal tool that also plays games (remember when the iPhone first came out, Jobs indicated that he sort of hated the idea of it as a gaming device, but I guess the huge checks changed his mind). I think Siri will come to the iPad eventually, but probably not until it can do things like 'play the next episode of Arrested Development that I haven't watched on Netflix' and such.

    As for now I think Apple believes people would just get frustrated by the fact that Siri doesn't play very well with third party apps, which are comparatively more important on the iPad than the iPhone, because of all the third party media content. It's not all that often that people are going ot use their iPads to schedule meetings and such. They probably want to wait for it to send to iPad when it's really ready for prime time, ie no longer beta.

    That all being said, I think we're all kidding ourselves if we believe that at least PART of the exclusivity to 4S isn't a marketing ploy. Apple famously hates selling products on specs. If they were a garden variety PC maker, they'd have no problem selling the 4S as a massively spec'd up device and thinking people would buy based on that. Apple is playing psychologist, which they do very well, and realizing that while the 4S may be a huge upgrade internally, people won't go out and buy it unless they have something semi-tangible they can point to. So, I think it's several factors all adding together. Marketing + genuine usability issues + Apple defining how they view their iOS ecosystem (iPhone as a personal assistant and occasional gamer iPad as a content consumption device iPod touch as a mini content consumption device and gamer).


    how could you jailbreak to get Siri though, without straight up ripping off Apple's code? Apple has kind of sort of tolerated jailbreakers to this point, but if people were straight up ripping off Apple code to put in their phones, you'd start seeing Apple aggressively seek and destroy the jailbreaking community.
  12. snowmoon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    Albany, NY
    Apple has always been conservative in rolling out features to older devices. Yes hackers have often backported or activated these hidden features only to find out that they really did suck on the older devices. Honestly people currently using the iPhone 4 are not the target market for the 4s, people still using 3gs and new customers are the target market.

    In the end the phone is worth it to you or it's not and you wait for the next release.
  13. JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    They had to make the "S" stand for something. "S" is for Siri. or was it 4 Steve?
  14. illjazz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    Which developer?

    Also, I can see why so many of you seem to agree with the more critical of my friends. In the past, however, I see no similar examples of Apple using somewhat sleazy tactics to sell more new products. There's always been a good reason why something that by all appearances *should* also work on older hardware instead of just on the latest product being released... does not. As far as I can remember, it's always been a hardware limitation of old hardware. I believe this to be the case here, as well.

    We all know Apple doesn't need help selling iPhone 4's. They were going to sell a ****-ton of them anyway. If you think about it, Siri is a new background process that probably consumes a portion of RAM in order to be ready for you at all times when holding the home button. It also must be fairly CPU intensive to process your voice and turn it into text. I'm convinced that if they COULD have made it work smoothly on iPhone 4's, they would have. Because the processor is significantly slower on the iPhone 4, however, it's possible Siri would have worked, but would have taken 10 seconds to process a query that the iPhone 4S might take 1 second for. And that difference is HUGE. Certainly big enough to completely break the user experience.

    Call me naive, but I believe Apple had its customers and their user experience in mind when they decided to make this iPhone 4S exclusive.
  15. Saileshbreaker macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    IMO Siri uses a chip to understand what you ask it which is only present in the iphone 4s, that explains why it won't work on the Ipad 2 despite it having the A5+512MB ram
  16. illjazz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    I'd take bets AGAINST that happening. I'll be surprised if it does.
  17. yodaxl7 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Apple did say that Siri is a beta. It only has a few languages. They might have Siri put on iPad 2 later once it is out of beta!
  18. fjrabon macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    And an arbitrary aesthetic redesign would be? Don't get me wrong, I liked the idea of the teardrop aluminum, but within a few weeks, an massively faster processor and a massively better camera will make more of a difference. Apple understands that aesthetics sell, software keeps people happy. Apple also understands that internal hardware is what will wallow the next big jump software wise.

    This spec jump will be necessary within several months when all the apps that really leverage the new processor fully hit. Yes, I realize that the A5 has been out a while, but developing for things designed to take advantage of the A5's power just got a lot more attractive to developers.

    Also, from what I've seen comparing google voice recognition software to Siri is like comparing a disposable camera to a top of the line DSLR. They kind of do comparable things, but one can accomplish completely different feats.
  19. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    The AI expert who founded the company Apple bought when they bought Siri. He stayed on as lead developer. Sorry I don't know his name.
  20. fjrabon macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    uh, same thing as last time they used it, 'speed' as in between 2 and 7 times as fast.
  21. illjazz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    Do we actually know for sure whether the voice processing Siri does to turn voice to text happens on the iPhone 4S or is done in the cloud and sent back to the phone?

    I'm inclined to believe it happens on the phone. Not being able to use Siri at all when you don't have a data connection would be pretty crappy.
  22. metsjetsfan macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2011
    i agree, definitely a beta deal. Since processing is done on the cloud, limiting to the 4S by default limits the amounts of users that they know can use it. This way it isn't overloaded and they can build on it. maybe on ipad 2 later
  23. snowmoon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    Albany, NY
    Apple's site claims it requires an internet connection and data charges may apply. We will have to wait till people start playing with it before those limits can be more thoroughly tested.
  24. fjrabon macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    From what I've *heard* it's some sort of mix. I'm pretty sure it has been revealed that it can do pure dictation without a data connection, but cannot 'figure things out' without a data connection.

    I guess we'll know for sure soon enough though.
  25. dave420 macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2010
    I've heard it is done in the cloud. Maybe it can handle some things locally? Heck my Mac from 1998 could. That being said, I can't remember the last time my iPhone didn't have a data connection. Though I know some people may be in that situation a lot more than me, depending on a number of factors.

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