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Siri hacked to run on iPhone 4

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has hacked Siri, the artificially intelligent voice control system on iPhone 4S to run on last year's iPhone 4. An initial hiccup, GPU support, has already been overcome. Another hiccup, Apple's servers not responding to queries from Siri running on iPhone 4, is still and issue.

Troughton-Smith also suggests it could theoretically be possible to hook the Siri front end into Microsoft's TellMe, or Google's servers instead.

If Troughton-Smith could get Siri running on an iPhone 4's single core Apple A4 processor, it probably makes you wonder why Apple didn't include it in iOS 5 for iPhone 4. Apple, of course, famously didn't bring video recording to iPhone 3G when Jailbreakers had it running. It's either a feature they want to keep exclusive to iPhone 4S for now, or something Apple's perfectionistic nature won't allow them to do if it' s not 100% smooth and performant. Or both.

Stellar work by Troughton-Smith, check out his Twitter feed, below, for more.

Source: @stroughtonsmith

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • im pretty sure it's an edge to motivate people to buy the iphone 4s. they know that most people would still be satisfied with the 4. that's what happens when you build an awesome almost perfect device... its hard to top it!
  • Agreed. And once they sell tons of 4S's and get Siri more streamlined I bet we get it in an upgrade in a few months. In the meantime I still love my 4 and iOS 5 has some very nice improvements.
  • yeah the fact that this doesn't run on the iPad 2 makes me mad, but it is still in beta. So hopefully when it is all done they will make it available for the iPad.
  • If Siri would have been available to the iphone 4--wonder what the sales numbers would have been. I would imagine that it would be the same as last year--even with Sprint being added this time around.
  • yeah cause everyone bought it for Siri.. yeah my eyes are rolling. I would say most people bought it because they had the iPhone 3GS or even iPhone 3G. Those that bought it for 'Siri' are probably the same folks that buy iPhones every year no matter what.
  • everyone i know who had the iphone 4 upgraded for siri and i also agree that many are probably 3gs owners(3g owners probably upgraded to the 4 when it was new)...probably 50/50 give or take few percents
  • How about the fact that the Siri app worked on iPhone 4 and I used it every day? WTF I guess it's time to get a Droid, any one want to buy 2 iPhone 4 1 pad 1 and 1 MacBook pro from 2010? Because I'm done!!!!!
  • Lol. Get out of your feelings
  • Bye.
  • I am interested in buying one of your devices. Please email details (price, etc.) to
    Thank you. Zsa Zsa
  • Obviously this is to increase desirability of the new hardware, by "pretending" that the old hardware is not capable. I hate it when apple does this - as a consumer I feel ripped off.
    They actually removed a feature from my iPad when upgrading to iOS5, it has become an iPad2 only feature. This "downgrading" is definitely taking things too far (see my post on multitasking gestures here )
  • i love siri i like you
  • "... it could theoretically be possible to hook the Siri front end into Microsoft’s TellMe, or Google’s servers instead."
    Well, so much for that idea.
  • They want us all to buy the iPhone 4S. Duh.
  • Watch the video. it runs like crap on the 4 with its single core proc. Duh.
  • What you don't say is it runs like c**p on a single core processor which is why its only on the 4s. But you got your linkbait article so facts don't really matter.
  • Soooo, how does greed work in tis case? They want iPad owners to buy 4s'? Right.
    It is in beta as Apple says and I expect it will be on the iPad soon enough. BTW the "chip" by which you must mean the processor, is not the only "chip" that uses Siri.
  • It ran on the iPhone 4 for a year. It was an app on the app store that apple bought from the developer. Now it has been removed from the app store.
    Soooo bs
  • I too had it on my ip4 And I am disappointed that they removed it! But that's how apple is, they recycle old tech and sell it to mIndless idiots who have no idea that it was on previous phones! Everyone I know the only thing that they say about the ip4s is that siri is cool and that's why they want it, so what about a little better camera, and a faster processor! Your still limited by the network! And apple will probably release it for all phones in app store again so they can make more mOney, that's what apple does!
  • Or they hope Siri will drive sales and some might not upgrade if they could have had it in the 4.
  • Maybe a stupid question, but is that actually an iPhone 4? The top section above the earpiece on my iPhone 4 doesn't look like that.... just saying....
  • Ask Siri why its not on the 4.
  • Best. Response. Ever.
  • Wow, that didn't take long.
    I wonder if he could edit the packet sent to adjust the "agent" to spoof iPhone 4S.
  • Considering that Siri was running like crap last night when EVERYONE with their new iPhone 4S were trying to use it, I couldn't imagine how it would run if everyone with an iPad 1/2, iPhone 4 also had Siri. Also the video shows that it runs like @#$@#.
    As for those whining that Apple didn't include it on their iPhone 4 and they are 'mad/sad', why? They didn't take anything away from your iPhone 4, they have the right to make it exclusive to the iPhone 4S if they want. They sure as hell don't owe it to you.
  • Actually. I believe the ENTIRE idea behind the iPhone being mostly software based was so that..."when you think of a great idea 6 months down the road" you can add it. Albeit more than 6 months down the road, these are the expectations that Apple themselves have created. If it's not a new hardware addition, there has usually been at least a watered down version of the newest software features on the last generation (or further back). Just a counterpoint.
  • Additionally, they did take it away. It was on the iPhone4 before the 4S debuted. Maybe you having some knowledge of the topic before vomiting a comment next time would be a good idea...
  • You're an idiot.. I had Siri for a year before apple removed it from the app store .. So ya they kind do owe it to us .. Stfu if you don't know what ur talking about bitch
  • Though I don't like the fact that Apple did this either (as a consumer) But from a business standpoint ... It makes all the sense in the world. That's what Apple is first and foremost, a business. Haha, so you shouldn't feel ripped off, you would do the same if you were in their position.
  • No, I would've had them develop a real upgrade rather than rely on an exclusive program, that was already on previous versions of the phone, to drive sales.
    As someone mentioned above, the idea of Software-based Updates of the iPhone were to constantly keep your phone up to date and relevant and not need to abandon it when the next version of the phone came out.
  • The "why isn't Siri on the iPhone 4?" crowd is pathetic. I'm glad you think Apple should spend millions developing a great technology so they can give it to you for free...
  • Does it suck that the Siri isn't on iPhone 4 yes It does, are people the complain about it pathetic no actually I think you are for that comment. To say people are pathetic because they expect apple to give them free software is actually pretty pathetic on your part. First off they paid for a phone included with that phone was the expectations that upgrades of improvement would be available, everyone is making a big special deal how luck we where to get ios5 for free. Are you kidding me? This is a smart phone not a computer. Every other smart phone os Out there I.e blackberry, android, and windows don't charge for there software updates do know we aren't lucky to get it free it is expected! As is the updates they brag about in os5 which is Siri.
  • And if that were true, why not leave the "crippled" version on the appstore for the lower-phone users?
  • The only reason it is sluggish is due to a gpu driver missing. Once that is fixed it will run at near full speed, check 9to5mac's article about this.
  • Did I miss something. All this video demos is that the "app" is running but he didn't actually do anything with the app. Not at one time did he even make a Siri inquiry or did Siri respond. Could that also be another limitation of running on an iPhone 4.
    Apple often puts artificial limitations on their older products, even if they are capable of doing the new thing. It's what they do to encourage people to upgrade. And it is a bit annoying when it's obvious that it's an artificial limitation, but then again, they do usually give us a couple of years for upgrades (often for free). Not only that but those updates give us most of the features of this new device so the compulsion to upgrade is minimized.
    If anything, frequent updates that give me most but not all of the new features is enough to keep me from breaking my contract every year and paying through the nose for ETF, and new phones. I wish I could get all the new features of every new phone that came out but lets face it Apple is a business and they have to dangle some sort of carrot to entice us upgrade. Thankfully though they give us enough of the rest of the veggie platter that we don't have to.
  • How dowe know this isnt an iphone 4? It not there are many obvious physical changes between them
  • The AT&T iPhone 4 doesn't have two antenna bands on the left as the iPhone 4s does.
  • it seriously makes you wonder why it wasnt put on the iphone 4? really? lol. how else are they going to sell lots of the 4S if it didn't have that one specific feature? apple is a business. plain and simple. they need to sell products in order to make money and this is how they do it.. the original siri app was actually developed on a 3gs...
  • Or we could not be moronic and take things away that work on the iPhone4?
    And crippled as in "it doesn't have all the features of the 4S Siri. But it's still fully functional"
    All I want is what I had before. I don't see why I'm in the wrong for that.
  • It's not just Siri that is laggy, iOS 5 in general tends to be a little laggy on the single core processor. Not exceptionally noticable but sometimes there is a pause when you are trying to do something that used to occur in an instant.
    Though, as I said, it's only noticeable on the more power hungry apps but I am sure that SIRI is far more dependant on the heavy processor cycles.
    Saying that though, why wouldn't they put SIRI on the Ipad?
  • Except for the novelty of talking back to me like Siri, I've been pretty happy with Vlingo. Pricy for the full featured version. But really handy.
  • if you have seen the upgraded video of siri on the ip4 you can see it runs just as good...anyone who says that this isnt a business decision and a hardware decision are mad lol apple always keep features out whether the hardware can handle it or not and the jailbreak team always calls there bull***t...cant wait to get siri on my ip4,guessing within 3-5 months....isnt it fragmentation if they keep out some software features from other ios5 is not consistent from the 3gs to 4s.
  • If you take a moment and think about it, it does make sense for Apple not to have Siri on the iPhone. Process power? Sort of. First clue is that Siri is in better, with less features available, thus you may find it a able to run on the single core iPhone 4. So what happens when it is no longer beta able to handle more command threads ? What used to sort of/ work well on the iPhone 4 no longer works. Apple is about experience and for them to put out a product that hampers that experience is sacrilege. It is always easier to not offer something to a populous than try and take it away or worse tell them they can only use A, B, C........ Apple wants Siri to be feature set and handicapping it to simple commands on older hardware would not do. But who knows, it is beta and Apple may refine it well enough to run on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2
  • Human : Haha, I hacked you into working in iPhone 4s.
    Siri: Initiating Auto-destruction module.
  • This application runs well on iPhone 4s, this is a great work. Keep posting such interesting videos