Will an A5 Processor in The Apple TV Pave The Way for Siri?

Will an A5 Processor in The Apple TV Pave The Way for Siri?

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References in Apple’s iOS 5 software sparked speculation over the weekend that suggested an upcoming refresh to the Apple TV could introduce the company’s latest dual-core processor. While that would allow the device to playback content in 1080p, it could also pave the way for a Siri assistant on our TVs.

Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross issued a note to clients last week in which she describes the benefit that Siri would have on our Apple TVs:

One interesting application of the Siri technology would be with Apple TV (either the existing device or actual TV’s that Apple may launch). We think this would solve the industry’s difficulties with remote controls… We think it would be very compelling to own a TV or a device that could quickly answer the request, “I want to watch the Yankees/Red Sox game,” by changing the TV channel without requiring the user to look at a guide or use a remote control, or even specifying HD or standard definition feeds, since you would want the HD channel if available. Or, you could instruct the device to record all new episodes of a show, without leaving the program you are currently watching. Finally, since you are online, a Siri enabled TV could answer whether your iPhone or computer has received a new message, and let you respond accordingly.

While we would usually take analyst ‘notes’ with a shovel full of salt, 9to5Mac believes Cross could be onto something: The introduction of Siri would require a hardware update to the Apple TV. We know that the iPhone 4 didn’t get Siri because it wasn’t powerful enough, and so the Apple TV would need Apple’s super speedy A5 chip, too — which we already know is in testing at Apple HQ, thanks to those references in the iOS 5 firmware.

However, it won’t just stop at our TVs according to the report: Siri will also arrive on the iPad 2 and our Macs. We know that these devices are certainly capable of handling Siri, and while Siri’s impressive on the iPhone, can you imagine what it could do for you on your Mac? So why don’t we already have it on these devices?

Well, as 9to5Mac points out, Siri is still just a beta on the iPhone 4S, so it’s likely that once that beta comes to an end, we’ll see Siri extended to other Apple devices. The report also explains the advantages of Bluetooth 4.0 in the new iPhone:

Apple upgraded the iPhone 4S to Bluetooth 4.0 which could let the phone talk to Bluetooth 4.0 accessories at an extremely low power mode up to 50 meters away. Plus, Bluetooth 4.0 can also wake devices from sleep. This would theoretically enable Siri accessories to act as the real-world agents for Siri, allowing you to open garage doors, turn on the lights, set room temperature, interact with your home stereo system and more – just by talking to your phone.

I’m super excited about Siri on the new iPhone, but the thought of Siri on my iPad and my Mac as well is even more exciting. I spend around 10 hours a day in front of my computer, so I’ve already gotten used to talking to it. The day it actually listens to me and talks back with be just magical.

  • oxfdblue

    I am reminded of the scene from the movie, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where Commander Scott picks up the mouse on a MacIntosh and says, “Computer,”  thinking it would listen to him.

    Here we are 25 years later and what was a cute scene in a movie is pretty much reality.

    (And yes, I know the idea of speaking to computers in science fiction goes back much further than that.  HAL just reminded me.)

  • fidelisimo

    As much as voice navigation would be nice for the ATV, I do hope that the A5’s extra processing power would also to address the problems associated with video playback (especially  podcasts) of abruptly stopping in mid-play, the  frequent sputtering, etc.

  • DCMikey

    “Oh how quaint!”

  • MacGoo

    This is the first article I’ve read that has addressed a burning question of mine: When is Siri coming to iPad 2, since it has the required A5 silicon? After beta is over. Good. Hopefully with over a million “beta testers” so far, the beta moniker will be dropped quickly.

  • Ayers16412

    “Or, you could instruct the device to record all new episodes of a show, without leaving the program you are currently watching.”
    Since when could an AppleTV do that? Analyst doesn’t even know what they are talking about.

  • Siri

    Good article, this would be amazing. Especially if it would interact with other devices such as your lights, garage, etc. I’m finishing up at a professional school and I too spend a lot of time talking to my computer, I got a good kick out of your last comment. I’m waiting for the day it talks back…lol!

  • Peoplethatdontknowtgefacts

    This is odd, I watch a lot of podcasts. I used to have 6mb/s with AT&T’s DSL because uverse wasn’t an option. My apple tv would do this repeatedly, about 2 months ago I found out that uverse had become available and upgraded to 18 mb/s, while I had called AT&T they would blame the product claiming that since every other device was ok then it was ok it must be the apple tv, however it doesn’t make sense now that it doesn’t happen after I upgraded to their uverse. Although, with uverse my MacBook pro would disconnect after 5 min or so, which was only solved after buying a Airport extreme, so now finally everything works the way it should. At any one time I have 3 pc, 1 MacBook pro, 2 iPhones, 1 ipad, and 1 apple tv connected and that airport extreme really is a very nice addition especially since you can connect your own external hard drive to it.

  • dbwie

    I don’t think that Apple would put Siri in an AppleTV as a peripheral device, but instead put it in a full blown Apple-branded TV with the AppleTV software functionality built-in.  Now that would be a Smart TV.  My only question is that my digital A/V receiver is currently the hub of my entertainment center, so how would I make that aware of Siri commands?  Maybe some sort of bluetooth 4.0 dongle?  Or maybe instead of an Apple branded TV (most folks have an HDTV already), Apple makes a Smart A/V receiver with the HDTV as the dumb peripheral?  Many households don’t have an A/V receiver yet.  Fun to think about these possibilities.  

  • erfon elijah

    wish we knew exactly when an apple tv update was coming out.  it’s been over a year since it was updated, and though I want one now, hard to go out and buy one when it’s getting so long in the tooth.  as soon as the update it, i’m going to throw my money at apple.

  • Chris

    love the last sentence!

  • John Howell

    I’m wondering if iOS 5 will unlock Siri on my iPad2. It has the same CPU and RAM as the iPhone 4S doesn’t it?

  • John Howell

    We lose analog TV in NZ starting next year. Wellington is one of the last to go, so I am holding off on an HD TV until then. Then I will get the best panel I can, a good BD player and DVR, but the media player option is still wide open. A small PC running Boxee and a DLNA server? An ATV (as long as I can hack it to run XBMC/Plex/Boxee) etc?.
    But I am never going to buy a smart TV, or the gadgets in the TV wont matter to me much, as the electronics in it will be obsolete in a couple of years. If I am going to spend $$$$ on a big panel, it had better last more than 2 years 8) so all the smarts will be in replaceable boxes, the smaller the better.
    Now imagine what Google promised with Google TV, with the power of voice for search and command. 

  • dbwie

    Yeah, there are so many possible ways that the internet and downloadable media can integrate with our living room entertainment centers, it’s hard to decide what setup works best.  Netflix, for example, is built in to some “smart” TVs, BD players, AppleTV, etc, so there are many choices in how to bring Netflix to the living room.  My friend has a LG HDTV and the Netflix picture through the TVs built-in app looks terrible compared to when she connects her MacBook Pro directly to the TV and plays Netflix through the laptop.  

  • dale2000

    Sorry, I ran your comment through the Sarcasm meter twice but didn’t get a positive result, because there’s a typo/error in the last sentence, and so you could be making a sarcastic reference to that… or you could legitimately like the last sentence.  Just wondering which is the case.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Every female (gay & TG included) blogger, journalist, analyst, etc, just loves Siri. They’ve found someone who will always listen to them and not argue with them….and if they don’t like what Siri says, they can turn them off. A match made in heaven for the effeminate personalities.

  • Austin Fulton

    i feel like it won’t. The iPad3 will have it.

  • poppa1138

    I hope there is an option to change the voice of Siri, I want Hal from 2001 a Space Odyssey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • Aj Tk427

    Nah, Siri is software, not hardware.  Like the article said, nothing stopping Siri coming to the iPad2 once it’s out of beta, (or a clever jailbreaker figures out how to do it)

  • Aj Tk427

    agreed.  I have one already and love it (jailbroke it and running xbmc on it, so awesome) I want to get a couple more, but am waiting for the hardware update for it before I buy more.

  • Aj Tk427

    Ummm, it can’t, they are speculating that if the ATV got updated, with Siri, you could do this, however this would require it being integrated with local cable companies.

  • Aj Tk427

    very interesting, I’m curious about Siri coming to my iPad2 and the possibilities of it coming to a next gen ATV are very exciting.  The only issue, and it’s the one that is plaguing the current ATV, is that this would require integration with the cable providers and this is the giant road block that is holding up any kind of innovation in the TV world.

  • dbwie

    Yes, if iOS 5 is being made compatible with the iPhone 3Gs, then Siri most certainly will run on an iPad 2.

  • bndctc

    It’s quite likely that Apple will wait until next year or until iPad 3/iPad 2S or late next year for Siri to come out – having Siri on another device right now will decrease iPhone 4S sales.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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