Here’s The Reason We Could All Be Waiting A Long Time To Install Siri On Our Older iOS Devices

Here’s The Reason We Could All Be Waiting A Long Time To Install Siri On Our Older iOS Devices

Over the weekend, we showed off Siri running on a jailbroken iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4G thanks to the tireless efforts of iPhone hackers chpwn and Steve Troughton.

Clearly, Siri works just fine on lesser devices like the iPhone 4 and iPod touch, but despite this, chpwn and Troughton warned that we wouldn’t see an authorized release anytime soon. Now chpwn is clarifying why, and it’s just as the Dev Team warned us: Siri on non-iPhone 4S devices require piracy.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell. Even though Apple’s iPhone 4S firmware is on the internet for all to download, the only people who are legally authorized to run any files in that firmware are people who own an iPhone 4S.

So just to copy Siri’s files off an iPhone 4S firmware file, you’re committing piracy unless you own a 4S. Okay, that’s a bummer, but what if you want to copy your Siri files from your iPhone 4S to your iPad 2? That’s legal, right?

Yup, totally legal. But here’s the rub: Siri’s baked so deeply into the iPhone 4S that it takes a jailbreak to suck all of its digital marrow out. And since there’s no iPhone 4S jailbreak yet, that’s not so easy to do.

You’d think if history was any guidance, we’ll see an iPhone 4S jailbreak soon… but it’s worth noting that Apple’s A5 processor makes jailbreaks a lot harder, as best evidenced by the fact that the iPad 2 still isn’t jailbroken outside of userland exploits like JailbreakMe, and even then only under iOS 4.3.3. So we could be waiting to get Siri on our older devices for quite a while yet.

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  • David Clark

    Apple is getting better at keeping their iOS locked down. Strange, considering Jobs’ original position on free information. I guess we all become conformists when our product(s) is/are worth billions. ;)

  • Carolyn Hayes

    I think that since it works, that Siri will be added to an iOS update for older devices once the servers are smooth and kinks worked out. And they’ve sold a kazillion 4S’s. Maybe when the iPhone 5 is introduced.

  • FriarNurgle

    Siri is just a good girl. 

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    Check out the latest ANANDTECH review of the iPhone 4S.  He has a section on audio noise reduction.  Their is a ton of digital processing going on to clean up audio to remove background noises.  I would expect this would prevent ever using SIRI on an iPhone 3GS or other iOS device without noise cancelation.  It looks like it was improved from the separate Audible chip from the iPhone 4 too, not sure about how much audio noise reduction was put on the iPads.  

  • jnjnjn3

    “… Apple’s A5 processor makes jailbreaks a lot harder …”

    I didn’t know that. Do you know why?

    J.

  • Al

    And a good boy in the UK.

  • Len Williams

    The point is not to lock down the OS just because Apple can–it’s all about consistent user experience and the products working correctly all the time. Apple builds its hardware and software in combination for the best user experience it can muster, so when older equipment doesn’t have all the right hardware, it’s not meant to run so that the usability isn’t substandard or below par. I would imagine someone could figure out how to shoehorn Siri into an iPhone 3GS but it would probably be a miserable overall experience. The older hardware just isn’t designed for Siri’s advanced needs. She’s a demanding girl.

  • brandonmartinez

    That’s called “business”. Prime example: Google. “Open Source! Open Source! Well, except those products that make us real money.”

  • G. Brainard

    Well said Len! You are right on the mark. Just read job’s biography and you can see how true you comment is!

  • Princessa84

    You know, I’m all for jailbreaking.. I jailbreak every device I own… But in my opinion if you want something that’s restricted to a newer device then for heavens sake upgrade!!! I do it every year because I want new features. Same goes for older iPhone users rushing the poor dev team to release an untethered jailbreak. It’s like you already have freaking 3 different jailbreaks while us iPhone 4S users don’t have any so just appreciate what you have and let the team do their freaking work!! Jeez…

  • rohitkapur

    I just thought they weren’t releasing an untethered iPad 2 Jailbreak because the Dev Team (and others) were waiting for Apple to release the iPhone 4S so they could jailbreak both devices at once.

  • twitter-17237140

    It’s because an bottom exploit was found in the A4 and the A5 fixed what was broken in the A5. It’s not doing anything that the A4 doesn’t do, but it  just lacks that exploit.

  • hisshadow

    Getting harder to jailbreak, is it? Just another example of the Apple methodology. Get a usable product out there to establish the beach head, even if it’s “missing features” and then purposefully and deliberately add functionality. Then one day you wake up an Apple has moved far beyond the putative competition via sales support, service, functionality and integration on an unmatched level.

  • Phil

    That’s just what we need, a bunch of ass holes who didn’t pay for the service and are stealing it. Normally, I don’t care but when Siri alone was having trouble with the iPhone 4s bandwidth, imagine a bunch of traffic by people who aren’t even authorized to use the service.

  • warrengonline

    I’m not sure WHY people jailbreak much in the first place.  I guess once they lose all of their data or someone highjacks their data while they are out in the public because a jailbreak allowed it, jailbreaking will slow down?

  • djrobsd

    Oh sure, great article, so if i have an iphone 4 i should run right down and buy the iphone 4s? hahahahah not.  

  • iDaBoss

    i know, what’s up with these misfits and rebels. Why don’t they respect the rules or the status quo? i just don’t understand the different thinking

  • Lol

    Err..actually they found 5 different exploits they can use in ios 5 to jailbreak it I’m pretty sure they are just trying to get it work on the ipad 2 and 4s

  • Lol

    I didn’t know if you knew this but you are very ignorant jailbreaking doesn’t make you loose all your data in fact it makes it more secure. With changing root passwords better lock screens pattern, facial recognition and theres a tweak that sends a pic and the location from your iphone to your email when somebody enters the password wrong.

    Also jailbreaking doesn’t slow it down unless you install tons of crap

    Jailbreaking is for people who want to actually make their iphone more useful believe it or not having the EXACT same homescreen layout for 3 years and making the only changes wallpaper and spotlight search gets REALLY boring and dull after a while.

  • Lol

    I don’t know but they need to release for all A4 devices I know they have those ready I just think they don’t want to confuse everybody 

    “This jailbreak works for everybody unless you have a 4S or ipad 2?”

    and then a month later same program “This jailbreak works for everybody!’

    Err maybe they are waiting for ios 5.1 Apple already showed a screen shot of it when they were showing OTA updates so whats the point of making one if its gonna be updated and patched right after

  • hisshadow

    This changes my point how?

  • warrengonline

    Please READ my statement and not read into it.  At my previous job, myself and one other tech head had iPod Touches (and I briefly had an iPhone 3G – it was so slow, I traded it to a friend who wanted it for his Wii). 

    My point, out of the 20 people I knew who had iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads..  My self and the other were the only to who were not jailbroken.  AFTER hearing CO-WORKERS gripe and complain about Cydia (or whatever that jailbreak software is), I kinda laughed “Heh, that’s what get.”  So technically, you CAN back your data up, but the nitwits who know it all are the ones who mess up.  But anyone who’s done back up for more than 3 years know “uh-oh”, happens.

    Also, please re-read…  “jailbreaking will slow down?” = When people realized how vulnerable their data is with a jailbroken device and someone steals something important without even touching their device, I bet jailbreaking will slow down.

    Sorry for the confusion as I was doing research and trying not to type this much.  Oh well.

  • warrengonline

    Not many of us are born with common sense, but some of us get that extra helping of greed.

  • Blake

    Dude, some people just wanna make the phone that they paid ALOT of money for theirs!! Maybe they want a more android like experience on a great piece of hardware like the 4s…dont know why your putting them down when they are doing it to make their phone truly theirs. Not greed, their right.

  • iDaBoss

    totally, my friend who jailbroke kept getting his phone hacked and all his apps and phone numbers stolen, so he had to keep going back to the store to get replacement. sucker

  • baby_Twitty

    AHHH so i see, someone who owns an iPhone 4S would want siri on his/her iPad…
    now that’s silly.

    THEN why the hell did you pay the money to buy this iPhone 4S in the first place? Isn’t it mainly for the Siri?

    iPads can’t make phone calls.
    half of the iPads don’t have 3G.
    Now can you imagine how Siri would fail on the iPad?

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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