Why The iPad 3 Won’t Come With Siri Unless You Pay More For It



We’re only about two or three months away from the iPad 3 dropping and blowing our socks off. Right now, we can tell you a lot about what the iPad 3 will probably be like. It’ll feature Apple’s new, quad-core A6 CPU. It’ll feature a 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display. It may — but probably won’t — be the first iOS device to ship with LTE support.

But what about Siri, Apple’s amazing new voice control technology prominently featured in the iPhone 4S? Surely, that’s a lock for all future Apple devices starting with the iPad 3, right?

Well, hold on. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

While Siri seems like it would be a lock for the iPad 3, it’s important to remember that Siri is an Internet-based service, not just an app. No part of Siri really lives on the iPhone 4S. Rather, Siri is basically an iPhone 4S-specific interface to Apple’s own remote Siri servers, which process your voice in the cloud and then return specific commands for your device to act upon.

In other words, Siri requires the Internet to work… and when there’s no internet, or Siri’s servers are down, it fails quite catastrophically.

That’s a big problem for the idea of Siri coming to the iPad or the iPod touch, because on those devices Apple can’t count on an always-present internet connection the way they can on the iPhone 4S. If someone using a WiFi-only iPad 3 tried to access Siri without being connected to the Internet, the service would just fall over.

Right now, if you have no internet connection on your iPhone, Siri will simply say “Siri Not Available. Connect to the Internet.” That’s all well and good for a device that rarely has a problem slurping up a data connection unless you happen to be under the ocean or in a plane 30,000 feet in the air, but a huge chunk of iPads actually go without internet capability as a matter of course.

So what’s the solution here? Apple favors simple, reliable implementations of technology, and on all base iPad 3 WiFi models, Siri can’t be implemented reliably. On the 3G and LTE models, however, Apple can depend upon internet connectivity ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

Our bet? This is simply a common sense deduction, and we have no inside source saying so, but when the iPad 3 comes out in March or April, Siri will ship only on units that have a 3G connection or better. It’ll be a premium feature for buyers willing to shell out $130 more for the guarantee of an always-on internet connection. Buy a WiFi-only model and you’ll still get a quad-core, A6-controlled iPad 3 with a gorgeous Retina Display, but Siri will be totally MIA… at least until the inevitable jailbreak hacks turn the functionality on again.

What do you think? Will Apple be okay with Siri not working all the time for WiFi users, or will they simply nix the functionality in WiFi-only models? Let us know in the comments.

Update: On Twitter, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman asked us why Apple would strip Siri functionality from a WiFi iPad 3, when they ship Safari, YouTube, Mail and the App Store on WiFi-only iPads and iPod touches? The distinction is that Siri is a core service, not an app. Siri is an interface baked into the very core of iOS, so much so that it’s launch-able by a long-press of the home button. It is much less acceptable if Siri fails than an app based upon the lack of an Internet connection when it’s a core service; in addition, it’s less obvious to laypeople why Siri requires an internet connection than why e-mail, Google Maps, the App Store or YouTube do.

  • Barton Lynch

    it had better have LTE, that’s all I’ve got to say

  • FriarNurgle

    iPads and iPods also ship with iMessage, Safari, and *insert any other internet app*. Those require internet connection and were not limited to 3G devices. I respectfully disagree with you and say all future iOS devices will ship with Siri.  

  • Kyle Gabriel

    I think that’s a ridiculous assumption given the fact the 3G service is not a requirement of any 3G capable iPad and merely an ability. Unlike the iPhone where data plans are required during service activation, iPads (both WiFi & WiFi + 3G) are FaceTime enabled, despite the lack of persistent internet connection on WiFi models. I don’t believe you can count 3G capable models to maintain an internet connection ninety-nine times out of a hundred and believe if iPad 3 comes with Siri, all models WiFi or 3G would come with the new technology.

  • James Jenkins

    That’s crap… There is no gurantee with any device there will be internet connectivity. I can tell you with my tablet, I always look to see if I can put it online with wifi before ever starting an app. Sometimes I don’t really NEED it, but if it is there I can take advantage. Wifi-only iPad folks do you agree with me? Even if not needed don’t you always see if there is a connection you can link to?

  • JackWoodmansey

    I kind of disagree with this. It’s sort of like saying that we wont include a web browser on the wifi models as they may not always have an Internet connection. I used an iPod touch as my only iDevice for a couple of years and obviously I just couldn’t access a lot of stuff that required Internet while I was out but it still included them on the device…

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    I believe all the versions of the iPad 3 will have Siri. If Macs are to have Siri, surely the 3G/4G-less iPads will, too, have Siri. After all, Macs don’t have built in 3G support, and laptops are mobile devices, yes? What, will Apple only give Siri support to iMacs, Mac Mini’s and Mac Pros, leaving all of their most popular Macs in the dust, just because they might not always have an Internet connection? Come on, Siri is the future of Apple and they’re not going to leave any device out. I mean, did they leave maps out of the wifi iPad? No, because even though the wifi iPad doesn’t always have Internet, wifi is everywhere. In some cases, wifi is where AT&T’s 3G isn’t.

  • ? Apple Fan Site ?

    Totally disagree with the points you made about Apple not including Siri on devices which do not have the compatiblity to connect to an internet source at all times. If Apple were thinking in this frame of mind then why would they have ever included apps such as email and safari which basically require an internet connection to have an functionally

  • Ray Monigold

    Mr. Brownlee, I believe your assumptions are CORRECT. 

    When I upgraded from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S my 3G fees were INCREASED. “Why?” I asked. “Because of the anticipated extra use based upon Siri.” Suddenly the supervisor’s answer came as an interruption of our conversation with “…because of the faster 4G Spec. internet access you’ll be experiencing, the fees are a bit more.”So, unless the WEB is ever present through WiFi or 3G (4G), then NO Siri. AND I’ll bet Siri will require a one long term contract to assure that connectivity is ever present – instead of the month to month option currently available.Just my experiences and thoughts – go ahead and argue amongst yourselves now. Thanks John, for your brave insight.

    signed – That Ray Guy

  • Wrong

    I don’t know why they bother making WiFi Only iPads in the first place. Actually all macs should have 3G / LTE connectivity built in as well. 

    After all they are a Premium product and most apple buyers are used to paying Premium prices, so why go to the trouble of making a whole assembly line to produce identical devices with one chip missing. 

    Between the manufacturing savings and the increase in volume of radio chips, Apple should find only a small increase in overall costs.

  • Gene

    Holy crap, were you scammed. What company is this?

  • Peavey

    Either Siri will be included in all iOS devices going forward, or just the iPhone. Apple won’t cause consumer confusion by including Siri in just the devices that have a cellular data connection.

    As a wifi iPad 1 user my iPad is a destination device. I don’t use it while getting from A to B but I use it heavily at A and B, and where (at least in the US) can you not find wifi These days? There is free wifi offered in my local mall for Pete’s sake. Any place I want to go and use my iPad offers wifi, and the places where wifi isn’t offered I wouldn’t want to bust out my iPad and use Siri anyway, such as a concert hall, movie theater, etc.

  • jared

    or theyre figureing out a way to use most siri commands eg. play music, add reminder, note etc while offline and then leaving the other siri content for when your connected to wifi or if you have a 3G iPad. your arguments are extremely invalid aswell my ipod touch has safari, maps, weather etc all apps that need internet and cant be used on the go but theyre all still included.

  • Blakniss

    It’s just a matter of time before Siri will function without the net.

    The primary reason for net only operation is the need to have updated info. But I reckon Apple will allow Siri to work on other tasks that don’t require info external to your device, like playing music, texting and making calls.

    I use Siri to text and make calls while driving all the time. It’s useful outside of current affairs and streaming data like the weather.

  • Blakniss

    What I want is to be able to name my phone and iPad so each Siri interface will recognise its name.

    If I have Siri on both my iPhone and iPad, will each know which I am speaking to?

    I can imagine using my phone for calls and my iPad hooked up to play music while I’m driving. So if I give a voice command, wil my iPad or phone Siri answer?

  • Pedro Gama

    That’s the result of a couple of weeks without something really new to post on… fantasious minds starting to “create” things to talk about… what it will be next? Conspiration Theory???

  • Jdsonice

    I think your analysis is completely and totally bogus and flawed. You are making up something just to publish and I am disappointed at the poor logic used.

    No matter what connection your iPad has, ultimately the iPad needs to communicate with the net in someway to be useful. So the device will be in net range most of the time if not always.

    Apple may not ship Siri with iPad3 WiFi only model but WHY? Seems silly to me, just like your article. 

  • Jonathon Wilson

    Did you write this just to get views? if so great job. The actual article though is a load of crap as usual and is really badly written.

  • Aj Tk427

    Totally agree, when I’m using my iPad (although I did get the 3G version) I am usually connected via wifi, at either point A or B or I’m tethered to my iPhone.  I think it would be a great to be able to have Siri on my iPad.

    I think there is a bit of logic fail here, as I stated above, I have the 3G iPad 2, but I don’t have a 3G data plan, is it going to be limited to if you have a 3G data plan?
    I have to agree with 9to5 Mac, so many of the core applications use a data connection. Wouldn’t this also lead to different iOS installs?  Not sure.

  • Craig Ciccone

    this is a pretty dumb article designed to get people to click on it by saying something they know might upset people expecting a feature on a future device.  

  • Robert Chen

    Wow! The iPad 3 has me really excited, can’t wait til it comes out! I just read the leaked 

    feature list and full specifications for the new iPad, and I must say they’re pretty amazing.

    If you guys want to check out the leaked iPad 3 information, just check the link below –


  • Robert Chen

    Wow! The iPad 3 has me really excited, can’t wait til it comes out! I just read the leaked 

    feature list and full specifications for the new iPad, and I must say they’re pretty amazing.

    If you guys want to check out the leaked iPad 3 information, just check the link below –


  • Robert Chen

    Wow! The iPad 3 has me really excited, can’t wait til it comes out! I just read the leaked 

    feature list and full specifications for the new iPad, and I must say they’re pretty amazing.

    If you guys want to check out the leaked iPad 3 information, just check the link below –


  • macgizmo

    Unfortunately for me, everywhere I go (other than driving in the car) has WiFi, so I’m rarely without it. I have no intention on paying a $25 monthly fee for 3G/4G access for the 10 minutes per month I actually would use it. So I guess I’ll not see Siri on an iPad. Ever.

  • Eduard Tiesto

    well you would have to 1 be on autopilot or 2 long-press on your ipad  button.

  • Benjamen Scott

    I think that your point has some validity, however, remember that Siri is still in mass beta. By the time Apple launches the next iPad model, they may be ready to launch it as a complete, non-beta service, with the potential to be baked right into the OS. If that were the case, you could use Siri everywhere, but perhaps Appel could still take diagnostics from it if there were to be an internet connection. 

  • Alex

    Well what do you expect John Brownlee wrote it….he a has reputation to uphold.

  • Alex

    “. It may — but probably won’t”

    Pretty much sums up the whole article ….  All this is, is click bait par for the course on this site. 

  • JDWages

    Siri appears to be the technological manifestation of Steve Jobs.  In other words, Siri generates strong feelings of both Love and Hate.  The technological feats of magic Siri brings are incredible.  The down side of course is the never-ending financial commitment to all that greatness.  

    I am one of those old-school types who prefers to pay more, a heck of a lot more, in the form of a one-time payment for great tech.  I’ve done that on Mac technology since 1984.  But our modern spend-thrift world is very different.  Apple and their wireless partners want to lock us into substantial monthly commitments.  And the only reason that has not been an utter failure for Apple is because iOS buyers willingly lock themselves into such contracts.  And like the US Government, many of these customers don’t pay much attention to their monthly cash outlays.  I appreciate what iOS-addicts have done for my AAPL stock — I simply don’t wish to join them.

    Even I wouldn’t mind so much if the monthly cost was reasonable, but it most certainly is not reasonable now.  And just because a lot of younger people throw reason to the wind and “pay the unreasonable” each month doesn’t magically transform that monthly fee into something reasonable.  $70 per month or more for “the freedom to surf the net” is outrageous and insane.  And although much of the blame should be cast upon the wireless carriers, Apple does take it’s cut from those fees.  Is it any wonder Apple hasn’t done much to pressure those monthly fees to come down?

    Currently, wireless freedom comes at too high a price.  And Apple even acknowledges that by the fact they’ve offered Wifi-only iPads from the beginning.  So to offer something great like Siri exclusively to 3G or LTE users, regardless of the technical “reasons” for potentially doing so that this article states, is only emphasizing even more that the unsettling notion that “Apple caters to the wealthy” or “an elite class of customer.”  And all the while “the rest of us” get the shaft.

  • BigDan2

    I think Apple will surprise us with a build-in limited function Siri app as a front end to the rest of Siri, so stand-alone queries can be done without a network connection.

    In any case I don’t see Apple having different software setups between the WiFi and 3/4G versions.

  • Figurative

    I guess I don’t see the issue here.  People who have iPads with WiFi only connections will only be able to use Siri when WiFi connected.

    People with WiFi and 3G will be able to access Siri anytime.

    I am missing something here?

  • Paul Lloyd Johnson

    This article belongs in the trash with the article that said the iPad 2 wouldn’t have 2 cameras!

  • Oleg Zieaev

    Comment about core service is not fully valid. Yes, it is integrated but you still can switch off siri in iphone 4s and phone will not die, so pressing home button will bring you regular voice command interface.
    Also, for 3G/LTE must have – I think point is to have internet connected to have service running and people are aware of it. So within your home wifi will cover this for you 100%. outside, you have options to create your personal wifi spot and connect your ipad while away from home. Otherwise it is not much use anyway for safari, email, twitter, facebook and other apps (which are not stripped off from wifi only models).

  • Figurative

    No there won’t be a limited-function Siri.  People understand that you have to be connected to the internet in order to use internet services – of which Siri is one.

  • Tim Pease

    Rubbish.  For wifi-only iPad 3’s, Siri will simply say “I’m sorry Dave, please take me to Starbucks if you wish to continue this conversation”.

  • Greg Ball

    I fail to see the point of this article. Siri will ship on all devices, only available on the wifi models with a wifi connection. I can’t believe that Cult of Mac found the need to publish a whole article trying to confuse the issue. We need a Mac website with genuine news worthy articles and up to date info!

  • SevanGrim

    yeah… none of that makes much sense. Your still on the same 3g data access as us 4 users. They did not make a mid tier 3g exclusively for iphone 4S. Your phone is capable of drawing it in a bit better, but its not actually guaranteed to be any better or worse. if they charged you more, it should have been what the first guy said: they are upping your data because Siri uses more.
     also, the idea that they will only give siri to a paying section is ludicrous. They are striving towards uniform ideals all around. Notice how the 4S came in one model instead of 2 and 3 different ones? They will not add a stipulation like “must be in 2 year commitment”. if the ipad3 gets it, every ipad3 will get it. same with the next ipod touch and so on…

  • SevanGrim

    wow. a proper opinion piece from Brownlee? im proud of you!

    im fairly certain Siri will either be an Iphone only service or an everything regardless service. I am leaning more towards iphone only simply because it would give the phone an exclusivity, something that would separate the phone from the ipad. Right now, you can buy a ipad and have the best of ios, allowing you to buy an android phone. It fits into Apples style of “you cant fully enjoy your apple product unless you have ALL the apple products”.

     but like so many others who have posted here, i dont think that Apple would separate it between 3g and non 3g devices. Either every ipod and/or ipad will get it from here on, or none of them will. To slice down the middle would add confusion, and they would have to double the amount of update versions they push out. And they would potentially be wounding the market of whichever product did NOT have siri.

  • 5imo

    Don’t hold your breath for a retina display on the iPad 3 & It will only have LTE if and when it dosent massacre battery life until then HSPA+ 21 Mb.

  • Brandon Dillon

    Unjustified hostility.

  • Brandon Dillon

    Pulling one line out of context and trying to make it reflect the quality of the article is an ignoramus move.

    This site is a blog. Not only is it a blog, it is a blog written by people who have a passion for Apple products. Those of us who have taken such an interest in the products, like discussing the possibilities for future features/enhancements.

    If you don’t share that type of mindset about the products, there are other great Apple dedicated blogs, that may be better suited to you.

  • Porkbamboo

    Siri is already limited function.

  • 69Voltage

    Completely agree. Pretty much the only places w/o Wi-Fi access now are when you’re driving in your vehicle. I rely on Wi-Fi in airports, hotels, restaurants, home, etc. And since you can see that Apple is going to implement and improve upon the Siri experience in their future, it’s crazy to think that Apple will take away this experience from those that don’t have a need to pony up the extra money for a 3G capable device.

     A lot of users, myself included, are replacing their MBP’s and such in favor of an iPad. And we expect to mostly use the iPad in and around Wi-Fi access, such as at home or work.

    Though I can understand the backroom dealings between Apple and companies such as AT&T and Verizon concerning the lost revenue due to lack of 3G contracts, I still don’t see Apple as wanting to alienate a growing number of iPad customers.

  • Jordan Burger

    Apple won’t exclude a core-group of buyers from a major service like Siri. If you have Wifi it works, if you don’t oh well–I think users will be able to figure it out just like they have with services like the App Store and YouTube. I don’t remember a time when Apple has ever said to  a group of users “Sorry you can’t have this feature as your not always connected to the interent”…and besides everywhere has wifi now–StarBucks, McDonald’s, hell even my School and Supermarkets have free wifi….enabling siri on a Wifi iPad 3 will only help Apple sell *more* devices!!

  • SpamStream

    This is possibly the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard

  • SpamStream

    Not when it’s this flagrantly stupid

  • Craig Ciccone

    Maybe he should post this garbage under “staff writer” much like they did when they posted the TMZ photos of steve jobs emaciated close to his death.  
    They really ought to hold themselves to higher standards on this site.

  • BigDan2

    Remember Siri is still in BETA so Apple could be just waiting to ship a standalone  version. Siri does not need to be fully internet based.

    I think it will be a two parter: a local piece for the common things onboard (non-network queries).  Then you have the back-end version we have now (network queries).

  • BigDan2

    Only because Apple is still trying to flesh out what people ask it.  I’ve seen differences in some queries that I had tried at the beginning that respond differently now so Apple is improving it and extending it as we speak.

  • LukealiciousX

    Um, I kinda hope Siri just stays for the iPhone 4S and the future ones. It would be nice to have her on the iPad3 and future ones but not everyone has a Wi-Fi source at their homes and don’t have the extra money for the 3Gs. Anyways, I hope it NEVER comes to iPod Touch. Millions, TRILLIONS of people today abuse the iPod Touch and play games on it when that’s is NOT what the iPods’ purpose was. With it just being on the iPhone 4S, it will be a much more valuable app and special.

  • Rmlgtp

    Ok, so I’ve been a long time reader of cult of Mac, but ive never commented. I check this site daily for my apple news along with a few others, and for the most part, I like it. With that being said 99.9% of the time I get to the end of an article that makes me think to myself “hmm this was kind of pointless” or “this really isn’t news” or “this is probably horribly incorrect” I say to myself…must be a brownlee piece, and no fail it always is. It’s gotten to the point where just by reading the title I can tell its a brownlee piece. Im not here to bash him as a person, but as a journalist, and I cringe to call him that, he needs to consider other career options. Every time I read one of his articles I’m wishing I could have those 2 or 3 minutes back in my day. It’s almost a golden rule for me now that if brownlee says it, it probably has no true merit. All I’m saying is, this isn’t journalism, it isn’t news, it’s an unjustified opinion that belongs on a blog along with every other piece he’s written, not “news” site. I firmly believe Siri will be adopted on the iPad 3 and to justify is absence by saying that it requires Internet connectivity is like saying that the iTunes store, app store, and any other app requiring data for use, would be an iPhone only application. People with wifi only iPads know the sacrifice they’re making by not having 3G, but they buy that version with the confidence that they will be around enough hot spots to justify buying a portable device like the iPad. Please, for everyones sake, tweet your opinions or start a blog, and stop submitting to this decent news site. Thank you

  • Rob Williams

    This is probably the first article I’ve read on this site that was just blatantly spouting caveman logic.  Siri will ship on all, and if you don’t have an internet connection, guess what?  Siri will tell you it can’t connect to the server, just like it does on an iPhone 4S if you try to use Siri in airplane mode.  It’ll probably even tell you at that point (with the new Siri update that is sure to come) that you need an internet connection.  Siri has core functionality yes, but so does virtually every other app on the iPad.  You don’t buy an iPad to simply stare at the pretty icons.  You use it online, or to play games (most of which like to have internet for gamecenter login).

  • Steve Rossi

    So let me get this straight;
    Apple introduced a MAJOR hardware change to the iPod Touch line, i.e adding a Front Facing Camera.  
    This camera was added so the iPod touch users could participate in FaceTime.  
    FaceTime requires an internet connection.  Not just any internet connection, a WiFi Connection.
    So …

    Yep…your theory is blown out of the water.  Stick to blogging Brownlee because you SUCK as a writer for cult of mac.

  • BlakeS

    dumbest idea I ever heard. Let’s piss off the vast majority of people who use their iPads with a wifi connection. Not likely.

  • AdamC

    Hello droidboy, slow news dayon android eh so have to bad mouth Apple again/

  • Alex

    I think its more a comment on Mr Brownlee’s body of work… Which many people who have been on CoM for awhile will agree is often nothing but mediocre link bait … 

  • ddevito

    Majel FTW.

  • Aj Tk427

    Bahaha +1 to you sir

  • Aj Tk427

    The major part of siri requiring an Internet connection is so that it can process your voice, this isn’t going to change. So no there will not be a local Siri as you call it.

  • joewaylo

    I doubt Siri will come to the iPad 3. iPod Touch and iPad does not have Voice Control baked in. All their versions never obtained Voice Control, even before an Internet connection was required. The end users have to port Voice Control in. Apple won’t bake it in anytime soon.

  • eeh73

    Meh, I tend to think Apple will include Siri on the wifi-only 3.  I’ve been told they sell more wifi-only models, and I am pretty sure they do not want to upset that many people – but you could be right John.

    I’ve got the original iPad (wifi-only) and love it.  Skipped the 2 and been waiting on the 3.  If Siri does not exist on the wifi-only 3 model, oh well.  It would not be a show stopper for me.  I plan to get the wifi-only 3 regardless of Siri.

  • eeh73

    Meh, I tend to think Apple will include Siri on the wifi-only 3.  I’ve been told they sell more wifi-only models, and I am pretty sure they do not want to upset that many people – but you could be right John.

    I’ve got the original iPad (wifi-only) and love it.  Skipped the 2 and been waiting on the 3.  If Siri does not exist on the wifi-only 3 model, oh well.  It would not be a show stopper for me.  I plan to get the wifi-only 3 regardless of Siri.

  • Spike Ennis

    ” and when there’s no internet, or Siri’s servers are down, it fails quite catastrophically.”

    Siri does no FAIL…  If you forget to put gas in your car….. does it FAIL quite catastrophically or did you FAIL????

    Not sure what Apple will do but I would like to hope that they put SIRI in and running in everything, coming up… PS I would love it in my iPhone 4…. please??

    Just a thought,

  • Aj Tk427

    final, someone with the same thoughts as me.
    Although I consider Cult of Mac to be a blog, not so much a hardcore Apple news site.  I’ll give credit to Brownlee for voicing his opinion and I have no issue with that as it allow’s us to discuss.  However like you, I can usually pick a Brownlee piece apart.  I’m not sure if he does it on purpose to draw people in as usually his logic is slightly flawed, or is so blinded by Apple love that the piece becomes skewed.

  • Brian Kelly

    How about they just put Siri on the App Store.  Sell it for $19.99.  If you want it… buy it.  If you don’t.. then don’t.  Seems simple to me.

  • BigDan2

    Yes & No

    As you see Siri today you are correct.

    But, I think the deal Apple was working on with Nuance was to get their Dragon core to put into Siri as a front end for a disconnected device and the internet connection part we see today when connected.  That way the common local device Siri requests could be answered when your not online.

  • Rob Coons

    I don’t think it’s within Apple’s policy/branding to do a “this one gets it and this one doesn’t.” That’s the thing with Apple, it ‘just works.’ I bet Siri on the iPad3 is all or nothing.

  • Rob Coons

    Untrue. Siri “fails” for me about one out of five times. She just says, “Sorry, I can’t take requests right now.”

  • Rob Coons

    Noise cancellation is the reason for this, as I’ve read.

  • Brian Bailey

    I think that they should put it on the ipad 3 (WiFi) and you can use it when you have WiFi and when you don`t to bad for you.