Feb. 6, 2012 at 12:17 PM ET
Many individuals have been holding their breath and waiting for the day when Siri becomes officially available on older iPhones. But according to one analyst, that moment may never come — thanks to a technical difference between the iPhone 4S and older generation devices.
CNET reports that Linley Group analyst Linley Gwennap believes that noise-reduction circuitry built into the iPhone 4S processor explains why it can handle Siri — and why the iPhone 4 supposedly can't.
Gwennap points out that one of the differences between the A5 processor found in the iPhone 4S and the A4 processor in the iPhone 4 is a noise-reduction technology called EarSmart, the creation of a start-up by the name of Audience. While the iPhone 4 contains this technology in the form of a dedicated chip, the iPhone 4S has it built directly into the A5 processor. And when the EarSmart technology was integrated directly into the processor, Apple didn't just save a little bit of space — it also wound up with better noise-reduction technology.
The noise-reduction technology in the iPhone 4 "was good only when the phone was held near the speaker's mouth," explains CNET. But this limitation disappeared with the iPhone 4S, according to Gwennap, who says that this "situation helps explain why Apple does not offer Siri as a software upgrade on the iPhone 4":
Although the older phone includes an Audience chip, the company has since improved its technology to handle 'far-field speech,' which means holding the device at arm's length rather than directly in front of the mouth.
So there we have it: The reason Apple will likely never officially offer Siri to older generation iPhones is because their hearing isn't up to par. And if Siri can't hear you over background noise, how is it supposed to answer your every question?
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