Siri, an intelligent voice-controlled personal assistant which debuted with the iPhone 4S, could come to your big screen television via Apple’s set-top box. The evidence is inconclusive at this point, but clues exist pointing in this direction. For starters, Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross speculated about Siri on the Apple TV in her note to clients last week, observing (via Fortune’s Apple 2.0 blog):
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.
I know what you’re thinking… Analysts, they also predicted flying cars, right? But if Apple were to bring the Siri functionality into their set top-box, they would need to issue a hardware refresh because the current-generation Apple TV powered by the A4 processor lacks oomph to run Siri. As 9to5Mac discovered on Friday, the Apple TV 3,1 reference in the iOS file system indicates a major hardware refresh for the device. While references to devices that have never come to fruition had previously appeared in the iOS code, this one comes from a file that Apple uses to activate unreleased devices in testing. If Apple is testing a new Apple TV with the A5 chip, it would indicate full HD 1080P video playback and – although this is a stretch – the possibility of voice-controlled input powered by Siri. Think telling your Apple TV to search for movies from 2010 starring Tom Cruise, play four stars-rated songs by Bob Dylan, serve up weather information, compare stocks, rate an episode of a TV show you’re watching, asking “who directed this movie” and so forth. And while we’re at it…
The iPad 2 already has the A5 processor and enabling Siri on that device should be easy. But why stop with Siri on iOS devices? The feature would perfectly complement the Mac OS X experience, enabling you to issue commands with your voice and ask your Mac to set up a meeting for you, reply to email messages, retrieve information from the Internet and so forth. It is unlikely any of this will come to be in the near future: Apple is launching Siri as a beta product and they’re probably gonna keep it exclusive to the iPhone 4S for some time, possibly until the next iPhone comes along. It is, however, reasonable to assume they will at some point open up Siri to third-parties, creating exciting opportunities. And why shouldn’t we be able to talk to and issue commands to third-party apps, not just Apple’s built-in programs? The natural evolution of Siri could enable you to, say, tell Siri to post a status update through your favorite Facebook client? Apple is a company which dreams big and Siri already looks like a game-changing feature, so how about the Siri + iOS accessories combo?
Apple upgraded the iPhone 4S to Bluetooth 4.0, allowing it to 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. Other people are also dreaming up Star Trek-grade stuff which calls for Bluetooth 4.0-powered smart watches coupled with Siri on your iPhone 4S. Wanna interact with Siri? Just raise your wrist to your mouth and ask her to do something, no need to pull the phone out of your pocket. Are we dreaming too big? Meet us in comments.