Reports say full-fledged Siri coming to iPad with iOS 6

Reports say full-fledged Siri coming to iPad with iOS 6

Summary: According to several reports, Apple in the fall will release the full Siri voice recognition agent technology in iOS 6. Current third-generation iPads support voice dictation but not the full Siri artifical-intelligence system introduced in the iPhone 4S.


According to several reports, Apple in the fall will release the full Siri voice recognition agent technology in iOS 6. Current third-generation iPads support voice dictation but not the full Siri artifical-intelligence system introduced in the iPhone 4S.

In a 9to5 Mac article, Mark Gurman reports that the iPad version of Siri will support all functions except phone dialing capabilities.

With the iPad being a device that is larger than the iPhone, the product typically sits farther away from the user’s mouth. Because of this, some speculators of Siri for iPad have believed that the device’s microphone would be unable to properly hear, and therefore incorrectly interpret, command inputs. Sources, however, dismissed this as nonsense, and these sources say that commands input with same or similar accuracy to the iPhone 4S. iPad voice dictation appears to work well for third-generation iPad users.

Gurman says that the iPad 2 and iPad 3 have the processing power and hardware base to handle the voice agent technology. However, Apple is concerned about scaling the server-side capabilities and providing adequate performance to customers, so the Siri for iPad may be confined to a forthcoming fourth-generation model.

Access to Siri by third-party applications is also on the minds of developers in the weeks before the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). On the Tea for iPhone blog, developer Samuel Iglesias, cofounder of Made by Sail, discusses what a Siri API might look like. He says that obviously an API already exists which is used by Apple's apps.

Iglesias considers that the agent programming can be divided into Services and Semantics. Services are the means to accept tasks from another app, something very familiar to programmers (and OSes). The Semantics side is the tricky part, he writes.

The second half of Siri integration, Semantics, is the tricky part: something that most iOS developers have never dealt with. Semantics will attempt to capture the various ways a user can ask for something, and, more importantly, the ways Siri, in turn, can ask for more information should that be required. This means that developers will need to imagine and provide “hints” about the numerous ways a user can ask for something. Sure, machine learning can cover some of that, but at this early stage Siri will need human supervision to work seamlessly.

Iglesias expects that Apple will spend iOS 6 sessions teaching developers the basics of natural language processing and how Xcode will support Siri integration. Or maybe it will be something new.

Let’s keep in mind that a conversational semantic services API of this kind —whatever it will end up looking like—has never been done before and will likely require new tools, new paradigms, to fully capture its power and breadth. And I can’t think of a better place, or time, to introduce such a platform than at the upcoming WWDC.

Very interesting reading. Check it out.

Topic: iPad

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Fantastic!

    That's great, now iPad users will also have a personal voice assistant that doesn't actually assist in doing anything.
    • reply

      Go play in traffic
      • Oh, sad

        I guess it is true about apple fanboys having a religious-like attachment to their toys. Kind of pathetic.
    • Siri is Apple's MS Bob

    • How many actually use it...

      Based on a March Huffington Post/WSJ article, only 1/3 of iPhone 4S users use Siri daily and most people only use it to call/text. If you take out the most common uses for Siri (calling and texting), are people all that interested? I guess only releasing it to the iPad will tell us. I see nothing wrong with voice features, but I don't understand why a niche company wastes so much money on a clearly niche feature.

      The thought of people sticking their face up against a 10" object makes me think you'll have a lawsuit in no time with a little kid that gave themselves or a friend a concussion by whacking themselves or their friend in the face in an attempt to get Siri to hear/work. Blow it off if you will, but someone is mega rich after burning themselves with McDonald's coffee.
      • I use Siri every day

        Calling, texting, managing my calendar, to do list, shopping list, web queries, defining terminology, unit conversions, etc... I may be in the minority, but Siri has changed the way I use my smartphone. the iPhone is tremendously more useful to me, and with a headset, I don't even have tot take it out of my pocket.
      • Quite a Few

        If you are to believe Huffington, 1/3 of some 35+million iPhone 4Ses sold, is still 10+ million people.

        "niche company"? Apple is a niche company?
  • A neighbor showed me SIRI yesterday...

    He asked for a hardware store by name, and in a second it showed him the map and a link to their web site. Seemed to work just as advertised.
    Tony Burzio
    • I did the same thing on Sunday

      On Sunday I used Siri to locate the soccer field for my son's game, and then to find the closest Harbor Freight store to my friend's house where we went after the game.

      Although it worked like a charm in these instances, I have found maps to be somewhat of a struggle for Siri, particularly where unusual street names are concerned.
  • Awesome!!!

    I love the dictation feature on the iPad, it works like a charm on the iPhone especially when I'm driving and have to send a text message, I dictate it over bluetooth and then send away!
  • IBM's Watson in the palm of your hand.

    Siri is not just some voice to text to search on google tool. It thinks and determines the response accordingly a lot like IBM's Watson, just scales back several dials. Siri is the main reason why people lined up to get the new iphone even though it looked exactly like the previous one. Now all new smart phones now have to mimick Siri with some sort of "smart" voice control.

    Yes it is a religious cult, we all have the apple logo burned into our forheads. We sacrifice new Windows PCs to a shrine dedicated to Steve Jobs, use Android tablets as coasters or door stops. Oh wait a minute so the millions of millions ordinary iphone users are Steve Job cultists? It's just that before itunes and iphone made Apple the most succesfull company on the planet. They were the underdog, the cool niche market champion that saved people from microsoft's evil clutches. Now it's even bigger and more evil than any comapany before it. Now Apple is the company some people want to see get defeated.