Apple adding Japanese, Chinese, Russian to Siri (rumor)

Rumours are surfacing that Apple's Siri may have support for Chinese, Japanese and Russian as early as next month, and is already in testing.

Chinese tech site DoNews reports that Siri will be launching in Chinese next month, as well as Japanese and Russian, and is already undergoing testing.

The rumour comes from an Apple engineer working on the Chinese language version of Siri, which at the moment is limited to English, French and German.

This appears in line with previous statements from Apple, which promised Siri support for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Spanish in 2012.

The rumour also alleges that Siri will not only support Chinese, but will also give out local information and navigation; a feature that only the U.S. version of Siri currently offers. At present it is only reported to support standard Mandarin (or "putonghua").

Several dialects are spoken in China. The exclusivity of Mandarin will leave out those who speak Cantonese and other language variants.

Up until now Chinese users have had to speak English to use Siri, and many expressed frustration at the lack of Chinese support on their iPhone 4S. Siri has a history of struggling with heavy accents, from Japanese to Scottish.

The release of the iPhone 4S in China gathered such heavy crowds that sales of the product had to be suspended in stores, but have since been continued online. Siri has been a huge hit with consumers and helped propel the popularity of the iPhone 4S, so introducing Chinese support would likely be a huge hit with it's new users.

With the iPad 3 heavily rumoured to be announced soon, a revamp of Siri now would seem to be perfect timing. After all, the program is still in it's 'beta' stage, and even though Apple is having a few problems with the 'iPad' name in China, it is clear that expansion into the world's biggest smartphone market is still a priority.

Image credit: Joe Aimonetti.

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