Rumors are circulating around the internet that say one of the highlight features of the iPhone 4S, Siri, is currently being tested by Apple employees on other devices. For those of you who have been living under a rock these past few weeks, Siri is Apple’s personal assistant that you interact with using your voice. It can do things like set timers, read your incoming text messages and emails to you, and you can even use it for dictation. Apple says Siri is in beta, and it’s already had some bad days where it’s gone down completely, which is why this rumor is interesting. Most folks assumed that Siri was an iPhone 4S exclusive because it required the dual core processing power that’s offered by the Apple A5 chip. But once you scratch the surface of Siri and see that it also needs an internet connection to process commands, a light bulb goes off.
If we had to make a bet, we’d say Siri is going to come to the iPhone 4, iPad 2, and iPod touch, but where things get interesting is when you start to imagine future Apple products. All of Apple’s innovations have revolved around a new input method. The GUI with the Macintosh, the wheel with the iPod, multitouch with the iPhone, so what would an Apple gadget look like if it was built around voice? Think about feature phones. Why are they so cheap? They have small screens, they’re made out of relatively cheap materials, and their primary function is to make calls and send/receive text messages. What if Apple got into the feature phone game with a device built around Siri? Use best in class materials, throw in some basic 3G connectivity, pair it up to a display that’s 3 inches or under, and boom.
You’ve got the iPhone for emerging markets.