Love her or hate her, don't be surprised this fall if you see people walking down the street chatting it up with Siri on their iPads. The Apple blog 9to5 Mac reports that the virtual assistant, once exclusive to the iPhone 4S, will at long last make her way to the tablet as a tentpole feature for iOS 6. The new addition might be announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference next week. According to insiders, the fully realized voice commands will be light-years ahead of the third-generation iPad's underwhelming Voice Dictation app. How will Siri for iPad stack up? Here, four talking points from the tech blogs:
1. Siri probably won't become available on the iPad 1 or 2
The voice helper will probably be exclusive to the latest Retina Display model of the iPad, says Mark Gruman at 9to5 Mac. Siri launched as iPhone 4S only because "Apple believed that a single iPhone model would allow the Siri servers and functionality to grow at a scalable pace." Expanding to all previous versions of the iPad might prove too taxing on Apple's servers. That reasoning jibes with Apple's decision not to bring Siri to the iPhone 4, says Sean Ludwig at VentureBeat. Still, such news "would certainly bum out owners of older iPads."
2. She'll have familiar capabilities
All the familiar features found on the iPhone 4S are there, says Josh Lwensohn at CNET, "short of making phone calls," of course. Siri for the iPad will get iMessage, Calendar management, Reminders, Weather, Maps integration, Safari, Wolfram-Alpha searching, Music playback, and more. How well it'll work, however, remains to be seen.
3. Siri gets animated
"Unlike the iPhone 4S, Siri for iPad is not a full screen experience," says Gruman. "This makes sense given the device's larger, 9.7-inch display." Instead, when users hold the home button, Siri slides up with a "clever animation" that turns into a small window overlaying whatever the user is doing, taking advantage of the tablet's extra real estate. (Check out a mockup here.)
4. There's no mic problem after all
When the latest iPad didn't debut with Siri as a feature, one of the popular theories fielded about was that the iPad's microphone wasn't powerful enough to pick up voice commands, especially since users hold tablets farther away from their faces than their phones. But according to sources, that claim is "nonsense," says Gruman. Voice commands will "input with the same or similar accuracy to the iPhone 4S." Besides: Voice Dictation seems to do just fine.