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Wednesday October 5, 2011 1:14 pm

More about Siri, the iPhone 4S killer feature

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Smartphones, Software, Videos

In advance of yesterday's Let's Talk iPhone Apple event, the rumor mill was in full swing, but among the few predictions to actually come true was voice recognition in the new iPhone, now known as the iPhone 4S.

Last year, Apple acquired voice-recognition application startup Siri and added some voice-to-text features to iOS 4. The feature will be beefed up with the iPhone 4S to understand context and allow you to speak naturally when asking questions.

"Siri on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more," Apple said. "Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you'll keep finding more and more ways to use it."

During a press event at Apple's Cupertino headquarters today, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone Software, asked Siri for the weather, and it spit out the forecast. It also told him the time in Paris, the status of the NASDAQ, and provided restaurant recommendations for Palo Alto, sourced from Yelp.

"We really just want to be able to talk to our device. Tell it what we want and have it do it for you," Forstall said.

Siri can also read messages aloud so you don't have to read them on the screen, Forstall said. Voice-activated search is also supported, as is dictation.

Siri is incorporated into the navigation of the device, so you can have Siri do just about anything you would do with your phone, according to Forstall. "You can manage your calendar now with your voice. You can compose and dictate emails right to Siri."

The technology will initially include support for English, French, and German. It will debut as a beta, meaning Apple will add more languages and services over time.

On a side note, Siri appears to have started a small Internet meme, with Apple fans on Twitter "asking" Siri random questions, like "Siri, where is the iPhone 5," and "Siri, given enough time to prepare, could Batman defeat Galactus?"

The iPhone 4S, meanwhile, boasts a faster processor, fancier camera, and comes loaded with iOS 5. Apple will start accepting pre-orders on October 7 and the phone will hit stores on October 14. Also yesterday, Apple unveiled a revamped iPod nano and iPod touch.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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