Hackers' Crack of Apple Siri Shows No iPhone Required

Dave Courbanou

November 15, 2011

2 Min Read
Hackers' Crack of Apple Siri Shows No iPhone Required

Apple Siri just keeps getting more interesting. Turns out, not only is Siri living inside Apple’s giant data centers, users don’t even need an Apple device to make Siri work. But shh! Don’t tell Apple. Here’s the details on the intriguing new hack and what fuels Apple’s magic …

The news come from Applidum, the mobile development team behind the VLC app for the iPhone and iPad (which is no longer available in the United States). The Applidum team was curious, so they started poking around at the server calls the iPhone 4S made when using Siri. The team subsequently uncovered complex network of communication, authentication and compression, even noting that a user’s raw voice data is compressed on the fly and sent up to Apple’s servers for direct analysis by Siri.

But the most interesting part of Applidum’s work was this conclusion:

Today, we managed to crack open Siri’s protocol. As a result, we are able to use Siri’s recognition engine from any device. Yes, that means anyone could now write an Android app that uses the real Siri! Or use Siri on an iPad! And we’re going to share this know-how with you.

Siri is Apple’s baby, even more so since it’s in “beta,” so it makes sense that Apple is taking baby steps and running it only on the iPhone 4S. But the fact that Siri could be separated from the iPhone experience likely isn’t a mistake. It’s probably Siri will be coming to a new Apple TV or Mac near you. Apple’s next important move will be figuring out how to tell fake authentication from real ones, lest Siri run wild on every device.

Even though Applidum’s code and hacks are merely proof of concept, it’s kind of a big deal, because Siri also represents a new way to use the cloud. Instead of going to the cloud to do work, we send work to the cloud to get analyzed and processed for us. It should be interesting to see if any new iCloud or iCloud-esque applications pop up, or if Apple will let developers leverage Apple’s data center muscle to perform complex functions on the iPhone or iPad.

Keep it locked in here for Apple’s inevitable response to this curtain pulling-back moment of Siri.

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