updated 06:05 pm EDT, Mon March 28, 2011
Siri voice search said likely for iOS 5
Apple's plans for iOS 5 may lean heavily on its buyout of Siri if a rumor on Monday proves true. The acquisition's voice-guided, multi-step searching is believed to be "deeply integrated" into the OS and would be shown off at WWDC in June. A possibility exists that it would be exposed to third-party apps through an API, TechCrunch said.
The move supports recent Apple hiring plans late last year that focused heavily on voice command support. Siri's technology was based around performing relatively complex actions, such as booking tickets for a movie or setting a calendar appointment, by describing it in plain language.
Although Apple beat Google to having voice commands through Voice Control on the iPhone 3GS, its challenger's Android platform has quickly overtaken iOS for the sheer range and complexity of commands. Users can run generic Google searches but also dictate e-mail and text messages, navigate maps, and translate languages. Siri may give iOS not just more comparable support but allow multi-step commands that Android lacks.
Rumors have circulated that moving the iPhone to late summer or early fall may give room to implement LTE, which could help streamline a MobileMe cloud service, but this isn't considered likely. Without a second-generation LTE chipset and wide enough coverage, Apple would face both battery issues and frequent drops back to 3G. The HTC Thunderbolt typically gets about four to five hours of use in 4G areas and has spurred on the introduction of an extra-large battery pack.