Apple bought Siri and its voice technology to finally bring this long-anticipated functionality to the iPhone and now everybody’s talking about Assistant, the until now known but unnamed voice control feature in iOS 5. However, left unmentioned are the tens of millions of devices that will be left behind.
According to reports both near and far, the iPhone (5 or 4S or both) next will have an A5 processor and 1GB of RAM — Apple’s doubled down on the hardware. Why? Because they need to power Assistant voice recognition + command/control functionality:
• Integrated with contacts, messages, maps, email, etc
• Create calendar events, reminders, get directions, send text messages directly with a voice command
• Find My Friends is integrated with Assistant with privacy settings to control how you can be found
• Conversation view confirm voice commands, and give further instructions
• View, reuse the most commonly spoken commands
I suspect the iPhone 4 with its A4 processor and 512MB likely will support most if not all of the above functionality — some things won’t be entirely smooth, but doable in the broad sense.
The past ends here
iPhone 3GS, listed as compatible, is at best an iOS 5 afterthought and likely will choke on the update like the iPhone 3G did on iOS 4.
Look at it this way — what happens when you add a lane to a freeway? People fill it with cars. In fact, people will keep filling it with cars until the marginal benefit becomes in fact negative — add another car and things get slower, it’s called gridlock.
So, what happens when you double the RAM capacity of the iPhone? Developers, with or without interference from Apple’s app nannies, will fill the available RAM until there’s gridlock.
All the idevices introduced before June (iPhone) September (iPod touch) 2010 are obsolete — 256MB doesn’t cut it anymore. There is no available headroom in memory let alone the processor.
When iOS 4 came, the iPhone 3G was sloughed off. And, this year, it’s going to be the iPhone 3GS.
Knowing this, however, won’t stop the whiners from whining and the haters from doing their thing…
What’s your take?