Apple has consistently shown that Siri – its iOS based digital assistant – is extremely important to the company’s vision for the future of its software platforms. Ever since its original introduction back in the iOS 5 days Apple has attempted to improve the power and capabilities of the voice-activated helper with every major iOS release. In an effort to further improve the Siri user-experience, it’s now being reported that Apple will do away with the limitations of the ‘Hey, Siri’ feature by making it a permanently ‘on’ feature, exclusively on the newer iPhone 6s models.
When the ‘Hey, Siri’ feature was introduced with the unveiling of iOS 8, it proved popular with iDevice owners. The Google Now-like implementation allowed users to activate Siri entirely hands-free by just saying the magic words. But of course, it came with one fairly large caveat; the device in question had to be connected to a power source at the time. Apple was clearly concerned about the negative impact that such a feature would have on the expected battery life of any device capable of accessing this feature.
It seems that that is no longer the case. A new report is hinting that Apple intends to ship the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with the ‘Hey, Siri’ feature constantly switched on, meaning that the device will no longer have to be connected to a power source before it recognizes the command. Power efficiency improvements made within iOS 9 have likely paved the way for Apple to feel confident that making Siri accessible at all times, will not have a significant negative impact on the length of battery life achieved by the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus that are due to be unveiled later today at the company’s media event.
The interesting thing is that the latest pre-release seed of iOS 9 doesn’t have this feature enabled, leaving us to believe that the feature will be limited to the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus. Given that we aren’t expecting either of those two new devices to ship with improved batteries we can only deduce that Apple plans on using the feature as a key marketing characteristic to entice those users who require flexible hands-free use, to make the move across to one of the two new iPhones. Given the expected refresh to the Apple TV 4, it’s likely that this functionality will also be extended to the set-top-box as well.
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