Latest iOS 5.1 Beta Shows That Apple Is Working On Siri Dictation For iPad

Apple’s decision to make Siri an iPhone 4S-only affair caused much consternation amongst iPhone 4 owners as well as those owning an iPad 2.

With the iPad 2 featuring the same internals as the iPhone 4S, it had been expected that the tablet would be able to handle Siri in all its glory, but Apple for some reason decided to hold it back, presumably with the iPad 3 in mind. Now, that may not be so clear cut.

The latest beta release of iOS 5.1 sees the iPad 2 receive a new menu item in the Settings app, and one that suggests that the wonders of Siri might be coming to the Apple’s current tablet after all. Or at least, in so way, shape or form.

9to5Mac’s Sonny Dickson discovered that a new menu option in the ‘keyboard’ area of brings up a new "About Privacy & Dictation" text, which suggests that dictation will be coming in iOS 5.1 for iPad. Unfortunately, there is no mention of Siri anywhere, which points to the fact that the iPad 2 may not get the full Siri magic, but just the text dictation portion.

While better than nothing, the lack of Siri is surely a disappointment, with the iPad 3 looking set to be the tablet to introduce full Siri support. We shouldn’t have too long to wait until we find out, with the next iPad expected to be announced in the coming months, with a release shortly after.

Reports also suggest that the same text has been spotted on iPod touches with Retina Displays, meaning only the newer models will receive speech-to-text support, which would make sense considering the horsepower required to make it work properly.

At this point though we do find ourselves wondering whether Siri is really all it was made out to be back in October. Anyone owning an iPhone 4S can currently take advantage of the digital assistant, but we know those of us at Redmond Pie with the device rarely activate Siri, and we have heard similar things from the people we have spoken to. Is Siri a neat party trick, but that’s it?

Would we even use Siri on an iPad? Thoughts?

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