Apple Strikes Back In Jailbreak-Siri Arms Race

When Siri was announced strictly for the iPhone 4S, the mod community likely took that as a challenge. Before long, the service had been hacked and shortly thereafter ported to a number of potentially compatible devices.

The problem, of course, is that Apple gets to decide what devices are compatible, not the users. So they’ve taken steps to undo the work that hackers and jailbreakers have done to bring Siri to older iOS devices. Today brings a new volley, though it’s only a matter of time before it too is circumvented.

Spire, the jailbreak-related Siri porting tool for non-4S devices, has been disabled by an update from Apple that adds an extra requirement to the Siri authentication process. A new “SetActivationToken” plist file prevents the current hack from functioning correctly. Well, that’s it, everybody go home, Siri is safe from interlopers.

In fact, it has been pointed out that a little deep file management fixes the problem — not a fix a casual user would do, but few casual users will have gone through with the non-trivial Spire install process to begin with. Chances are a small fix will be made available and then a more thorough one will hit when 5.1 hits.

Apple, in the meantime, will continue to desultorily fight back. Their rationale for not supporting older devices isn’t really clear, but it probably doesn’t have anything to do with the older devices being unable to perform the tasks Siri does on-device. Commentators seem to agree that it was a combination of marketing and an inability to scale to support the whole iOS population. That would explain why their work to disrupt non-4S Siri devices has been something less than intense. A hundred thousand jailbreakers won’t knock over the servers, but 50 million iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches would be sure to.

[via Redmond Pie and Apple Insider]