iOS 5.1 Update: Siri Speaks Japanese; Voice Dictation Comes To New iPad

Today, Apple unleashed the “new new iPad,” or iPad 3, or 2S, or whatever you want to call it. It’ll cost you $499, has a new retina display, with an A5X processor complete with quad-core graphics. The iPad 2 is also getting a price drop, to $399, and Apple announced a slew of new updates to existing products, including movie support for iCloud, iPhoto is coming to iOS, along with an update for iOS 5. Yes, iOS 5.1 will be available for download starting today for iPhone, iPod and iPads, according to Apple, with some new updates to Siri.

Siri brought a big change to the experience of the iPhone when it appeared on the 4S, and since then, people have been finding all sorts of back-door ways to bring the saucy personal assistant to other Apple devices. Today, Siri is officially showing up on the iPad. Well, sort of. It won’t be the full-featured personal assistant iPhone users have become familiar with, but it does include voice dictation support. This support will include American English, British and Australian English, French, German and Japanese.

While most of those languages have already been available for iOS, Japanese is a new arrival. But, perhaps the coolest part of this pared-down Siri for iPad is that the dictation feature will be available in third-party apps. That means that users will be able to holler their tweets and Facebook status updates into their iPads and iPhones, making for an interesting experience for those in close proximity.

iOS 5.1 is also supposed to hold the promise of enhanced battery life, but iPhone 4S users have been holding their breath on that one for awhile now, so that remains to be seen.

But, as always, iPhone Hacks warns that, for those operating with jailbroken versions of iOS, it’s a good idea to avoid those firmware updates, because you’ll likely lose your jailbreak. Just FYI.

We’ll update when we learn more.