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Siri raise-to-speak feature uses modified iPhone 4S proximity sensor

post #1 of 37
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One previously undiscovered change in the iPhone 4S versus the iPhone 4 is a new infrared proximity sensor that enables the raise-to-speak feature used by Siri voice recognition.

The teardown experts at iFixit revealed on Wednesday that the proximity sensor in the iPhone 4S has a newly modified infrared component that's enabled whenever the handset's LCD screen is active. Previous iPhones only enabled the proximity sensor when users were on a phone call or utilizing an application that required users to hold the device up to their ear.

Now, with the iPhone 4S, the infrared sensor is always working while the handset is in use, allowing users to utilize the raise-to-speak feature available with Siri voice recognition. The sensor allows the touchscreen on the iPhone 4S to automatically turn off so that actions cannot be taken by pressing the screen when either Siri is being used or a phone call is being made.

"Siri is ready and waiting to answer her master's beck and call at any time," the solutions provider said. "And in order to be as attentive as a personal assistant ought to be, Apple had to design the proximity sensor to be as vigilant as Big Brother, but as cute as LIttle Sister.

"So whenever the screen is active, the proximity sensor is active too. Thus, whenever you raise the iPhone 4S to your face, Siri is ready to take orders."

The site also noted that the constant output of infrared radiation isn't a "big deal," as infrared light is non-ionizing and emits a low-frequency radiation.



iFixit first took a look inside the new iPHone 4S last month, though the new proximity sensor was not given much notice. The initial take made mention of a slightly larger batter and new baseband chip found in Apple's fifth-generation handset.

Users can invoke Siri on the iPhone 4S by holding down the handset's home button, or raising it to their ear and speaking directly into the microphone. The raise-to-speak function can be turned on or off in the device's settings.

Siri is perhaps the most significant new feature in the iPhone 4S, and remains exclusive to Apple's latest iPhone model. The inclusion of a new proximity sensor could also provide some explanation as to why Apple has said it has no plans to bring Siri to other devices such as the previous-generation iPhone 4, or even the iPad 2, which is powered by the same A5 processor as the iPhone 4S.
post #2 of 37
Thing is, the only thing differentiating these two proximity sensors is an iOS update.

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post #3 of 37
While reading this column I raised my iPhone 4S to my face and spoke and Siri did not activate. And, yes, Raise To Speak was turned on in Settings. This feature has never worked for me.

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post #4 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

One previously undiscovered change in the iPhone 4S versus the iPhone 4 is a new infrared proximity sensor that enables the raise-to-speak feature used by Siri voice recognition.

The teardown experts at iFixit revealed on Wednesday that the proximity sensor in the iPhone 4S has a newly modified infrared component that's enabled whenever the handset's LCD screen is active. Previous iPhones only enabled the proximity sensor when users were on a phone call or utilizing an application that required users to hold the device up to their ear.

Now, with the iPhone 4S, the infrared sensor is always working while the handset is in use, allowing users to utilize the raise-to-speak feature available with Siri voice recognition. The sensor allows the touchscreen on the iPhone 4S to automatically turn off so that actions cannot be taken by pressing the screen when either Siri is being used or a phone call is being made.

"Siri is ready and waiting to answer her master's beck and call at any time," the solutions provider said. "And in order to be as attentive as a personal assistant ought to be, Apple had to design the proximity sensor to be as vigilant as Big Brother, but as cute as LIttle Sister.

"So whenever the screen is active, the proximity sensor is active too. Thus, whenever you raise the iPhone 4S to your face, Siri is ready to take orders."

The site also noted that the constant output of infrared radiation isn't a "big deal," as infrared light is non-ionizing and emits a low-frequency radiation.



iFixit first took a look inside the new iPHone 4S last month, though the new proximity sensor was not given much notice. The initial take made mention of a slightly larger batter and new baseband chip found in Apple's fifth-generation handset.

Users can invoke Siri on the iPhone 4S by holding down the handset's home button, or raising it to their ear and speaking directly into the microphone. The raise-to-speak function can be turned on or off in the device's settings.

Siri is perhaps the most significant new feature in the iPhone 4S, and remains exclusive to Apple's latest iPhone model. The inclusion of a new proximity sensor could also provide some explanation as to why Apple has said it has no plans to bring Siri to other devices such as the iPad 2, which is powered by the same A5 processor as the iPhone 4S.

For me, the less radiation, the better. How can I turn this IR sensor off when I don't need it?
post #5 of 37
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post #6 of 37
Maybe this is one of the reasons as to why my iPhone 4S seems to get about 10% less battery life then my 2 year old iPhone 3GS did.
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post #7 of 37
Really? Do you need Raise to Speak with iPad 2?
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

While reading this column I raised my iPhone 4S to my face and spoke and Siri did not activate. And, yes, Raise To Speak was turned on in Settings. This feature has never worked for me.

Your phone knows you're reading no need to speak up do you? Siri says meh!

Speaking of Siri, the presenter just cannot stay still, to left to the right and, look the left again..
post #9 of 37
It's transmitting nonstop. Even when I turn Siri off... I can see the flikering IR light by looking at the iPhone via a simple digital camera.
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

While reading this column I raised my iPhone 4S to my face and spoke and Siri did not activate. And, yes, Raise To Speak was turned on in Settings. This feature has never worked for me.

you are not alone.

I guess this feature works only when one is already in a conversation with Siri...
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post #11 of 37
My god that girl is hot.
post #12 of 37
post #13 of 37
If this new sensor is more power efficient, or otherwise better-suited for always-on use (at least, when the screen is unlocked) then thats one good reason not to put Siri on older devices: it would mean giving up the most-natural and least-goofy way to talk to a computer! And Siri has to be as its best, with the pundits looking to pounce at any flaw in the experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eharel View Post

For me, the less radiation, the better. How can I turn this IR sensor off when I don't need it?

The word radiation means multiple things, not all of them scary. In this case, it means electromagnetic radiationenergy in wave form which includes visible light! This IR transmitter is essentially a dim lamp, lit up in a color (close to red) which we cant quite see. (Although some animals and cameras can.) Some wavelengths of EM are dangerouslike X-rays. IR is not.

The radiation emitted by this is a micro-fraction of the radiation you get from having light shining on you, indoors or out. If this amount of radiation were a concern, wed want to live in total darkness And we'd also avoid heat sources: they emit infrared! (Thats what you feel on your face from a firejust like a heat lamp.)

Ionizing radiation is completely differentthats the scary kind, which people usually mean when they talk about radiation. And its unrelated to electromagnetic waves. Its made up of particles in fact, which can break apart atoms.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davejay View Post

My god that girl is hot.

I think she is too thin and should take an extra serving at dinner tonight.
post #15 of 37
Raise to Speak has occasionally not worked for me also. However, knowing how it's meant to work should help.

Previously, I'd assumed it was using the accelerometer. So, to ensure it worked, I'd exaggerated the motion.

Now, I'll instead try keeping it away from my body, sleeve, etc, which might have been obscuring the infrared beam and failing to trigger Siri when the phone was raised to my ear.
post #16 of 37
I find that you really need to have the iphone TOUCH your ear for it work reliably.

It's worth a bit of practice because I'm finding it an invaluable feature as long as no one is around !
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2992 View Post

I guess this feature works only when one is already in a conversation with Siri...

You are right. Raise to Speak only works when already in a conversation. It does not work in any other circumstance for me. That's too bad. Let's hope that's fixed in iOS 5.x

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post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

While reading this column I raised my iPhone 4S to my face and spoke and Siri did not activate. And, yes, Raise To Speak was turned on in Settings. This feature has never worked for me.

Was the screen on at the time? I know I first tried it without the screen on and I thought it didn't work, but since trying it with the display on, even locked, it works fine.
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post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

While reading this column I raised my iPhone 4S to my face and spoke and Siri did not activate. And, yes, Raise To Speak was turned on in Settings. This feature has never worked for me.

Like mentioned in the article, your iPhone display must be on.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davejay View Post

My god that girl is hot.

Don't tell Siri... she might get jealous.

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post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Was the screen on at the time? I know I first tried it without the screen on and I thought it didn't work, but since trying it with the display on, even locked, it works fine.

What about when he flips open the cover and says "Open hailing frequencies"!

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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davejay View Post

My god that girl is hot.

Her name is Melissa 'MJ', lives in Shell Beach, CA, is married, and has a kid.
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post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davejay View Post

My god that girl is hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I think she is too thin and should take an extra serving at dinner tonight.

Why oh why would you feel compelled to weigh in on someone's appearances?
post #24 of 37
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Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

Why oh why would you feel compelled to weigh in on someone's appearances?

The Internet is a very, very lonely place.

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post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

While reading this column I raised my iPhone 4S to my face and spoke and Siri did not activate. And, yes, Raise To Speak was turned on in Settings. This feature has never worked for me.

It seems to be a combination of the proximity sensor AND the accelerometer. If I hold the phone with the display on and cover the sensor with my hand, I don't get anything. However, if I perform the "raise" gesture and cover it with my hand, it works.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Her name is Melissa 'MJ', lives in Shell Beach, CA, is married, and has a kid.

Don't bother looking though as no one knows the way to Shell Beach...

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post #27 of 37
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Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Ionizing radiation is completely differentthats the scary kind, which people usually mean when they talk about radiation. And its unrelated to electromagnetic waves. Its made up of particles in fact, which can break apart atoms.

Don't forget that extreme ultraviolet (EUV) is ionising and of course is also a form of electromagnetic radiation. This is why our EUV filtering ozone layer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_layer) is so important.

Infrared (IR), the wavelength being talked about in this article, is completely harmless in the iPhone, as you said.

All the best.
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post #28 of 37
Then check out this list. Apple is not in the top twenty most radiation producing phones. It, however, isn't in the top twenty lowest radiation producing phones either.

It is worth noting over a fifteen year period cell phone radiation output has been cut in half. That is worth noting because there is conflicting information about health effects of cell phone radiation. Many brain surgeons my spouse works with think cell phones do increase your chances of obtaining brain cancer based on the increase of people suffering through brain cancer that forms behind the ear where the cell phone rests. However, many of these people might have been exposed to radiation output for a significant period of time when cell phones as a whole were kicking out double the radiation of todays phones. It also worth noting the radiation output of phones, while significantly decreasing over the past few years, is trending upwards with the use of high speed networks. Apple's first iPhone output the least amount of radiation.

Kids also are at more risk of developing problems as their skulls are much thinner then an adult's skull. If you want to play it safe, use this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eharel View Post

For me, the less radiation, the better. How can I turn this IR sensor off when I don't need it?
post #29 of 37
Siri doesn't seem to be able to give the date, but can set reminders and book appts. How odd is that?
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshwa View Post

It seems to be a combination of the proximity sensor AND the accelerometer. If I hold the phone with the display on and cover the sensor with my hand, I don't get anything. However, if I perform the "raise" gesture and cover it with my hand, it works.

To have raise to speak work better, holding the phone facing up in front of you can then being it to ears as if taking a call. Work whenever screen is on not necessarily in conversation. However won't work in lock screen
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by eharel View Post

For me, the less radiation, the better. How can I turn this IR sensor off when I don't need it?

Infrared is non-ionising. Zero health impacts. You are receiving more radiation from the visible light being reflected off a postage stamp.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bancho View Post

Don't bother looking though as no one knows the way to Shell Beach...

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One of the great under-appreciated movies.

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post #33 of 37
I finally got it to work. Hold the iPhone 4S so the screen is facing up (the phone is horizontal) before you raise it up to your ear. That allows Siri to activate.

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post #34 of 37
1) General->Siri->ON, Raise to Speak->ON
2) Turn phone screen on (you *can* be in lock-screen for raise-to-speak to work)
3) Hold phone in front of you at eye or chest level or down at your waist level, with screen facing you (as if you were reading from it)
4) raise phone to your ear as if taking a call (don't do it too slowly like a turtle!)
5) wait for a moment and you will hear Siri beep/chime, now Siri is active!
6) speak your command to Siri and enjoy!
post #35 of 37
Siri demonstrating the proper raise-to-speak technique.
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Beige View Post

image: http://media33.onsugar.com/files/201...ul_woman_B.jpg
Siri demonstrating the proper raise-to-speak technique.

You got something to rise but I'm afraid it's also rendered me speechless.
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post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Beige View Post

Siri demonstrating the proper raise-to-speak technique.

Oh, my...

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