Apple's efficient M9 coprocessor will let your iPhone 6s track pace, make 'Hey Siri' always on

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2015
Inside the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is an upgraded M9 motion coprocessor that borrows new fitness capabilities from the Apple Watch, by estimating your walking or running pace.




Unlike in previous iPhones, where the M-series chip was separate from the main CPU, Apple has integrated the M9 processor into the A9. The M9 is found in the forthcoming iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPad Pro.

This new integration into the main CPU has allowed Apple to let the motion sensor to run constantly without draining the device's battery life.

In a first for the iPhone series, the iPhone 6s will measure a user's walking or running pace when they exercise, without the need for battery draining GPS. Previously, this functionality was limited to the S1 chip in the Apple Watch.

The M9 also allows for Siri to be always on. That means users will be able to use the device's "Hey Siri" voice command at all times.

In older devices, "Hey Siri" only works if the iPhone or iPad is plugged into a power source. AppleInsider's own sources were first to reveal earlier this week that the iPhone 6s would be Apple's first device to support always-on voice commands.

Like with previous M-series chips, the M9 also tracks steps, distance, and elevation changes. The M9 measures this data through a number of sensors in the iPhone, including an accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and barometer.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37

    I can't wait to get in front of an audience in a few months and say over the PA: "Hey Siri, call mom" or "Hey Siri, text my wife/girlfriend that I'm leaving to join the circus".

     

    Edit:  Apple took all the fun out of that real quick...  I just hope it is not accurate enough that I can still get some jollies out of it.

  • Reply 2 of 37

    It can be trained to recognize your voice only, according to a french web site.

  • Reply 3 of 37
    jackansi wrote: »
    I can't wait to get in front of an audience in a few months and say over the PA: "Hey Siri, call mom" or "Hey Siri, text my wife/girlfriend that I'm leaving to join the circus".

    And for exactly this reason I really hope that there is an option to set it back to only when plugged in... it's bad enough in my car now when I want to Hey Siri my plugged in iPhone on the dashboard and my arm is at such an angle that my watch tries to get in on the act too...
  • Reply 4 of 37
    roakeroake Posts: 642member

    Apple has to have figured out a way to do this reasonably securely.  Otherwise, your would have situations like some stalker walking up behind a pretty girl and loudly saying, "Hey Siri, text 1-505-223-2525 'I'm on the way.'" followed by a, "Yes," and he would have her cell phone number, if she had a new iPhone (wouldn't be so now if he did this two years from now when this technology was commonplace).  This dialog could be performed far faster than she could dig the phone out of her purse and abort the process.  If confronted, he could simply say he was talking to his own Siri.

     

    Since commands can be given to Siri, people could probably think up far more nefarious examples that this, even.

     

    I wonder what Apple's solution to this was.  If there is no solution, I would be shocked, and would anticipate the bad press starting in 3... 2... 1...

  • Reply 5 of 37

    I thought Siri recognized your voice?

  • Reply 6 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Roake View Post

     

    Apple has to have figured out a way to do this reasonably securely.  Otherwise, your would have situations like some stalker walking up behind a pretty girl and loudly saying, "Hey Siri, text 1-505-223-2525 'I'm on the way.'" followed by a, "Yes," and he would have her cell phone number, if she had a new iPhone (wouldn't be so now if he did this two years from now when this technology was commonplace).  This dialog could be performed far faster than she could dig the phone out of her purse and abort the process.  If confronted, he could simply say he was talking to his own Siri.

     

    Since commands can be given to Siri, people could probably think up far more nefarious examples that this, even.

     

    I wonder what Apple's solution to this was.  If there is no solution, I would be shocked, and would anticipate the bad press starting in 3... 2... 1...




    With iOS 9, you have to train iPhone to recognise your voice a la Touch ID, then only it's activated. It's not just a simple switch like in iOS 8.

  • Reply 7 of 37
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveMcM76 View Post





    And for exactly this reason I really hope that there is an option to set it back to only when plugged in... it's bad enough in my car now when I want to Hey Siri my plugged in iPhone on the dashboard and my arm is at such an angle that my watch tries to get in on the act too...



    I'm thinking perhaps an on/off option on the swipe up  menu?

     

    ETA: Ah, I see people are pointing out there's voice recognition involved. 

  • Reply 8 of 37
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    I don't know about you guys but the embedding of the M9 into this A9 SoC has me wondering what else got embedded and frankly if this is a 14/16nm chip. 14nm technology would certainly explain part of the huge performance boost while apparently actually reducing power requirements. I would imagine there are some micro architecture updates to the CPU and GPU's too. Honestly I'm more amazed by this A9 than anything else about the 6S.
  • Reply 9 of 37


    With iOS 9, you have to train iPhone to recognise your voice a la Touch ID, then only it's activated. It's not just a simple switch like in iOS 8.

    I haven't seen anything about this. Is it only for the new iPhones because with the beta version of iOS 9 on my 6 this was not the case.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lolliver View Post





    I haven't seen anything about this. Is it only for the new iPhones because with the beta version of iOS 9 on my 6 this was not the case.



    Nope. I'm running the iOS 9 GM Candidate on an iPhone 4S.

  • Reply 11 of 37
    An

    Nope. I'm running the iOS 9 GM Candidate on an iPhone 4S.

    And you had to train Siri to learn your voice similar to Touch ID? What exactly did that process look like?
  • Reply 12 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lolliver View Post



    An

    And you had to train Siri to learn your voice similar to Touch ID? What exactly did that process look like?



    iPhone asks you to say "Hey Siri" three times, then "What's the weather like?" and one or two other phrases.

     

    Changing Siri's language will have you retraining your voice, so do that before turning on Hey Siri.

  • Reply 13 of 37

    iPhone asks you to say "Hey Siri" three times, then "What's the weather like?" and one or two other phrases.

    Changing Siri's language will have you retraining your voice, so do that before turning on Hey Siri.

    Thanks for the tip. I changed the language and then turned hey Siri off and on again. This brought up the prompt to train Siri.

    So I'm assuming because I already had Hey Siri turned on when installing iOS 9 it never asked me to train Siri.

    Will be interesting to have other people try and activate Hey Siri on my phone now and see if she responds.

    Edit: I wonder if there is any actual Voice Biometrics involved in this or if it's just to improve the accuracy of when you say Hey Siri so you don't get it activating when saying something that sounds similar.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    lolliver wrote: »
    Thanks for the tip. I changed the language and then turned hey Siri off and on again. This brought up the prompt to train Siri.

    So I'm assuming because I already had Hey Siri turned on when installing iOS 9 it never asked me to train Siri.

    Will be interesting to have other people try and activate Hey Siri on my phone now and see if she responds.

    Edit: I wonder if there is any actual Voice Biometrics involved in this or if it's just to improve the accuracy of when you say Hey Siri so you don't get it activating when saying something that sounds similar.
    A hint might be in those colorful waveforms along the bottom of the watch screen when Siri is activated? Voice pattern recognition could look like that. Yes maybe too much to get from a graphic but hey..,,
  • Reply 15 of 37
    jfc1138 wrote: »
    A hint might be in those colorful waveforms along the bottom of the watch screen when Siri is activated? Voice pattern recognition could look like that. Yes maybe too much to get from a graphic but hey..,,

    If they are using the Voice Biometric technology from Nuance then the Siri training phrases you repeat would certainly be enough to set up a voice print.

    In a telephony (call centre for banks, government departments etc..) environment the Nuance technology would usually have you repeat a pass phrase 3 times in order to create a voice print. The voice print would then be stored server side and compared each time you call and repeat the pass phrase to authenticate.

    The response time of "Hey Siri" is too fast for the voice print to be stored on a server so would need to be stored and processed on the device. If it's stored in the same way as the Touch ID fingerprint then it's possible the iPhone would be capable of processing the comparison. Just not sure if that's what it's doing as the response time of Hey Siri is very impressive if it's first confirming your identity.

    Certainly a possibility though and a very welcome improvement if true. Would be great if it would allow you to open an App with Siri when your phone is locked without needing to use Touch ID.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    So… I know they says it won't be draining the battery… But will it be draining the battery…?lol
  • Reply 17 of 37
    luckyjayer wrote: »
    It can be trained to recognize your voice only, according to a french web site.

    I think that only means it gets more accurate as it listens to your voice... But Siri is a bit codependent, so if she hears her name she's gotta do what a Siri's gotta do....

    "Hey Siri, set up a three-way call between my wife and girlfriend and me..."
  • Reply 18 of 37
    So… I know they says it won't be draining the battery… But will it be draining the battery…?lol

    It's true. There's something about the M8 and now the M9 that allows the device to operate without using power like a usual chip. This story is about how it does far more as a M9 chip on a chip than it did when it was a separate M8 chip - which also didn't seem to use power. It's gotta be one of those technologies derived from captured UFOs...
  • Reply 19 of 37
    wizard69 wrote: »
    I don't know about you guys but the embedding of the M9 into this A9 SoC has me wondering what else got embedded and frankly if this is a 14/16nm chip. 14nm technology would certainly explain part of the huge performance boost while apparently actually reducing power requirements. I would imagine there are some micro architecture updates to the CPU and GPU's too. Honestly I'm more amazed by this A9 than anything else about the 6S.

    The M8 was where your fingerprint data was stored in an encoded form. It also stored your exercise performance, but I think you had to have your GPS turned on...and the GPS is/was a power-hungry monster. While I'm supposing that the M9 still does all that, but now can do the exercising calculating without needing the GPS on.
  • Reply 20 of 37
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,606member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JackANSI View Post

     

    I can't wait to get in front of an audience in a few months and say over the PA: "Hey Siri, call mom" or "Hey Siri, text my wife/girlfriend that I'm leaving to join the circus".




    Quote:
    Originally Posted by luckyjayer View Post

     

    It can be trained to recognize your voice only, according to a french web site.


     

    I watched the keynote on my 6. Every time that Phil Schiller said "Hey Siri", well, you guessed it, Siri on my phone came up awaiting my input. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

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