Detailed within a post on Apple enthusiast site 9to5Mac, a new addition to the code within the iOS 7.1 software development kit means that Siri voice control will be headed to a new version of the Apple TV set-top box. Basically requiring a microphone built into the remote control, the voice control function would likely mirror Amazon’s recent inclusion of voice search within the Fire TV user interface. However, Apple has had much longer period of time to develop Siri over the last few years, thus the implementation would likely be more advanced than just simple voice search.
Mobile developer Pierre Blazquez first spotted the addition to the code. Within the code, Apple developers refer to Siri as “assistant” and there are two line items that show “assistant” support for both the iPhone and iPad. However, a third line item was added in iOS 7.1 and the numeric indicator of that line correlates to the Apple TV. This is the same numeric indicator that’s used Apple TV applications and has been present in the software ever since Apple shifted to a version of iOS on the Apple TV.
Of course, the current generation of the Apple TV doesn’t include microphone support within the remote control or the set-top box. It’s highly unlikely that the iOS update will include that Siri feature for the current generation of Apple TV devices. However, many Apple TV owners are likely interested in upgrading since Apple hasn’t released a new model in the last two years. In addition, companies like Roku and Amazon have released faster hardware over the last 18 months, thus gaining a competitive advantage over the slower Apple TV hardware.
Previous reports have indicated that a new Apple TV set-top box is on track for the first half of 2014. Possible upgrades would include a speed bump to the A6 chip in the iPhone 5 or the A7 chip in the iPhone 5S, more RAM to handle advanced games and 4K video support for the future beyond 1080p televisions.