Two weeks ago, Paris-based research firm, Applidium — part of the esteemed FaberNovel group — surprised everybody by announcing that they had hacked Siri, the iPhone 4S’s voice-recognition personal assistant. On November 14, they posted a lengthy blog post, in French and English, detailing (and I mean detailing) the efforts that went behind the reverse engineering hack. The announced:
“As soon as we could put our hands on the new iPhone 4S, we decided to have a sneak peek at how it really works. Today, we managed to crack open Siri’s protocol. As a result, we are able to use Siri’s recognition engine from any device. Yes, that means anyone could now write an Android app that uses the real Siri! Or use Siri on an iPad!” (source)
Additionally, they provided documentation as well as step-by-step directions for any ambitious developer who wanted to build on what they’d done.
Forbes picked up on the story, and they agreed on the significance what Applidium had done.
The news spread across the developer and Android communities. Hackers worldwide went to work. Some notable applications include the integration of Siri with a home thermostat, turning Siri into a smart remote control, and using Siri to start and lock a car.
CNET reported that Applidium had more tricks up their sleeve. “Applidium is working on its crack tools for adding Siri to other devices… Staying tuned to the Applidium blog will likely be the best way to see when these tools are available.”
But then the Applidium blog went silent. For at least several days, Applidium’s website has been scrubbed clean of any reference to the Siri hack. A link from a November 14 tweet is redirected to a generic company news page, where the most recent story is from March 3, 2011.
When we reached out to FaberNovel’s founder and CEO, Stéphane Distinguin, he declined to comment.
It also seems relevant to point out that neither TechCruch France or FrenchWeb covered the story at all. The most notable mention we could find in France was on the blog, Korben.
Our Conspiracy Theory…
So what gives? This is a pretty cool achievement for a prominent French firm. Why are they backing off? Why doesn’t the French press seem to care?
Our guess is that Apple came down hard on FaberNovel. And that after the guys at Applidium got an earful from their bosses. And finally, their friends in the French media were asked not to push the story any further. But no matter what, the silence is a shame.