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Siri: Apple Announces Voice-Based Virtual Personal Assistant For IPhone 4S

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SIRI
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While most people expected that an iPhone 5 would be the biggest announcement at Tuesday's Apple event, Siri, a voice-recognition app for the new iPhone 4S, stole the show and cleared up any confusion as to why the keynote was called "Let's Talk iPhone."

Siri is a voice-based virtual personal assistant for the new iPhone 4S. Using Siri, an iPhone 4S user can schedule events, set the phone's alarm, create reminders, ask and receive restaurant recommendations and more, all by using her voice.

Apple is billing Siri as "Your intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking," according to pictures from Engadget's live blog of the event.

Siri -- which TechCrunch reports is available exclusively for the iPhone 4S -- is activated by holding the "home" button. The user then asks a question or makes a demand, like "Do I need a raincoat today?" or "Wake me up tomorrow at 6am," and Siri delivers.

Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iPhone Software at Apple, demonstrated Siri by asking both of these things, among others, at Tuesday's event, according to Engadget's live blog.

Siri responded to Forstall's respective questions with "It sure looks like rain today" and "Okay, I set it for 6am."

Forstall also asked Siri "Who are you?" Siri responded, according to Engadget, "I am a humble personal assistant."

So what does Siri soundlike? Peter Kafka at AllThingsD asked just that on Twitter, prompting the New York Times' Nick Bilton to respond, "A female Hal who had too many vodka tonics at the bar."

The New York Times reports that Apple bought Siri, a startup based in San Jose, Calif., in April 2010, for an undisclosed sum. Siri had raised $24 million in funding before the purchase.

According to TechCrunch, Siri supports English, German and French and will be in beta.

It will be available when the new iPhone 4s is released on October 14.

Take a look at the rest of Apple's October 4 announcements, including the iPhone 4S, the new iPods, a new greeting cards app and a new social app.

Take a look at photos of the new iPhone (below).

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