Siri, one of the key features of the Apple iPhone 4S, may be getting support for Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Russian languages next month.
According to Chinese information technology website DoNews, Apple is said to be working on a Chinese-language version of Siri and is currently undergoing internal testing. However, the Chinese version will not support other Mandarin dialects such as Cantonese. Japanese and Russian language support are also said to be included in the update that is expected to arrive sometime in March.
When we reviewed the iPhone 4S, a significant drawback of Siri was its limited language support. As Siri currently supports only English (Australia, U.K and U.S), French and German, its functionality is limited to a smaller group of users.
Mandarin Chinese support for Siri is expected given the overwhelming consumer demand for the iPhone 4S in China. The update will fuel more demand for the iPhone 4S in Japan, another key market where it recently gained traction with consumers after failing to crack the Japanese market for many years. Apple has traditionally placed less focus on Russia but its growing economy presents another opportunity to extend its reach.
If the rumor turns out to be true, Apple will be in a better position to compete with Google Android 4.0's voice input engine, which supports a wider range of languages.