Since launching with the iPhone 4S in October, Apple's new voice-controlled personal assistant feature called Siri has been enamoured of Apple fans, mocked by others and been found to have a few humorous Easter eggs built in.
As cool as Siri seemed to many at launch, like so many things, it's true potential wasn't really unlocked until a crafty developer got his hands on it and started tinkering. Pete Lamonica managed to create a hack called SiriProxy that allowed him to control his thermostat using only his voice (more on that below). He set up a proxy server and posted his code on GitHub so that more developers could take advantage of it and push the limits of what Siri can do. And indeed they have.
1. Turn Up (or Down) The Thermostat
The first Siri hack to gain considerable attention was Lamonica's voice-controlled thermostat. He set up a proxy server to trick Siri into thinking it's communicating with Apple's servers and wrote some custom handlers for actions related to controlling his WiFi-enabled thermostat. In a video posted online, Lamonica successfully gets Siri to tell him the current temperature and even bump it up a few degrees.
2. Start, Stop and Lock Your Car
After Lamonica's thermostat hack made the rounds, another developer used a similar approach to tap into his car's computerized control system, which allowed him to start and stop the car, as well as lock the doors and set the car alarm. Like the thermostat example, this hack will only work with a car that has such a system to tapped into. In this case, he's using the Viper SmartStart app for iPhone, which requires an in-car installation to work.
3. Watch Seinfeld (Or Anything Else on Your TV
In a possible foreshadowing of Apple products to come, another developer was able to commandeer Siri to find and play video content on Plex media center software. The result is a scenario right out of Back to the Future 2. Simply ask Siri to play the most recent episode of The Simpsons, and almost instantaneously the opening credits will begin.
4. Have Siri Read You the Latest Headlines
For news junkies who aren't in a position to stare at their phone (for example, while driving), one hack will read back headlines from a given RSS feed. All you have to do is ask. A developer known as @JailbreakMatrix, who also wrote a hack that lets Siri control iTunes playback, posted a video online showing Siri read back Endgadget headlines.
5. Dim the Lights and Close the Curtains
Pretty much any household item that can be connected to the Internet can theoretically be controlled by Siri. Thankfully, that list is growing. In one recent hack, a developer was able to get Siri to close his curtains, dim two different lights and turn on his ceiling fan. This tweak utilized an iPhone app written by the developer that could control various household items. He just simply built a bridge between the app and Siri, enabling futuristic voice-control of the room around him.