Remember how you used to have to hold down the home button to activate voice control or Siri?
Brock Haymond is the developer behind this awesome new Cydia tweak called Hands-Free Control. It allows you to activate voice control or Siri using your voice instead of having hold down the dreaded home button. Once installed, the tweak allows you so say, "Siri." No matter what device you are on (voice control device, or Siri device), saying, "Siri" will activate voice control or Siri. Currently there is no jailbreak for the iPhone 4S yet, but this works on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, also the iPod touch 3G and 4G. There are some settings to configure in this app that will help you control how easily it is activated. The settings not only allow you to control how easily you activate the feature, but they allow you to control system sounds and vibrations (which are invoked when you start voice control/Siri). When the iPhone 4S comes out with a jailbreak, the developer, Brock Haymond, says that this tweak will work for the iPhone 4S automatically as Siri uses some of the same resources as voice control. So once there is a jailbreak for the iPhone 4S you can install this from Cydia and you're good to go. How does it work? The image below shows the app's built-in instructions:
Let's look at some of the settings:
Some of you will probably be worried that this tweak, since it's always in the background listening, might inadvertently pick up commands from the background from words that sound like Siri. Words such as sickly, city, sticky, see, sea, etc. might trick the system into opening voice control or Siri. Because of this, the settings allow you to control how strict or how loose the verification system is. Putting the setting on 'very loose' would mean that it is very easy to accidentally open voice control/Siri, while putting the setting on 'strict' would cause the system to be very picky about how you say what you say. Strict is the setting I prefer because it has the least amount of chance of accidentally misconstruing something that I say. I would recommend strict for when you are in a very quiet place like a classroom because if someone says something that sounds like, "Siri" then you will hear the ping noise along with any commands that it picks up. This can be embarrassing, or worse, get you into trouble. As shown in the left image, you can toggle this feature on or off whenever you think you might use it. So you don't have to worry about it always
running. However, when it is running you will notice a battery percentage drop. This is because Hands-Free Control always working in the background listening for your voice. But, like I said, you can disable it on demand. So if you need your battery you can toggle it off for a while.
Voice activation for Siri is something that a handful of people were asking for on the day of the iPhone 4S launch when they saw how Siri worked. Once the jailbreak comes out for the iPhone 4S you can have this awesome feature. But for now, you can try it out using the iPhone 4's voice control (or any other device that uses it). Hands-Free Control is a tweak that can be downloaded from the BigBoss repo of Cydia for $1.99 (introductory price) it will go up later on. This doesn't install Siri on your iDevice, all it does is allow you to say, "Siri" to activate Siri on an iPhone 4S or voice control on the other devices. You can watch a video demo and read more about Hands-Free Control on the official website: HandsFreeControl
In an email interview with Brock Haymond, I asked a few questions about this tweak and Brock himself:
Anthony: In about a paragraph, would you like to introduce yourself to Modmyi?
Brock: As for myself, I am newly married (as of August!) and a college student at Brigham Young University. I enjoy everything Information Technology and just participated in running my first marathon in June. I enjoy programming, but mostly on a need-by-need basis. I mainly want to contribute to the world around us. I want to help usher in the future and the possibilities technology provides us.
Anthony: What gave you the idea for this tweak?
Brock: I got the idea for the tweak while watching the Apple event the Tuesday before Steve Jobs died. As soon as I saw Siri and watched them demonstrate using it, I started wondering why he kept hitting the button. If everything is all about using your voice, needing to press the button repeatedly is ironic. I actually got online the next day and sent a feature request into Apple (which they never responded to). This is what I sent them:
Upon viewing this week's event and seeing Siri I immediately thought of a suggestion I wanted to pass along, so please pass this along to those who can do something about it!
The main reason I don't use voice activation right now is having to press the home button for 3 seconds. There has to be a way for Apple to leave the microphone on in a low-power standby mode waiting to hear me say "Siri" at any time, at which point the phone can respond "Yes?" I can then speak whatever I wanted it to do for me. I want to be able to activate Siri by saying "Siri"!
Please pass this idea to those who can make a difference, and lets make the world a better place together!
Steve will be sincerely missed, the greatest Gutenberg of our time.
It is funny looking back at what I sent to Apple, as this is exactly what I created. I quickly found I was not the only one who had this idea: Apple Discussions Forum. I realized that Apple might take some time to get around to this, if ever. They might not even believe it was possible with battery considerations. If something needed to be done I was going to need to do it! So I set out on my journey to learn the jailbreak world.
Anthony: What else have you made and/or plan to make in the future?
Brock: I had previously been just an Apple App Store developer with several apps:
Most of these apps were driven out of need, as I simply couldn't find the app I wanted on the App Store. So I made one. I am a runner and ballroom dancer, and created the first three out of need. I created the last out of a school project. The problem is the jailbreak world is quite a bit different from the App Store world, and it took me a little while to catch on.
I persisted and was able to create the product I was desiring with the performance, battery life, and accuracy I knew would be needed. I am still working on improving HFC and hope I can continue to work out bugs, extend battery life, and make it as cross-iOS platform compatible as possible.
Brock Haymond was generous enough to give away 5 copies of Hands-Free Control. Here's how to win:
Follow me @Geop0x
Follow ModMyi @modmyi
Retweet this article with your Cydia number in the tweet – if you do not have the Cydia number in your tweet, you will be disqualified from the drawing. Within the tweet you must also mention @Geop0x so that I can easily see who has entered the drawing. If you don't mention me, you will also be disqualified. The tweet must include, "Win a copy of Hands-Free Control."
Winners will be announced on Friday, November 4.
Good luck to all of you! If you like Hands-Free Control, leave a comment telling us why with your Twitter handle included in the comments to improve your chances of winning!