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Apple Releases Tweaked iOS 5.0.1 Software for iPhone 4S, Makes Siri Porting Legal

iPhone 4S Siri Demo

Apple has been busy rolling out iTunes Match to international customers this week, but it has still found time to push out software updates for the Apple TV and the iPhone 4S — the latter of which makes porting Siri to older iOS devices perfectly legal.

Apple’s new iPhone already received the iOS 5.0.1 update in mid-November, but the Cupertino company has “tweaked” the software and released it again. If you’ve already updated to iOS 5.0.1, you won’t get the new update, but you will if you’re still running iOS 5.0.

So how do we know it’s different? Well, the latest release sports a slightly different build number (9A406 as opposed to (9A405). However, there’s very little difference between the two. It is believed that the software was tweaked simply for a number of new territories which will receive the iPhone 4S for the first time today, but there is a subtle difference in the new release that’s hugely important to those developing Siri ports for older devices.

In previous iOS 5 releases, extracting Siri meant infringing Apple’s copyright, which is, of course, illegal. That means all those Siri ports for the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and the iPod touch that we’ve seen up to this point have been illegal.

However, the latest iOS 5.0.1 release features decrypted ramdisks that make obtaining the Siri files perfectly legal.

MuscleNerd, a prominent member of the jailbreaking community, announced the news on Twitter:

“it’s the first public 4S ipsw where the main filesystem keys are obtainable (due to non-encrypted ramdisks)”

We’re still confused over Apple’s decision to make extracting the Siri files legal. Has the company decided it’s okay for developers to port Siri to older devices, or is this simply a mistake in its latest iOS 5.0.1 firmware as Apple rushed to get it ready for the new iPhone 4S markets? I’m guessing it’s the latter, but I’m sure we’ll find out for certain with the upcoming iOS 5.1 software.

In addition to the iPhone 4S update today, Apple also released software update 4.4.4 for the Apple TV, which features stability and performance improvements.

Do you think Apple will make Siri porting illegal again in iOS 5.1?

[via Cult of Mac]

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...