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Apple hinted at iPhone 4S Siri tech 24 years ago

Apple's Siri - a personal assistant originally launched for the iPhone 3G and now available exclusively for the iPhone 4S - wowed the crowds at the company's press conference, but it's a technology the company has been planning for a while now - 24 years, to be precise.

Back in 1987, Apple staff released a video at the EDUCOM conference extolling the virtues of a product which was - at the time - little more than a pie-in-the-sky concept. Dubbed 'Knowledge Navigator,' it was a touch-screen tablet-style computer featuring a bow-tie wearing digital personal assistant who would respond to voice commands.

Let's go back over that: a touch-screen tablet - like the iPhone 4S or the iPad 2 - with a voice-activated personal assistant - much like Siri, except with the gender flipped. The video even shows what would later become FaceTime.

While it's not surprising that the company predicted the launch of such a technology - after all, science fiction has had us talking to computers and robots for decades - what's ever-so-slightly spooky is how close the concept video came to accurately guessing the launch date.

Viewing the video, you may notice that there is a calendar on display showing that it is set on the 16th of September. While no year is visible, the user - a professor, befitting the video's target audience of education professionals - uses Knowledge Navigator to find a paper from 'about five years ago,' which turns out to be have been published in 2006.

So, we have a video from 1987 showing a touch-screen device featuring a voice-activated personal assistant being used on the 16th of September 2011. The iPhone 4S touch-screen device featuring the voice-activated personal assistant Siri launched last night, on the 4th of October 2011.

For a 24-year old concept video, we'll forgive it for being a month off on the launch date. If you don't believe us, check it out for yourself below. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.