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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.

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