The new iPhone 4S where the “S” most definitely stands for “Siri”!

I wrote an article a few months ago asking whether or not it was worth upgrading your phone to the brand new, just released iPhone 4S. So, the short answer: YES. For the long answer with more details, keep reading……

The great thing about AT&T is if you have a few lines on your account and at least two iPhone data plans with unlimited texting, the telecommunications company will give the primary account holder the sweetest upgrade eligibility pricing after only a year, or at least when a new iPhone model ships. This had been the case for me for all new iPhone releases since the iPhone 3G debuted back in July 2008. So without much hesitancy I preordered my black 32GB iPhone 4S on the first day they began accepting orders online and the phone arrived in my hands a week later. What an awesome feeling — to have the brand new iPhone the day it went on sale WITHOUT having to stand in line for hours, as was the case for previous iPhone releases!

I’ve had over a two months to get used to it. The reason why I said “get used to it” was because this is the first iPhone, or even, the first device that I’ve used where I can input appointments, notes, reminders and search for information by using just my voice. Don’t underestimate what a big deal this is!  This feature alone is worth every penny of the upgrade.

This input method is not just strictly a handful of predetermined voice commands, it is artificial intelligence that is driving those services that allows you to interact with your own personal assistant, Siri, in a natural way as you would when talking to another human being.That’s what sets it apart from all other voice input devices currently out there. To just be able to talk to your phone and tell it to remind you to take care of a task at a certain time or at a certain location or telling it to send a text message to your wife or dictate an email without even having to press any keys is just plain awesome!

I couldn’t tell you how many texts or emails I did not send or how many appointments or tasks I didn’t put into my calendar or “todo” apps because I was driving at the time. All I do now is activate Siri with the touch of a button (on my bluetooth, handsfree headset) and many tasks can be handled by just talking to you personal assistant as you would to an actual person. Siri listens, interprets the meaning behind the words and takes appropriate action to attend to your wants or needs. Very cool! It will even remember relationships. For example, you can tell Siri who your wife is and then ask Siri to call or text your wife and Siri will do so. This worked a few times for me, however, on most occasions, Siri either couldn’t find my wife’s contact information or she forgets who my wife is (she’s probably jealous). I anticipate Apple will be working to address those issues, amongst many others, as Siri is still a Beta product, meaning it still needs some work before Apple declares that its ready for primetime.

My personal experience using Siri leaves me incredibly impressed at what I can now do with my phone without having to look at it, much less remove it from my pocket. For all of Siri’s current functions, check out this page.

Siri isn’t perfect, she may not be able to catch everything you say, exactly how you say it, but that should improve with time. Also, there are some things that she can’t do, or doesn’t know how to do….yet. Apple has released Siri on the iPhone 4S in Beta, so we’ll all have to stay tuned to see it get more in tune with what we need it to do and hope Apple will allow this technology to be accessible to third party app developers and then we’ll really see the future unfold before our very eyes.

I wanted to add a few additional thoughts regarding the iPhone 4S processor speed and battery life. The overall speed difference between the iPhone 4 and 4S is not that noticeable, unless you’re playing graphically intense games such as Infinity Blade. However, the increased speed enhancements shine if you’re upgrading from the iPhone 3G or 3GS. The battery, for me at least, holds out throughout my workday, I haven’t had any major battery drains as described in numerous online publications. However, it seems as though the iPhone 4S will drain the battery slightly faster that the iPhone 4 even with the 5.0.1 software update. Apple does state that its battery life increased by an hour of 3G talk time, yet decreased from 300 to 200 hours of standby time. This may be due to the additional power that the new dual core A5 chip and Siri use as well as other services that operate in the background such as iCloud.


Overall, I believe that Apple has differentiated its offering once again, with the iPhone 4S as it brings elegant, easy to use and futuristic features to everyone as it has numerous times in the past. They keep reaching for the stars blending “technology with liberal arts”, as Steve Jobs used to say and, at the end of the day, continue to change our world for the better.

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