Apple iPhone 4S review
- Faster processor
- 64GB storage
- Still expensive
- No iTunes in the Cloud (yet)
The Apple iPhone 4S Review: Siri
The main talking point of the iPhone 4S, quite literally, is Siri – a voice-controlled in-built app that acts like your own PA. Hold down the home button to launch Siri and then ask it to perform certain tasks. We barked a variety questions and demands, all with varying responses and success rates, which can be seen as follows:
The command “call my wife” resulted in Siri asking who our wife was from our address book. Once confirmed, repeating the same instruction resulted in a call to the wife. 1-0 Siri.
“What is 477 multiplied by the circumference of the moon?” we asked. Siri consulted the Wolfram Alpha engine and presented an accurate and detailed result. It's 6786.03 miles, in case you were wondering. 2-0 Siri.
T3: “Set a reminder to buy some milk tomorrow” Siri: “Calling Simon now” 2-1 Siri
Nevertheless, what makes Siri so clever is how it can maintain a conversation to perform a task. While driving we asked, through our headphone mic,: “what's the weather like in London tomorrow?”, to which Siri dutifully replied. ''Rainy”. We then followed with: “And on Sunday?” and Siri was clever enough to contextualise the conversation and give us a report: “Weather for this Sunday is....Rainy.”
You can also have fun with Siri – asking it things like the meaning of life, the meaning of naughty swear words, why Siri exists, or whether Brian Blessed has the loudest voice in human history. The results can be entertaining. We'll leave you to discover them.
Siri needs at least a 3G connection to operate and we found that Wi-Fi works better. It's presently in beta, so we're expecting some improvement as and when updates are released.
Albeit fascinating and entertaining, we don't think Siri is reason alone to upgrade to a 4S. It's undeniably amazing technology but we just can't see how often people will use it. Asking it to do things like “set the alarm for 6.30am tomorrow morning” will save a few buttons clicks, but most things we asked of it are quicker to do manually. Apart from the moon calculation bit.
If you do decide to form a relationship with Siri, a word of warning: your partner will go mental. Smartphones already come between us and our dearest, so striking up a conversation with a robot rather than talking to your beloved, or Siri being the last person you talk to before falling asleep might just be a step too far in today's society.
Apple iPhone 4S Siri Demo video
The Apple iPhone 4S Review: iCloud
The notion of cloud computing is still a mystery to many and we were pretty skeptical as to how Apple, the maestros of uncomplicated explanation, would decipher this one for the mainstream. But therein lies the genius, you don't have to understand how iCloud works to get it working or benefit from it. You just need to enter your Apple ID and start using your Apple kit.
Mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, bookmarks, notes, are all updated whenever you make a change. It takes the pain out of worrying where things are and gives you time back. We're amazed Apple is giving everyone 5GB of storage free, but think an upgrade (and accompanying annual subscription) will be all but necessary for those with a half decent media collection.
iTunes in the Cloud isn't currently available in the UK so we haven't been able to test music, movie and app syncing.
PhotoStream is a cool feature of iCloud but we found the time between taking a picture on the 4S and it appearing in our iPhoto stream slow. We'll update as to whether this was a case of teething.
Apple iPhone 4S: First look video