There is undoubtedly one feature that stands out on the new iPhone 4S and this is the new voice activated personal assistant named Siri. This new feature looks set to revolutionise how we use our mobile handsets. Here we take an in depth look at Siri and how it works.
In theory the idea that you can talk to your mobile phone and instruct it to do a variety of tasks is great. We have experienced this type of system before however and they have never proved successful for a number of reasons, the main one being the software's inability to accurately analyse what you are saying and provide you with the desired response. Siri is undoubtedly the best voice recognition system to date and 99% of the time responds to your input correctly. There are two main ways in which the system can be used. The first of these is to answer a question no matter how obscure it sounds. When you ask the question to the phone it searches the web to provide you with the response you require. This may have practical uses such as finding out the weather at a destination to which you are heading or it can prove a fun way to pass the time and impress your friends. The other use of this service is to ask the phone to perform a certain task. Nearly every function of the phone can be used with Siri so you can compose a text message or ask the phone to schedule a meeting into your calendar.
In practice the Siri platform on the iPhone 4Sworks very well. As a test we asked the phone to send a quick email to various contacts in our address book. We tried this and the text content within the message was very accurate although on one occasion Siri did not correctly recognise one of the names we asked for. Considering the complexity of the task we generally found the results excellent and can see how this platform could benefit the everyday use of the phone. The one question that remains is how likely are you to use voice commands in everyday circumstances? There are obvious advantages when it comes to directions if you are driving a car and the feature may also be useful for office based environments. Whether we will see members of the public walking around dictating instructions to their iPhone 4S however remains to be seen.
Siri is without question the most intriguing feature of the new iPhone 4S and is certainly the best example of a voice recognition system to date. It is doubtful whether the public will use the feature to its full potential but there are certainly some areas where the hands free approach has a real advantage.
The iPhone 4S and the HTC Explorer are available now.