Feeds
90%
Apple iPhone 4s smartphone

Apple iPhone 4S

Enough of an upgrade?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Vocal performance

Much has been made of Siri, the new key feature launched with the iPhone 4S. It’s not the first voice-recognition application but just as FaceTime was far from the first video calling application, Apple aims to provide the best voice interface. Siri was available in the US App Store already, but those servers no longer respond if you launch that app now. Apple liked the company so much, it bought it, as Victor Kiam used to say.

Apple iPhone 4s smartphone

Siri originally appeared on the App Store until Apple acquired it

So does it work, and do you need it? Well, it mostly works pretty well. Its microphone does best in quiet environments and worst when it’s noisy or you’re trying to show it off to someone. Then it fails to understand what you’ve said.

In the UK, it’s limited for now because mapping and business data doesn’t extend beyond the States, though this will follow. So you can’t ask directions or distances between places as you can in America. Switching to US English and adopting your best accent works splendidly… but only if you’re in the US at the time.

Apple iPhone 4s smartphoneApple iPhone 4s smartphone

Voice commands can be executed for any number of tasks

It can still do a lot. Say “Text my wife” and it will. First time, of course, you have to tell it which of your contacts is your wife – come on, it’s not psychic – but then it’ll remember. Then dictate your message and it’ll send it. Ask it to remind you to pick up the milk when you leave the office and it’ll use the phone’s location information from GPS and Wi-Fi to ping you a reminder as you walk out the door.

Siri is integrated throughout the phone’s features, and third parties can build functionality into their apps, so its potential may grow quickly. Sometimes it’s quicker to type a message, but for hands-free use when driving, say, it’s decidedly useful. Especially since you can talk to it very freely. Ask if it’s chilly tomorrow and it knows to seek out weather information and comment on whether tomorrow’s temperature qualifies as warm or cold.

Apple iPhone 4s smartphone

The iPhone 5 could be some way off, so it's make your mind up time

Or ask it for share values and you can follow up asking it to compare two stocks. It’s highly sophisticated and though at times it seems to be a glorious, cool gimmick, this will change. One thing that hasn't changed though, is that the iPhone still doesn't offer an FM radio – something that appears on just about all competing smartphones. However, there are options to remedy this absence on iPhones.

Verdict

RH Recommended Medal

So should you buy an iPhone 4S? For 3GS users, the answer is an emphatic yes. It’s less clear-cut for iPhone 4 owners, especially if you have a contract to buy your way out of. But if you suffered from poor call quality before, the 4S will restore your faith in the iPhone. Even if you didn’t, the upgraded performance and coolness of Siri and the improved camera are pretty compelling.

If you’re wary of buying the 4S in the belief that a radically different iPhone is on the horizon, the fact is, beyond Infinite Loop, nobody knows – and really, don’t believe anyone who claims otherwise. But my money is on the iPhone 4S not being superseded until next July at the earliest, or even a year from now. In which case, why wait? ®

More Smartphone Reviews

Sony Ericsson
Xperia Arc
RIM
BlackBerry
Torch 9810
Ten… Androids
to outshine
the iPhone 4S
HP
Pre 3
HTC
Sensation

Website security in corporate America

90%
Apple iPhone 4s smartphone

Apple iPhone 4S

Apple's new talker looks the same on the outside, but its dual-core CPU delivers significant changes in capabilities.
Price: £499 (16GB), £599 (32GB), £699 (64GB) RRP

More from The Register

next story
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate
Belay that toil, me hearty, and park your scurvy backside
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.