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Siri: The Data-Hungry Personal Assistant

By (view all posts by benjamindsearle)
at 8:57AM Monday January 9, 2012
under Newsworthy

The iPhone 4S comes with one of the most revolutionary features we've seen on a phone yet: Siri. For those of you who haven't seen the commercials yet, and have managed to avoid the hype, Siri is a sort of personal assistant within your phone. You can talk to your iPhone in natural language, and Siri is the program that sorts out what exactly it is that you're asking for and tries to get it for you.

Siri, by all reports, is really quite smart and constitutes a good reason to upgrade from your older iPhone all by herself. You can set appointments, send emails and texts, find local businesses, most anything that a personal assistant who happened to be a person can do. 

Siri works by sending your voice data back to dedicated servers run by Apple, so that the server can sort out what you're asking, and what you meant to ask for. Then they send data back to your phone, so that Siri can talk to you and let you know what she's up to.

The cost of having Siri, other than having to upgrade to an iPhone 4S, has been revealed in a recent study by Arieso. People who own the iPhone 4S and use Siri regularly are consuming twice as much data as people who don't. Let that sink in for a moment. 

Most cellular providers have set up their data usage rules to enable the majority of their users without costing the company too much. So if you have a plan that meters your data usage and charges you for overages, you are going to want to watch out. Data overages are one of the more expensive charges that you can run up with a cellular provider, and you want to make sure that you have the overhead to be able to use the amazing features of Siri without costing yourself an arm and a leg.

If you have a grandfathered plan that has truly unlimited data, then you're in good shape as it is. However, if you have one of the more recent tiered plans that the carriers offer, get to know your online services. Know how much data you can really use without charges or slowdown, and make sure that you aren't going to go over. Once you have that peace of mind, you can upgrade your iPhone with some extra peace of mind, and without costing yourself an arm and a leg in overage charges that you simply weren't expecting.

Have you used Siri?  What do you think of the service?