Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

Summary: I wasn't initially impressed with the iPhone 4S, but after giving it some thought I ordered one. Here's why.

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When the new iPhone was announced, like many following the presentation I didn't initially see anything that made me want one. I felt it was a solid evolution of the iPhone line, but not extraordinary enough to make me want to open my wallet.

I have been reading everything I could find about the iPhone 4S since then, and I've watched many video demonstrations on the web. The potential I see in the iPhone 4S made me order one this weekend.

Like many I have spoken to about the new iPhone, I was hoping for a larger display in this model. I tend to like bigger screens on smartphones for doing things like surfing the web, but Apple deemed it better to keep the small display on the iPhone 4S. The inclusion of real 4G (not 3G simply labelled as 4G) would have been nice too, but I would honestly rather have solid 3G than sketchy 4G due to the heavy battery consumption of the latter.

I began considering the iPhone 4S this weekend when writing an article about all of the "me-too" Android phones. Thinking how most phones running Google's OS are similar, it made me want something totally different. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Siri is what I have been craving for my phone.

I have long been an advocate for and user of voice technologies on both phones and computers. I jumped to use the Via Voice program from IBM years ago, and have used every major product to come along since. I have seen voice recognition technology get pretty good on smartphones, but something has been missing that keeps it from realizing what I believe could be its potential. The missing feature is artificial intelligence (AI) to help the technology understand me depending on what I am doing and where.

See also: I want my smartphone to "get" me

I wrote an article that described how I want my smartphone to understand me, and learn how/what I do by watching my routine usage. Researching Siri I realized that it is the basis for what I have wanted for so long. Sure it uses speech recognition to interpret the words spoken into it, but it smartly changes what it thinks based on what I am doing at the time. Better yet, it can figure out what I need based on location, which mimics what humans do in the real world. A simple example from the referenced article:

"My phone always knows where I am due to geolocation, and that can be leveraged to help me. If I get a phone call asking for a meeting across town at a certain time, when I enter it into my schedule on the phone it should warn me if the distance between the existing meeting before or after this one makes it unlikely I can make it. This could save me embarrassment by suggesting I offer a slightly adjusted meeting time for the new event."

Siri will have limits in its initial implementation but I expect it will evolve, and quickly. I foresee Siri eventually being integrated into every aspect of the iPhone and iPad. It will evolve to be a core part of iOS, and third party apps will tap into the AI. There is potential in Siri unprecedented in the mobile space, and I want to be a part of that evolution.

See also: The hurdles to overcome for voice control

I want my smartphone to "get" me, and I believe Siri is the path to turn my phone into an even more productive part of my day than phones have been to date. I want to have the Siri-enabled iPhone surprise me by smartly figuring out a way to better serve me, and to do that by anticipating what I want/need.

I will keep using my Nexus S 4G Android phone, as it is a good handset as good as most currently available. But it is just another Android phone in a big field of them; Siri and the iPhone 4S combined provides a breath of fresh air, and I look forward to using it alongside my Nexus.

What I ordered: a 32GB white iPhone 4S on the Verizon network. I went with Verizon instead of Sprint (with its unlimited data) because Sprint coverage in my area is not very good. Verizon's 3G is very solid and will give me much better bandwidth than that of Sprint. I was also surprised to see that Verizon is including 5-device hotspot service with the 5GB monthly iPhone data plan. That may be true of with iPhone plans on all carriers but I have not seen that mentioned.

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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Telcos

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430 comments
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  • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

    It is so funny to see someone who knows technology ordering iPhone these days, I am greatly disappointed with your choice, for the same money you could have bought Galaxy S II which has far more to offer to an technology aware person
    AdnanPirota
    • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

      @AdnanPirota as someone who gets technology I use an iPhone too. The experience is better than android phones and the features you would expect to work well...work well. Different people have different opinions. I know plenty of people who like their droids and plenty who like their iPhones. I'm glad you like your droid.
      rpi99
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @rpi99 sorry but I don't get it how someone who writes about technology "can fall" for SIRI, I read yesterday about voice recognition on Android and I knew about it but there is no way I am going to use it ... or maybe this is a sponsored article <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
        AdnanPirota
      • You'll never need

        @rpi99 - more than 640K. Get my point?
        People
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @rpi99 There is no personality in having an iPhone, every Tom, Dick and Harry has it, hence its basically a Tom, Dick and Harry's phone... Congratulations on becoming another apple sheep, probably you also drive Toyota Camry, dont you?
        tedmark@...
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @AdnanPirota

        "Fall" for Siri how? I see a lot of Pro-Android people trying to say that "Android has had this for a while, blah blah". Sure, Android has had voice commands ("Actions" or whatever they're called?) but then again so has the iPhone for some time now.

        Looking at just a fraction of the examples of what you can do with Siri, can you do those with Android? Can you speak naturally to it and have it actually perform functions for you? Or do you have to talk to it issuing specific commands?

        From what I've seen of Siri and read about it in articles from those that have actually used it, it goes well beyond simple "voice recognition"
        tk_77
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        ""Fall" for Siri how? I see a lot of Pro-Android people trying to say that "Android has had this for a while, blah blah". Sure, Android has had voice commands ("Actions" or whatever they're called?) but then again so has the iPhone for some time now. "

        LOL Yes you can talk to it in a natural voice (its called google voice search) but just like SIRI you have to have key words in your phrase. I haven't looked in SIRI but I will bet everything I have you have to also have to say certain key words. You can't just say MOBO JUMBO BOOGLY and it "magically" knows that you want to find a bathroom near by. And if Google wanted to act like Apple they should sue them for "stealing" their IP and try to prevent them from importing them to the US.
        piiman
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @rpi99 Let's not forget: nobody who raves about the iPhone 4S has ever touched one. I'd like for someone (a tech journalist) write an article about "did Siri really 'get' me as hoped when I ordered it" after they actually used it for a few weeks.
        Remember when many fans hoped that the Newton would 'get' me and my handwriting? A lot of things don't work as good as they look in promotional videos on the web.

        Ever noticed that when people make a purchase decision that not so clear cut, they like to convince everybody to buy the same? - to justify their decision and feel better about it?
        iash2n
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @rpi99 It is not purely about technology. It is all about user experience.
        fernande-zdnet
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        "LOL Yes you can talk to it in a natural voice (its called google voice search) but just like SIRI you have to have key words in your phrase. I haven't looked in SIRI but I will bet everything I have you have to also have to say certain key words. "<br>@piiman: Wow. So you just admitted that you have no idea how SIRI works but you ASSuME that it works just like Google Voice search? Really?!?!? Siri has a learning engine and learns what "wife" means to you and understand that "home" or "work" in a certain context refers to the geographic zone you setup ahead of time. With Siri, you an tell it to send a message to your "wife" without stating her name and it will know who to send it to. You can setup a reminder with Siri reminding your to do something as you leave your "work" zone.<br><br>I very much doubt that Google Voice search currently has learning, an understanding to tags within a certain context or that Android has geographic zones for criteria for an alert/reminder.
        aristotle_z
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @aristotle_z you sir dont know what you are talking about. For the wife point, you can easily tell android to do that for you. As for the telling the phone to remind you to do something after work , thats really vague , I rather tell my phone remind me something at a specific time then put my hopes on a sketchy technology that it will not fail me. What if it reminds me of that I needed to buy batteries after I pass the store and Im almost home ? with android you can just be like , remind me to buy batteries when im approaching the battery store. I know its a lot more specific but its safer.
        lordsia
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @AdnanPirota Android has voice recognition ... Siri is more of a voice control and voice assistant than just what Android does. There's more intelligence to the voice input that what Android currently offers.
        trollCall
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @tedmark "There is no personality in having an iPhone, every Tom, Dick and Harry has it"

        You choose your phones as fashion statements?
        So YOU'RE the guy that keeps buying all of those stupid skins & cases. Capital "L" for Loser.
        Try a new haircut, or better yet; a quick wit and winning personality. If you think your phone brand makes up for inches down south, or IQ points up north... well, that explains the IQ thing.
        I can just imagine it. You sit down at the club, lay your Droid on the bar, and all the 7+'s come swarming to see the gadget you talk to your mom on. Yeah...
        You get my "dumbest post I've read so far this year" award. (and no, it won't make you more attractive or interesting either)
        deusXmchna@...
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @tedmark@??? you sound like a typical Windows fanboy. Your comment could be turned around on you, Windows is used by Tom, Harry, and Dick, so you must be another Windows sheep. Get it? Why not use your brain and come up with a talking point? While looking at the various offerings I figured out what I want, and chose accordingly. No religion involved, simply based my choice on overall cost.
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @rpi99 As a tech guy how can you not see the iPhone as being limited compared to the Android phone? I'm not even talking about jail-breaking. If you jail break then it's a whole different story. But even then you have a much wider jail breaking community out there for Android than iPhone. We are talking techies here who love to tinker around with their tech.

        iPhone and iOS are meant for the Mobile for Dummies users.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @tk_77 The difference is that on Android it's imbedded into the OS itself, it's not an app the way it is on iOS.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        everyone trying to ague the Siri point just don't have a clue about it. Its not about voice recognition which the iPhone has had for years... the fact that you think there is anything like it on any android device just shows you know nothing about it. Stop trying to assume what it is, or just assume its like something else you've used.
        doh123
      • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

        @rpi99 but in cnet test it's slower,made by plactic, iphone has better camera, better battery life, more aps, and the only thing better galaxy s is bigger screen but less ppi (too big i might say). I use nexus one (the battery sucks - don't tell me to root, i did, it still sucks) and i want 4 s with siri, google voice recognition sucks.
        fz1973
    • RE: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

      @AdnanPirota

      I have a galaxy s II and trust me its not worth it, the os just isn't as well rounded as the iPhone and functionality is a big deal for me so i ordered the new iPhone. whats the point of having better hardware if it doesn't work well with the software, go iPhone don't waste your money on a galaxy.
      jskaine
      • Samsung Galaxy S is so much weaker in many areas than iPhone 4S

        @AdnanPirota:

        LTE provides "5-12 Mbps" download speeds, so iPhone 4S 14 Mpbs is on par with any 4G phone.

        For now, iPhone 4S is times faster in graphics and many times faster in vector/multimedia floating point calculations than any other smartphone currently on sale.

        The camera is by far the best too (with additional lens, with IR filter, with image signal processor, times quicker operation, hardware based/gyroscope video stabilization) among any smartphone (though dedicated cameraphones may compete).

        The display is times more sharp than the likes of Samsung Galaxy S 2, and the battery life is better.

        Siri, Airplay, iCloud, the largest media and applications library.

        And the phone is not a huge brick, still can be used conveniently for actual phone part of "smartphone" concept, and it is not plasticky.
        DDERSSS