iPhone 4S 'doubles' data usage ... but is Siri really to blame?

There are other factors at play here.

According to a report by Arieso, an advisory service for mobile operators in the US, Europe and Africa, iPhone 4S users consume nearly twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, and nearly three times as much as the iPhone 3GS users. Is Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant, to blame?

According to Arieso, the answer is yes. But I'm not so convinced.

For starters, Siri's not really that heavy as far as data goes. As testing has shown (and this is backed up by data I've collected from Siri users), doing ten or so queries a day over 30-day period (while out of WiFi coverage, obviously) will consume some 20MB.

Hardly an earth-shattering amount of data.

I think that there are other factors at play here. For example:

  • New toy syndrome - People buy a new toy, they want to play with it.
  • Faster - The 4S is faster than then older handsets thanks to the A5 dual-core CPU. Faster means people get more done. Getting more done when out of WiFi and in 3G coverage means more data usage.
  • Better antenna - More 3G in more places.
  • Higher megapixel camera - more megapixels means that any images sent over 3G will consume more data than the lower-resolution images from the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.
  • iTunes Match - This this is a feature of iOS 5 and not confined to the iPhone 4S, it's a selling point for the 4S, and more consumers might be aware of the fact that they can stream music from the cloud.
  • iCloud - Again, a feature of iOS 5, but it's another selling point of the 4S. Consumer will be more aware of the feature.

So, while Siri is undoubtedly contributing to greater data usage levels, I don't think that we can blame it all on Siri. There are plenty of other features on the 4S and gobble up data.


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