Siri drives iPhone 4S crazy when it comes to data usage

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    Analysts are unanimous that Siri drives iPhone 4S crazy when it comes to data usage. Having run all kinds of goofy jokes and questions past Siri, now the thrall of the built-in virtual assistant of iPhone 4S by Apple is breaking for its users.

    Siri helps users with providing simple information to users through a voice recognition system. It provides users with information on directions, weather reports, or message dictation, and even all the heavy lifting when asked for it. But unfortunate trits of Siri are now surfacing that are taking the sheen off its awesome replies now.

    It was discovered; (after iPhone 4S users studied their inflated telephone bills) that Siri’s intelligent replies weigh heavy on monthly data caps. Network analyst firm Arieso estimates that Siri users take up twice the bandwidth of a non-4S iPhone owner. This is because Siri provides the information, but leaves a big trash of useless downloaded material behind – at the user’s cost.

    Every time Siri is asked to gather information, be it a forecast, the definition of a word, the quickest route to the mall, the phone streams that data from the network. This data piles up on top of all the apps, songs, and video content being downloaded using your carrier’s network. This has the potential to push one over one’s monthly data limits. Arieso’s data further shows that on average, an iPhone 4S user downloads five times the amount of data as the average BlackBerry user. And iPhone 4S users download almost three times more data than iPhone 3GS owners. Oops, goes Siri!

    And it is not just the phone owners’s pocket that is bearing the brunt of this inefficiency, carrier networks are also straining to keep up. So much so that AT&T is under threat of buckling under the weight of millions of phones using double the data as before. So far it is struggling, but when it gives way, it is not out.

    Not only AT&T, Verizon and Sprint also seem to be handling their iPhone data load without issue — so far. There was just a slight Verizon hiccup in December.

    The Arieso study also revealed that so far Android phones are at the top of the table for uplink data volumes, with HTC Desire S users uploading on average 3.23 times as much data as iPhone 3G users. The iPhone 4S users came just below at 3.20 times more data.

    Arieso’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Flanagan informed that Siri requires an active Internet connection in order to function. He added that “this constant connection to Apple’s servers, including processing Siri requests and keeping iCloud services in sync, is to blame for the increase in data usage”. He further noted that a minority of users account for half of downloaded data.

    These new findings are in sharp contrast to the results of tests performed by ArsTechnica on data usage generated by Siri. Tests of ArsTechnica, unlike those of Arieso, revealed that 11 search queries performed every single day for 30 days over 3G led to an increase of 20MB in data usage. Similarly, those who used Siri less frequently — around four to six times per day — used around 11MB extra in a month, so even if you are on the lowest data plan, using Siri shouldn’t make a significant dent in data usage.