iPhone 4S and Siri come to the masses

The iPhone 4s hits Apple stores tomorrow. And if you're one of those people who has a deep relationship with your phone, the 4s feels you. No really. You can talk to it. It understands you. It listens.

So while it may look like your old iPhone, it's different.

Siri, is the new personal assistant that's built into Apple's latest gadget. It uses artificial intelligence to help you get what you want from the world. The reviews are in and they are glowing.

Here's David Pouge from the New York Times;

"Siri is billed as a virtual assistant: a crisply accurate, astonishingly understanding, uncomplaining, voice-commanded minion. No voice training or special syntax is required; you don't even have to hold the phone up to your head. You just hold down the phone's Home button until you hear a double beep, and then speak casually."

Who doesn't want a smart-partner who happily takes care of all those mind-numbing complex details and magically makes problems disappear. My wife, a corporate lawyer with a schedule that makes me tired just looking at it, has been saying for years she needs as wife. The old fashioned kind.

Siri is not quite the iWife my own wife is looking for but it's close. It will check the weather in Tuscon for you, help you find good Thai and remind you to buy some flowers for your mom.

Pouge again:

"It's mind-blowing how inexact your utterances can be. Siri understands everything from, "What's the weather going to be like in Tucson this weekend?" to "Will I need an umbrella tonight?"

It's even more amazing how Siri's responses can actually form a conversation. Once, I tried saying, "Make an appointment with Patrick for Thursday at 3." Siri responded, "Note that you already have an all-day appointment about 'Boston Trip' for this Thursday. Shall I schedule this anyway?" Unbelievable."

Wile reviewers around the country have been playing with Siri no one has had more fun with it than Josh Topolowsky at This is My Next. He's been asking it to help Siri to help hide bodies, score some weed and close the bay doors. Turns out Siri has a sense of humor.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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