Burning Question

The iPhone 4S: Is Siri a 'life changer'?

Reviewers are dazzled by Apple's new voice-controlled virtual assistant

Tech journalists have giddily been playing with the iPhone 4S, and the reviews are in. Many give praise-laden shout-outs to Siri, the iPhone's new voice-controlled personal assistant. Among other things, you can tell Siri to add items to your calendar or to-do list, find restaurants nearby, or call one of your contacts. Is Siri revolutionary?

Yes. Siri is incredible: "Siri on the iPhone is a life changer, and this is only the beginning," says Brian X. Chen at Wired. Voice-powered interfaces are the future. I told Siri I was drunk, and it asked if it could call a cab. Sure, Siri has its limits (like not being able to create new contacts or understand your every whim), but "the list of what Siri can already do is quite long, and this is a great start… It's kind of like having the unpaid intern of my dreams at my beck and call, organizing my life for me.""With Siri, the iPhone finds its voice"

It's definitely a game changer: Pre-Siri, the iPhone's operating system "struck me [as] being designed to make it easy for us to do things," says John Gruber at Daring Fireball. Siri, on the other hand, "is designed to do things for us." Now if you want something, "you're just, well, talking to your phone." It's a completely different experience, and it will be interesting to see if and how Siri is opened up to work with third-party apps. In the meantime, "I wouldn't say I can't live without Siri. But I can say that I don't want to.""The iPhone 4S"

It's compelling — but imperfect: Siri "is probably one of the most novel applications the company has ever produced," says Joshua Topolsky at This Is My Next. But it's still got issues. It can find nearby theaters, for instance, but it can't buy you a ticket or tell you a showtime. Such shortcomings make Siri "frustrating at times." Still, you've got to admit that "it already feels like something straight out of science fiction.""iPhone 4S review"

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