Apple’s new iPhone 4S offers “speech recognition. Crazy good, transformative, category-redefining speech recognition,” David Pogue reports for 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,” Pogue reports. “You can say, ‘Wake me up at 7:35,’ or ‘Change my 7:35 alarm to 8.’ You can say, ‘What’s Gary’s work number?’ Or, ‘How do I get to the airport?’ Or, ‘Any good Thai restaurants around here?’ Or, ‘Make a note to rent ‘Ishtar’ this weekend.’ Or, ‘How many days until Valentine’s Day?’ Or, ‘Play some Beatles.’ Or, ‘When was Abraham Lincoln born?'”

Pogue reports, “In each case, Siri thinks for a few seconds, displays a beautifully formatted response and speaks in a calm female voice. It’s mind-blowing how inexact your utterances can be… 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.”

Read more in the full review here.

Related articles:
USA Today’s Baig reviews iPhone 4S: Apple takes world’s finest smartphone to even loftier heights – October 12, 2011
WSJ’s Walt Mossberg reviews Apple iPhone 4S: Siri artificial-intelligence has to be tried to be believed – October 12, 2011