NY Times’ Pogue reviews Apple iPhone 4S: Conceals sheer, mind-blowing magic

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


  1. ‘Ishtar’? I’m surprised Siri didn’t gripe about that choice.

    Siri: I cannot find that movie, David.
    Pogue: What? It’s got to be in there somewhere? Try Rotten Tomatoes.
    Siri: Actually, I was trying to avoid the movie altogether. It’s in your best interest. Your time would be better spent stuck in traffic.
    Pogue: Fine. Map me a route to an Apple Store on October 14th.
    Siri: Done.

  2. I don’t know what’s worse. Worrying about the long lines at Apple stores with a possibility of walking away empty-handed
    having already ordered the 4S with expected delivery in 2 days while AT&T’s order status shows it hasn’t even been shipped and having to hear others rejoice at how great their new iPhone is.

    Just a little jealous is all…………

  3. I am astounded just how few have seen the impact of this. The saddest thing for SJ must have been that he left the World as stupid as he found it despite all his great work to make people think different.

      1. LOL exactly right. Maybe that could be motivating though. I’ve heard stories about Steve exploding and yelling at folks but I’ve heard he could be just as imposing and “motivating” when speaking calmly and evenly.

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