Report: Siri causing iPhone 4S connection issues

Of all of the new hardware and software features in Apple's iPhone 4S, the Siri voice recognition software has been singled out by both reviewers and owners of the phone as its most impressive new feature. Being able to speak into a phone for directions to a restaurant, checking the weather forecast and even telling Siri "Thank you" results (well, a lot of the time) in intelligent, and often funny, responses from the software's soothing female voice.

Now Reuters reports that Siri is so popular that its users may be overwhelming the online connections needed for the software to work. Apple's online support message board has a number of posts from iPhone 4S users complaining of connection issues while using Siri. It's more than likely that Apple's servers have been hit hard by the over four million current owners of the smartphone who bought the device this weekend. All of them might trying out Siri for the first time and as a result Apple's servers can't quite handle the strain at times. Twitter user "thebrowncoat" posted a message that said, "Apple may have sold 4 mil iPhone 4S's, but I think they may need some extra servers for Siri. Getting constant 'unable to connect' errors."

So far Apple has yet to respond officially on any connection problems iPhone 4S might be having with Siri. However, the software is a first generation product and we suspect that Apple will be offering updates to the software in the future along with more servers to handle the increased demand.

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LOL...can't even handle 4M people? What happens when 25M have the phone by XMAS or very soon after.
Oh wait its a beta. LOL. I thought Siri was suppose to stop working on the 15th or something. LOL.

Hey anyone with Speak To It on Android which has over 50M users having any issues?
This is what happens when you rush to make junk.

TechieXP said,
Hey anyone with Speak To It on Android which has over 50M users having any issues?
Where the hell did you pull that 50M number from? The Android market has Speaktoit as having 100k - 500k users.

I've had it not be able to connect a few times, but that's been the rare exception rather than the norm. I imagine they'll either put in more servers (or already have) or the load will just equalize after a little while.

Elliott said,
I've had it not be able to connect a few times, but that's been the rare exception rather than the norm. I imagine they'll either put in more servers (or already have) or the load will just equalize after a little while.

Currently Apple has to deal with the wow and novelty factor of Siri. Everyone is asking it questions just for the sake of playing with it. Once it loses its novelty, and Apple figures out exactly how many servers they need to handle the load, I'm sure it'll be smooth sailing.

I wonder why everyone is crasy about Siri now. Siri existed for some time as an app and nobody gave a damn.
Then Apple buys the company, shuts down the app (that ran on all iPhones, not just iPhone 4S) and glues it to the iPhone 4S to boost sales. And now everyone is like "revolution", "new", "innovation". WTF, guys?

RealFduch said,
I wonder why everyone is crasy about Siri now. Siri existed for some time as an app and nobody gave a damn.
Then Apple buys the company, shuts down the app (that ran on all iPhones, not just iPhone 4S) and glues it to the iPhone 4S to boost sales. And now everyone is like "revolution", "new", "innovation". WTF, guys?

add one more tag, "BETA" please

well besides being polished and integrated into the phone (such as read me the text message I just got, or play this song, etc) and you can do it all without even holding the phone in your hands. Revolution? no, Innovation, no, New, sure... even the app isn't that old. Better? Hell yeah!

RealFduch said,
And now everyone is like "revolution", "new", "innovation". WTF, guys?

Everyone is saying that are they? No-one commenting on this article used those words (apart from you and others quoting you) and neither does Apple on iPhone 4S' webpage. I've probably seen the anti-Apple parade use those buzzwords more than Apple's marketing team.

Glad MS put voice on XBOX before an I-Tards (sorry but had to use that, too funny) could claim it was their idea. Ours is called Bing Search is also Wolfram Alfa capable and will be fully integrated into the phone experience when it's ready. And it won't be because I-SIRI did it first. It will be because we have been doing this stuff all along and it is the natural progression of technology. Uh, anyone see 2001 a Space Odyssey like 33 years ago. I serious.

"iDon't" think anyone is saying this was Apple's idea, or that they were the first. But go ahead and think so anyway if it makes you feel better about yourself

Apple Website says its a "BETA" product..

So why make a news about its problem, rather should not you make a news as why Apple put a BETA software in mainstream ???

Choto Cheeta said,
Apple Website says its a "BETA" product..

So why make a news about its problem, rather should not you make a news as why Apple put a BETA software in mainstream ???

why did apple? because they knew it would push sales, money over completness

neufuse said,
why did apple? because they knew it would push sales, money over completness

According to software life cycle, "beta" product is given to only those who voluntarily accepts the software with understanding of potential risks involving to it.

I dont see any such warring is apple website about the product.

Is not it violation of code of conduct ??

not to change the subject, but how much bandwidth does Siri even use? it seems like it could potentially be a data hog if its sending voice back to a server via the internet

neufuse said,
not to change the subject, but how much bandwidth does Siri even use? it seems like it could potentially be a data hog if its sending voice back to a server via the internet

One more ways for the caries to rob us with HUGE bills..

neufuse said,
not to change the subject, but how much bandwidth does Siri even use? it seems like it could potentially be a data hog if its sending voice back to a server via the internet
It only uses a few KBs of data. It's not sending full recordings. It only sends the waveform data it needs to analyze your voice (like most modern voice recognition software).

I'm bilingual but I'm french canadian and I have an accent. My WP7 is rubbish when it comes to recognizing my voice. It always puts nonesense results. Even when I put the OS in french it doesn't understand a damn word

I say the technology is not advanced enough on any platform to make it valuable enough. That and the fact that I refuse to give orders to my phone in public. Forever alone.

The only time I use voice recognition software is in my car when telling it to call someone. VW's system is very accurate at it.

If the CPU is dual core and what 1g h? why not have built in voice recognition software without the use of sending to servers??

McCafe said,
If the CPU is dual core and what 1g h? why not have built in voice recognition software without the use of sending to servers??

Because the voice recognition software would have to be updated constantly on the clients side. Server side makes things alot more "transparent" to the user.

McCafe said,
If the CPU is dual core and what 1g h? why not have built in voice recognition software without the use of sending to servers??

Otherwise why would careers keep a tie up with maker unless there is a way for them to earn

I agree with many of the comments where. Siri like apps have existed years ago. What makes Siri so special?

htcz said,
I agree with many of the comments where. Siri like apps have existed years ago. What makes Siri so special?

Mainstream.... It's on a lot of phones that are hot. Now I am well aware that these voice to command apps have been out ages and having tried Siri is isn't perfect but news is made by those who shout loudest and older tech didn't should loud enough.

Iridium said,

Wow you must be stupid. Why would you use your brain to ask a logical question like that. Apple has or will invent everything in the tech world. You are merely suffering from delusions.

There is no reason to insult me. I know that Apple "invented" (note the " ") everything and because of that it is the "best" (note the " " again) but I want to know reasons from users why Siri is better than other products on other devices.

htcz said,

I want to know reasons from users why Siri is better than other products on other devices.

The most obvious question is "how is Siri better than Siri (app)"?

Depicus said,

Mainstream.... It's on a lot of phones that are hot. Now I am well aware that these voice to command apps have been out ages and having tried Siri is isn't perfect but news is made by those who shout loudest and older tech didn't should loud enough.

Putting a BETA software in mainstream, that too without any warring or hazard message..

that makes siri so special

Because you can ask a question in different ways and still get an answer. Its not about learning how to speak to Siri, its speaking exactly the way you do and it will understand you. That makes it "special" to me.

I was kidding bud. Im just saying asking a question like that is probably not going to get you logical responses from alot of Apple fans. Sirri is not better than the other voice recognition systems that are out there. Microsoft has been at the forefont of this technology for a number of years now, but like it was mentioned before is that no marketing for that seems to have reached customers until Apple got its hand on similar tech. In todays world fact means little versus perception. Apple is using this marketing strategy very well by simply suggesting the tech is revoltionary. I dont believe they have ever placed context on these statements so they are no lying, simply manipulating.

htcz said,
I agree with many of the comments where. Siri like apps have existed years ago. What makes Siri so special?
Natural language recognition and context awareness.

Elliott said,
Natural language recognition and context awareness.

Aka more Apple spin. I was looking at siri on youtube and it just seems to do alot more talking than say the speech system on android. It uses gimicky responses to seem all futuristic like.

RealFduch said,

The most obvious question is "how is Siri better than Siri (app)"?

The obvious answer is that it's now fully integrated into iOS. (Similar to how Twitter integration into the OS is better than a separate app.)

Iridium said,
Aka more Apple spin. I was looking at siri on youtube and it just seems to do alot more talking than say the speech system on android. It uses gimicky responses to seem all futuristic like.
What I said has nothing to do with Siri's "gimmicky responses."

been using e71 for years and i use vlingo which works almost identical to siri. I know how siri never got any attention as a software till apple buy it and restrict the app from iphone 4 n 3gs. Now everyone is singing with the koolaid in their hands how siri is a feature. When i upgrade january it will be nothing but nokia with a mango.
My elder brother spent thousands to buy mba now he ask me to buy a windows 7 disk and send it to him. Most people just think apple is superb cause of the way their itards treat their idevices and the news media too.

"signaled out"? As humorous as it is to say it that way considering what this article pertains to, it's obviously suppose to say "singled out".

"Of all of the new hardware and software features in Apple's iPhone 4S, the Siri voice recognition software has been signaled out by both reviewers and owners of the phone as its most impressive new feature."

The 4S has other new features?

Unplugged said,
"Of all of the new hardware and software features in Apple's iPhone 4S, the Siri voice recognition software has been signaled out by both reviewers and owners of the phone as its most impressive new feature."

The 4S has other new features?

Oddly the WP7 Mango update, even when it makes news, gets very littler coverage of the voice technology and the full handsfree voice interaction capabilities that is still ahead of iOS and Android in base functionality.

Voice texting on WP7 is probably one of its best features.

Yet the world is talking about the iPhone that JUST NOW got any credible voice features, which ironically are just an 'App' with similar Apps on Android and WP7.

Microsoft even had the TellMe voice server functionality on Windows Mobile and via their 800 number voice servers going back to 4 or 5 years, even existing before Google's voice to server processing came online.

The 'ask me questions/tell me to do stuff' type of Voice Apps have been on Windows Mobile since around 2003/2004, and Android has had several for over a year or more now.

When the iPhone launched without any voice dialing and other features found in 'free' non-smartphones, Apple fans explained that with a pretty touch screen, there was no need for voice recognition/interaction. When Apple finally buys a company that gives them this feature, it is now the most brilliant thing ever and Apple invented it mentality.

*gag*

thenetavenger said,

Oddly the WP7 Mango update, even when it makes news, gets very littler coverage of the voice technology and the full handsfree voice interaction capabilities that is still ahead of iOS and Android in base functionality.

Voice texting on WP7 is probably one of its best features.

Yet the world is talking about the iPhone that JUST NOW got any credible voice features, which ironically are just an 'App' with similar Apps on Android and WP7.

Microsoft even had the TellMe voice server functionality on Windows Mobile and via their 800 number voice servers going back to 4 or 5 years, even existing before Google's voice to server processing came online.

The 'ask me questions/tell me to do stuff' type of Voice Apps have been on Windows Mobile since around 2003/2004, and Android has had several for over a year or more now.

When the iPhone launched without any voice dialing and other features found in 'free' non-smartphones, Apple fans explained that with a pretty touch screen, there was no need for voice recognition/interaction. When Apple finally buys a company that gives them this feature, it is now the most brilliant thing ever and Apple invented it mentality.

*gag*

Dawwww. Is no-one paying attention to your phone? Come on, let it out. There's a good boy.

Mark Thomas said,

Dawwww. Is no-one paying attention to your phone? Come on, let it out. There's a good boy.

He's just stating the obvious, go take fanboy pot shots at others

thenetavenger said,

Oddly the WP7 Mango update, even when it makes news, gets very littler coverage of the voice technology and the full handsfree voice interaction capabilities that is still ahead of iOS and Android in base functionality.

How exactly is it ahead?

thenetavenger said,

Voice texting on WP7 is probably one of its best features.


Why is that better than Siri's voice texting?

thenetavenger said,

Yet the world is talking about the iPhone that JUST NOW got any credible voice features, which ironically are just an 'App' with similar Apps on Android and WP7.


Siri is not an app, it's heavily built into the OS and can be called physically and from the keyboard.

Even though the world as you say might not be all talking about mango there's a been quite a lot of coverage and given MS's market share in the smartphone space these days there's a lot less people interested in MS's activities.

As for your point about voice now being the cool thing with ios, basic voice has been in there for a while. This is a significant enhancement over that hence the interest.

thenetavenger said,

Oddly the WP7 Mango update, even when it makes news, gets very littler coverage of the voice technology and the full handsfree voice interaction capabilities that is still ahead of iOS and Android in base functionality.

Voice texting on WP7 is probably one of its best features.

Yet the world is talking about the iPhone that JUST NOW got any credible voice features, which ironically are just an 'App' with similar Apps on Android and WP7.

Microsoft even had the TellMe voice server functionality on Windows Mobile and via their 800 number voice servers going back to 4 or 5 years, even existing before Google's voice to server processing came online.

The 'ask me questions/tell me to do stuff' type of Voice Apps have been on Windows Mobile since around 2003/2004, and Android has had several for over a year or more now.

When the iPhone launched without any voice dialing and other features found in 'free' non-smartphones, Apple fans explained that with a pretty touch screen, there was no need for voice recognition/interaction. When Apple finally buys a company that gives them this feature, it is now the most brilliant thing ever and Apple invented it mentality.

*gag*


That's because no one gives a damn about WP7, as its' whopping 1% marketshare proves.

bobbba said,

Siri is not an app

Please, educate yourself. Siri was an app. It's just integrated now.

JPXi said,

That's because no one gives a damn about WP7, as its' whopping 1% marketshare proves.

Same with Linux and Mac?

Mattytommo said,

He's just stating the obvious, go take fanboy pot shots at others


+1 It's silly to ignore an OS already has a feature only to pump up an OS for having that very feature. This drives me bonkers.

thenetavenger said,
Big wall of text
WP7's voice recognition isn't really natural language recognition. It functions off of a pretty strict syntax.

It also has no concept of context. For example: "What's Apple's stock price today?" "How about Microsoft's?". With Siri, that would show Apple's stock price and then show Microsoft's. Not so with Mango's voice recognition.

superconductive said,
And so begins the sirigate...

A kind of convenient problem for Apple that the phones have sold so well, and are used so much, that they get connectivity problems. Much more pleasant than the "antennagate" issue, anyway.

I'm pretty sure Apple will simply solve this by throwing more servers at the issue. Unlike the "antennagate", this is an issue where Apple underestimated the usage, not an issue that demands recalling stuff or releasing revised hardware.

The problem will likely silently go away over the next few months, and everyone will forget about it.

Northgrove said,

I'm pretty sure Apple will simply solve this by throwing more servers at the issue.

Which, as one of the biggest market cap companies in the world, it should have been doing for years now.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. handle 100-1000x this traffic every hour of every day.

It's time Apple joined the big boys in the IT arena.

Northgrove said,

I'm pretty sure Apple will simply solve this by throwing more servers at the issue.

Which, as one of the biggest market cap companies in the world, it should have been doing for years now.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. handle 100-1000x this traffic every hour of every day.

It's time Apple joined the big boys in the IT arena.

Apparently the way it works is it uses Nuances voice to text technology then Apples Siri works off the text that Nuances product provides. What we don't know is, does Apple have Nuances software on their own servers or are Apple using Nuances servers and then having those servers send the text either back to the phone for processing or to Apples servers for processing.

We don't yet know if Apple is using their own servers for the entire thing and licensing Nuances technology or simply using Nuances already setup servers for it. As Nuance do offer their own Voice to Text apps on Smart Phones that use their own Servers currently.

Need someone to monitor the connections on the iPhone and see what addresses its contacting while using Siri.

Vice said,
Apparently the way it works is it uses Nuances voice to text technology then Apples Siri works off the text that Nuances product provides. What we don't know is, does Apple have Nuances software on their own servers or are Apple using Nuances servers and then having those servers send the text either back to the phone for processing or to Apples servers for processing.

We don't yet know if Apple is using their own servers for the entire thing and licensing Nuances technology or simply using Nuances already setup servers for it. As Nuance do offer their own Voice to Text apps on Smart Phones that use their own Servers currently.

Need someone to monitor the connections on the iPhone and see what addresses its contacting while using Siri.

Sadly either way, the buck stops with Apple and not Nuance.

Additionally, the connection issues may have to do with cellular network saturation, as all voice processing is now slammed over the already tight data availability in many areas.

Apple would have been better off to use a dual voice recognition mode so that not all commands have to be shipped to the servers, like other phones have done for the past 10 years. Then at least base voice recognition would be handled on the device and not have need or be congesting the bandwidth.

(Yes other phones have been doing this for 10 years, see Windows Smartphone/PocketPC from 2002, which had a lot of voice command and control that was handled on the device. And considering the processing power of the phones back then, it is insane that Apple doesn't implement more locally. It is also insane that Google also ships the majority of its voice commands to a server as well for Android.)

thenetavenger said,

Additionally, the connection issues may have to do with cellular network saturation, as all voice processing is now slammed over the already tight data availability in many areas.
Would be easy to determine if it's cell networks or not: Wifi.

Vice said,
Apparently the way it works is it uses Nuances voice to text technology then Apples Siri works off the text that Nuances product provides. What we don't know is, does Apple have Nuances software on their own servers or are Apple using Nuances servers and then having those servers send the text either back to the phone for processing or to Apples servers for processing.

We don't yet know if Apple is using their own servers for the entire thing and licensing Nuances technology or simply using Nuances already setup servers for it. As Nuance do offer their own Voice to Text apps on Smart Phones that use their own Servers currently.

Need someone to monitor the connections on the iPhone and see what addresses its contacting while using Siri.

I don't really know anything about it, but it would make way more sense to me to have the siri/nuance software on the iphone convert the voice to text, then send that to the apple servers. It would be much cheaper for everyone involved, apple and the carriers.

prismatics said,

I don't really know anything about it, but it would make way more sense to me to have the siri/nuance software on the iphone convert the voice to text, then send that to the apple servers. It would be much cheaper for everyone involved, apple and the carriers.

How would it? Local computers do not have the processing power required to do natural language to text at the same accuracy level as the online servers and these services can get smarter over time by having recordings of everyones voice from which to create better algorithms.

Vice said,
How would it? Local computers do not have the processing power required to do natural language to text at the same accuracy level as the online servers and these services can get smarter over time by having recordings of everyones voice from which to create better algorithms.

Let's not forget the acquisition of Spinvox by Nuance last year. Spinvox is the original voice to text offering that was revealed to actually be a call center in pakistan, rather than smart translation software. I bet Siri is actually that tech.

Yes, I think Apple and Google know what they are doing. Not to mentioned they have aware of and have pretty good reason not to follow what Microsoft did 10 years ago. I mean look at the Microsoft's position in today's mobile world.

Vice said,

How would it? Local computers do not have the processing power required to do natural language to text at the same accuracy level as the online servers and these services can get smarter over time by having recordings of everyones voice from which to create better algorithms.

Key words, not at the same accuracy. So this leaves a limited dictionary of terms that the devices can easily processes in dictation style processing.

This is where Apple fails, as they are shipping virtually everything to the server instead of using a base voice recognition technology on the device.

This would reduce the load considerably, as the average person has a certain set questions and commands that they use, and there is no reason to depend on servers to handle these.

If you look back at things like IBM Voice and Windows Sound System from 1992, they had a limited command based vocabulary, but worked well on 486-33 computers. Do you really think the iPhone A5 dual core isn't significantly more powerful than this?

Even look at Dragon and Microsoft voice technologies from the 90s, they were designed for Pentium class processors, and worked in realtime with 50,000 to 100,000 dictionaries that worked in dictation form. Again, the Arm A5 in the iPhone is significantly faster than this, and there is no reason that this base level of recognition couldn't be done.

(Even Apple's basic voice recognition on Macs were running on early PowerPC processors that were far less powerful than an iPhone.)

Besides, this has been done before, Go look up Windows Pocket PC SmartPhones from 2002, running on really slow processors, and they supported known command and 'interpreted phonic command' processing, and these devices had tiny amounts of RAM and CPU power. (They even did handwriting recognition, but Apple is still telling people that it is too hard to do well on tiny devices. I guess they want people to forget about what came before the iPhone.)