Sunday, October 16, 2011

The new iPhone

I just upgraded my iPhone from a 4 to a 4S.  If you have read all the press, you know that wasn't a very big upgrade so why bother?  I HAD to get off AT&T and move to Verizon, so I waited for a new phone to make the move.  In the Mountain West, AT&T basically sucks.  I can't get a solid signal at my house, on the ski hills, or in anything remotely rural in Utah.  Switching to Verizon gets me much better coverage almost everywhere.

So, given that I have the new iPhone, what makes it interesting?
  • Physical layout?  Nope.  I wish the screen was at least a half inch larger.  I hit 50 in a few months and tiny text is getting more challenging.
  • Faster processor?  It feels a little quicker, but I never had problems with the iPhone 4.
  • 4G support?  Nope, they seem to have forgotten this.  I would love to have it, but we are a year from getting LTE support in Park City, so it doesn't matter much.
  • The new camera?  Now it gets more interesting.  I have done a few quick tests with the camera and can see a noticeable improvement.  I will do some real shots and post them out here.  The biggest change seems to be in low light.
  • Siri?  This is the new voice recognition and artificial intelligence software. I thought this might be stupid, sitting there chatting with your phone, but I am beginning to understand how this might be another monstrous change in the way we interact with phones/computers. Not only is it voice recognition, the phone is smart enough to know where to go look for what information.  
Here are some examples of what you can ask the phone to do/find.  There's a much more complete list of examples here.  I have tried a number of these and they work almost flawlessly.
  • What's Michael's address?
  • When is my wife's birthday?
  • Who is Michael Manning?
  • Set up a meeting with Michael at 9
  • Schedule a planning meeting at 8:30 today in the boardroom
  • Reschedule my appointment with Dr. Manning to next Monday at 9am
  • What's on my calendar for Friday?
  • When is my next appointment?
  • Wake me up tomorrow at 7am
  • Change my 6:30 alarm to 6:45
  • What time is it in Berlin?
  • What's the date this Saturday?
  • Email Lisa and Jason about the party and say I had a great time
  • Show the email from Lisa yesterday
  • Directions to my dad's work
  • Where is Starbucks?
  • Find a gas station within walking distance
  • Good Mexican restaurants around here
  • Send a message to Susan on her mobile saying I'll be late
  • Text Jason and Lisa where are you?
  • Play Alicia Keys
  • Play some blues
  • Call Susan on her work phone
  • What's Apple's stock price?
  • What is the Dow at?
  • Check next week's forecast for Burlington
  • What's the forecast for this evening?
  • When is sunrise in Paris?
  • How many calories in a bagel?
  • What is an 18% tip on $86.74 for four people?
  • What's the square root of 128?
  • How many dollars is €45?
  • What was the Best Picture of 1983?
  • How many days until Christmas?
Pretty interesting.  Apple's plan is to add additional data sources to Siri so that you can ask more questions.  For instance, tying it to the flight databases would allow you to ask about flight status, plan trips and buy tickets.

It's beginning to feel more and more like Star Trek.  I am still waiting for someone to invent transporters!
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