What Australians Don’t Get With The iPhone 4S

What Australians Don’t Get With The iPhone 4S

The iPhone 4S is the first iPhone that’s going to hit Australian shelves at the same time as the US. But despite that improvement, there are some aspects of the local market it won’t take advantage of.

Surprisingly, the voice recognition in Siri isn’t one of them. Apple’s launch release notes that ” Siri will be available in beta on iPhone 4S in English (localized for US, UK and Australia)”. Past experience with voice recognition makes me suspect that it will still work better if you use an American accent, but we can’t accuse Apple of ignoring Australian needs on this front, and the proof will be in the testing.

Principally, what we don’t get is the ability to take advantage of some features available on local phone networks. While the iPhone 4S adds HSDPA support, there’s no option for LTE, so data-heavy users won’t be able to take advantage of Telstra’s recently-launched LTE network or Optus’ planned upgrades next year. Given that one of the key features of iOS 5 is the ability to automatically sync via your phone connection, it’s a pity we won’t be able to exploit that extra speed. There’s also no hardware support for the HD Voice network which Telstra has deployed, so no chance of increasing call quality there.

Finally, we’ve known for quite a while that iTunes Match, which syncs all the music you own to the cloud, would be a US-only service. Apple enjoys surprises, but it didn’t elect to surprise us with global plans for Match. Given the mire of global music rights, that’s disappointing but hardly shocking.

Any other features you wish the iPhone 4S offered? Tell us in the comments.


  • the small print at the end of the Siri video says “Wifi connection may be required, data charges may apply”. This makes me think that it’s actually sending the sound bite up to a big system that does the intelligent analysis and sends the answer back. Amongst other things, this means it should learn ‘Strine over time 😉 The dual sending and receiving antennas might help call quality, though I’ve got to say mine’s pretty good on Telstra anyway. Looking forward to seeing some Aussie usage reviews.

  • “This makes me think that it’s actually sending the sound bite up to a big system that does the intelligent analysis and sends the answer back.”

    How the heck did you get something so complicated out of that?

    It could, more simply, be refering to the fact that Siri would require Wifi for some of the services you request or if Wifi isn’t the necessity that data charges would apply. For example, downloading e-mail and maps.

  • Sorry, LTE is still a new technology, and is supposed to be a high drain on a phone battery, I don’t think it’ll be worth having until the next iphone.
    As for NFC (not mentioned here I know), there’s still no good support – when someone can use the same Mastercard and Visa technology, then it may be worthwhile.

  • Leave it to the media to make a muddle of everything that was mentioned or released.
    1. LTE in Australia is barely released and is not available from telstra for phones. its at least 1-2 years away from any kind of usage, so that’s a non-starter straight away. why include something that wont be widely used or even at all that in itself is a battery hog.
    2.Siri is only new, and will be prone to small bugs from time to time. its initial release before Apple purchased the company 12 months ago was US only. taking it to the world with all the complex accents is a big job, so just be patient with this one, it will improve and at least its in english.
    3. Maps and Directions is Google Based. so if its not available from Google maps, then its going to be limited. Ever tried using Google traffic in an Australian city, on android, its not much fun.
    4. Any person who is a data hog will already have a “MiFi” or mobile data connection. its an easy thing to get around any Apple 3G data limit by using one of these little devices. again a non issue.
    5. “Wifi connection may be required, data charges may apply”. Standard Boilerplate.

    • Wrong, Telstra is releasing a HTC LTE phone in the next few weeks (telstra.com.au).

      it’s battery use is not much more then 3G, and all phones are usually charged each day so you can hack it.

      Siri is not new, it is a rip off of google voice and the WP7 voice controls. It also is not that useful and i cant imaging a bunch of people walking around talking to their phone all the time saying “open calendar”.

      • Wrong, Telstra is releasing HTC LTE (4G) phone in early 2012.

        Wrong again, Siri isn’t a Google voice rip-off. Apple bought Siri from another IT start-up company last year.

      • quote “i cant imaging a bunch of people walking around talking to their phone all the time saying “open calendar”.”

        Just a funny comment as what is a phone for if not to talk to.

      • Siri is not about navigating your phone’s UI by voice. You don’t tell Siri “open calendar, new appointment, start time 10am”. You tell Siri, “set up a meeting with Franz at 10 tomorrow.”

        Siri is to voice commands in Android and WP7 as a human personal assistant is to a filofax.

    • 1. It’s here, and you can already get phones that can use it.

      2. Siri, it’s kinda neat, but it’s a feature that you’d pretty much only use when you are alone. Not my idea of a killer feature.

      3. Have you used google maps or traffic?

      Works perfect for me, and has saved me plenty of time trying to get places afterwork around peak hour.

      4. Why carry an extra device when you can just do it all with your phone? No LTE, and iphone4s doesn’t even support HSDPA+ which is pretty disappointing.

      5. no surprise.

      As a tech fan, I’m pretty disappointed in this new release, for the single reason that we rely on competition between the smartphone manufacturers to drive progress and improve products. With this release apple took their foot off the accelerator, I just hope we don’t see stagnation in the releases from the other phone manufacturers as well.

  • Voice technology can be enormously more simple than everyone implies here, even despite accenting.

    Its as simple as teaching your phone. I.e. your phone asks you to say certain key words or phrases (in your own accent), which it records as sound files associated with each intended task. Then when you speak to your phone it only compares what you say against your own collection of personally accented sound files.

    No “deep thought cumulonimbus cloud type accent driven” level analysis needed!

    Dragon speech software does this well (and is available as a phone app. Industrial applications come from Voxware, Motorola, Vocollect and others and is used by Walmart Amazon and closer to Oz by Coles and Woolworths and many other Oz companies.

    So if Siri doesn’t work well, it will be because of a half ar**ed and copied implementation by apple trying not to licence use of other pre-existing simple intellectual property and patents, owners of whom I assume apple will try to sue in the future!

    • Dougal,

      Siri’s point is to be able to understand “natural language queries”, so you don’t have to pre-associate or record clips to actions. Welcome to the future.

      Furthermore, the whole voice analysis process is done through Nuance, the company behind the Dragon speech software. So it’s not a half-arsed copied implementation.

  • if i buy an ipone 4s in US for $199 will it work in Australia and why is an ipone 4s costing $799 in australia?? I have never thought much of apple products and always laugh
    when i walk past an apple store and see the herd of sheep in there

    • Say you buy it in the USA at just $199. What about the plane ticket?

      Anyway. They’re different in price because the USA version is subsidised and locked in a 2 year contract. The Aussie is unlocked.

      I always laugh when people post stuff without doing even some Google research.

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