Saturday, December 17, 2011

iPhone 4S: Not Made for India?

Since the release of iPhone 4S last month, Siri has received some criticism for not coping well with the Indian accents. Already the phone is not wwell accepted by Indians for the high price and the Siri not working makes it more frustrating to Indian users.

The most innovative features of iPhone 4S is the intelligent voice assistant Siri, but some people who have used it, say Siri does not work with Indian accents. Meanwhile the iPhone 4S page on the Apple India website is exactly same as the U.S. version but the difference is Apple does not mention Siri feature anywhere on the India site where as the U.S. website is filled with screenshots and videos of Siri.

Siri can recognize some simple voice commands like setting alarm, scheduling meetings, adding a reminder, sending text message or e-mail, looking up stock market, weather reports and currency conversion. But Siri's big problem is when it tries identifying Indian names from the address book, searching nearby restaurants and coffee shops in the Indian streets and browsing over the net. Interestingly Siri does all these functions in U.S.

"My Siri does not understand anything I say. I have an Indian accent but most other voice recognition software work well with me. Is it Siri or is it me? It's a big disappointment as I bought an IPhone 4S to use Siri extensively!!" says an Indian customer of iPhone 4S in Apple's discussion forum.

Apple introduced Siri in India like in many other countries as beta version. That is why it still lacks location-based service. Moreover, Siri is just in a beta stage and this can be one of the reasons why Apple is not promoting Siri in India.

The beta version has built-in support of American, British and Australian accented English, but it has problems recognizing commands in strong accented English, including certain regional in Scotland, and some parts of India. However, as many Indian users have pointed out accents vary quite dramatically throughout.

Apple says, Siri will support additional languages in 2012 including Japanese, Chinese, Korean,Italian, and Spanish.

Not only Siri the iPhone 4S was itself a trouble maker in India . It had network compatibility issues. Some users have experienced a peculiar situation where the device stops recognizing their SIM cards. Users also reported that they receive error messages on the iPhone 4S stating that they either have no SIM card installed or their SIM is invalid. This carrier issues are reported only when the device is purchased outside India. A lot of users have been constantly talking about this issue on the Apple support forums and surprisingly there has not been any statement by Apple in this regard.