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Apple's newly launched iPhone 4S voice assistant feature is once again under fire after it was hit with more outages over the weekend, according to numerous users. Reports began surfacing on Twitter Thursday, with users complaining of connection errors when trying to use the new feature. Others found the service just didn't respond at all to any requests.
Siri works by connecting to Apple's servers and sending over the voice request for processing on a remote data center rather than on the phone itself. Thus, when the network is down, Siri can't even perform basic tasks like voice-to-text or creating a reminder. In fairness, Apple launched Siri as a beta, though it is seen as one of the main selling points of the new iPhone.
Apple has released no statement regarding the outage, but its support community now has a 19-page long discussion thread on the subject, read by over 28,000 viewers since it was created during the first service outage earlier in October. A user on Apple’s support forums reported that a company help line representative said the problems were due to “server issues.”
The outage affected users in the U.S. mostly, but those in the U.K. still used the latest problems as an excuse to moan about the somewhat patchy service. One Twitter user commented that the problems faced by people in the U.K. were "like what's happening in the U.S. - but permanent." Another Twitter user complained that the "iPhone 4S is now downgraded to an iPhone 4 with a better camera."
Last week Apple confirmed there were issues with reduced battery life for those using Apple's iOS 5 software after complaints began to surface shortly following the iPhone 4S launch. An update to fix the issue is currently being tested by developers and should be available to iOS device users in a few weeks.
The iPhone 4S looks identical to last year's model but comes in a new 64GB flavor and upgrades the camera to include an 8-megapixel sensor with improved low-light performance and 1080p video capture. In terms of performance the new iPhone is reportedly up to 2x faster and is also capable of running on faster HSPA+ networks, reaching theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
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