Siri Is A Carrier’s Wet Dream Leading To 2x Data Usage

Siri Is A Carrier’s Wet Dream Leading To 2x Data Usage

Photo by netzkobold - http://flic.kr/p/atFyka

If you’re a carrier scrambling for ways to make up dwindling voice and texting profits, Apple’s iPhone 4S is not just a product, but a dreamy pin-up, a new report on smartphone data usage finds. What’s more, Siri — the iPhone 4S’s hallmark feature — is a down-right wet dream.

Mobile monitoring firm Arieso released a report today finding Apple’s latest smartphone sucks data at twice the rate of the previous iPhone 4 and three times that of the iPhone 3G. Although there are other factors involved, Siri does frequently hit the network – something to weigh when you want to use the voice assistant to learn if it will rain.

Arieso’s technology chief tells Bloomberg Siri’s problem is it is so darn easy to use. Noting “voice is the ultimate human interface,” Michael Flanagan said Siri’s simple interface lowers barriers to its usage, hiking data demands. Gone are the needs to type, point or even move a finger, all potentially preventing subscribers from using data. Such a slippery slope should make carriers virtually quiver with joy.

While it is appealing to smack around Siri as the reason for the iPhone 4S being such a data porker, others feel the true cause is closer than we would like to admit. Indeed, the Arieso study of more than 1 million subscribers found 1 percent of mobile users are responsible for half of the data demand. Yes, ‘Occupy’ fans, we are the 99 percent.

But before you go protesting in front of Apple or pull out your ‘Down with Datacaps‘ signs, experts say we have met the enemy – and it is Youtube, Netflix and those humongous (but gorgeous) family photos you’ve been zipping through cyberspace. The iPhone 4S is the perfect delivery device for the media junkie, down to the 8-megapixel HD-ready cameras and instant Twitter connection. Get ready for the newest tech cop-out: my iPhone made me do it.

However, there are some steps that can be taken to improve the situation. First, step away from the cell signal. Wi-Fi connections are everywhere. If you can’t latch onto your home’s wireless connection, there is the corner cafe, the local bookstore, the airport — even your neighbor. The next part of any data diet should be offloading your video and media. Perhaps you don’t need to spend three hours viewing the latest Youtube works of an obscure Austrian filmaker or emailing that oh-so comical autotune of Newt Gingrich?

But most importantly, say experts, is to become aware of your data usage and make decisions on how you can stay out of the data pigpen.

Related
  • prof_peabody

    Nothing personal but I find the title misleading and the conclusions completely unsupported.  It seems that Arieso *assumes* somewhere in the report (although they haven’t even mentioned it in their published conclusions), that Siri might be a factor and that you take this further and think that it’s probably the cause, but there doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence.  Certainly you haven’t presented any.  

    When you consider that Siri is actually notable for the *tiny* amount of data it sends back and forth, and then add in the fact that most data use on a mobile is going to be pictures and movies, it seems far more likely that the *camera* on the 4s is the culprit, not Siri.  

    Even if you just use your iPhone for email and a bit of web browsing, if you also take pictures and send them around, your data use would double when moving to the 4s anyway. 

  • Ed_Kel

    Agreed. There are plenty of reports and tests out there showing that, although Siri uses data, it’s very little and should not affect consumption rates for the average user.

  • dsjr2006

    Siri uses a tiny amount of data. You would have to use it every two minutes all month, that’s 24 hours a day, to hit the typical 2GB cap. The headline and story are misleading. Check Ars for more info.

  • Ramses Cabello

    Such a nonsense article.

  • AriRomano

    ehrm… it’s a carrier’s nightmare because people have unlimited plans anyway.

  • joewaylo

    More than likely it’s the multiple newer features iOS 5 has always on. Not just Siri. Siri is just a speed helper but is still in an infant stage that could contribute 10% of the data requirement. iOS 5 has lots of new APIs if I recall including:
     * Post to Twitter with a photo
     * Siri
     * Photo Stream
     * Use Cellular Data to sync iTunes/App Store/iCloud changes of Automatic Downloads
     * Weather checking per location based using Notification Center
     * Stocks checking when Notification Center is revealed
     * Pinging Siri to do several steps in a command
     * Reminders update using iCloud and location pinging
     * and a few newer features

    Other features pre-existing as well
     * Mail/Calendars/Contacts/Bookmarks (since MobileMe)
     * App Store/iTunes Store
     * Music and Videos
     * Game Center
     * Playing Games
     * using networked apps
     * etc
    —————————-
    Not many can use a WiFi service too unfortunately. On the go, you can’t have WiFi available unless your car just happens to have a free unlimited WiFi service provided by the automobile company. Many are driving 30 miles up and down an Interstate corridor to work and home.

  • majipoor

    Agree, especially with iCloud and Photo Stream enabled.

  • Jonathon Wilson

    What a bullshit title. Seriously stop doing titles that are pretty much lies to get people to read it.

  • John Howell

    This is more of a carrier nightmare. They want to sell you on a monthly plan, then hope you don’t use any of it, but can’t reduce the plan without a crippling contract change charge.

  • Gene

    Ridiculous headline with no basis in fact. Something we’ve pretty much come to expect here, and they drive traffic — traffic from commenters pointing out the errors. :)

    Anyway. One thing that is significantly different with the 4S is the higher resolution camera. My camera roll is much larger than it was on the 4; and all those photos get backed up every night with iCloud. That’s a backup size of almost 2GB each and every night. Add to that the users who have Photo Stream enabled, and you can see where the data usage is much larger for the 4S.

  • ddevito

    “Arieso’s technology chief tells Bloomberg Siri’s problem is it is so darn easy to use”

    Damn you Apple. :p  lol

  • sir1jaguar

    The most istupid hype – SIRI…. I had it in my iPhone 4s & just a novelty NOT really a game changer, just overhype feature by APPLE…
    I sold mine (at&t version) and bought the GALAXY NEXUS (hspa+ version) using TMOBILE super fast hspa+ connection… ITS PERFECT…

    APPLE IS A GREAT MARKETING COMPANY NOT AN INNOVATOR…

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , |