It is October 14 in Australia already, which means that the iPhone 4S has gone on sale in the land down under. Alex Kidman from Gizmodo Australia got his hands on an iPhone 4S and, as you’d expect, put Siri to the test as soon as the phone was out of the box.
Non-American accents have traditionally been a problem for AI-powered voice recognition systems designed in the USA, but Apple clearly supports the Australian and British accents for Siri, so you’d expect it to work fine there.
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As it turns out, it does.
In the video embedded below, Kidman asked the virtual assistant a series of questions and it did not stumble even once. It does not look up local businesses in Australia yet—presumably because Apple gets its database from Yelp, which isn’t available there—but looking things up on Wolfram|Alpha and everything else worked just fine. It replies back in an Australian accent as well, as you’d expect.
When Kidman tried to get Siri to work with the American voice enabled, however, there were a lot of instances where its voice recognition technology missed the mark, although it did still get a few things right.
The bottom-line is that if you’re an Australian living in the United States, you’re going to have to choose between perfect voice recognition and the ability to look up local businesses, but for residents of Australia, Siri should work like a charm.