While the high price of the iPhone 4S has come as a rude shock to many Indians impatiently waiting for the device’s launch in the country, there is a silver lining for them: Siri, the phone’s hallmark feature, works well with Indian accents.
The Apple iPhone 4S was officially launched in six metropolitan cities in India today, but got off to a cold start, primarily due to its high upfront cost and the expensive, though optional, tariff plans.
The Apple India website, which was updated today to replace the iPhone 4 with its successor, makes no mention of its innovative virtual assistant Siri, similar to the company’s websites in most other countries in the world. Once you go in and turn it on though, the feature does work in India.
In fact, it works much better for Indian users than it does for their friends in some other countries. The feature is currently in beta and officially only supports the American, Australian and British accents for English speakers, and trips up quite miserably when subjected to the thicker Japanese or Scottish ones.
Despite not officially supporting Indian accents, however, the phone does exceptionally well with a typical north Indian accent when used with the American accent enabled, as demonstrated by an Indian iPhone 4S user in the video by NDTV Gadgets below:
As you can see, the phone rarely stumbles in the nearly four-minute-long video and can perform almost all the features it has in its arsenal, from adding a reminder to looking up stocks and the weather, to searching for stuff on Google and Wolfram|Alpha. The only thing it does not do is look up local businesses, which is currently only supported in the United States.
There is a caveat, however. The video is shot by a person from norther India, whose accent is only one of the dozens that characterise people from different parts of the country. The south Indian accent, which is more recognisable as the Indian accent in many parts of the world, is noticeably different and much thicker than what you hear in the video, so there’s a good chance Siri may not work as well for you if you hail from Tamil Nadu.
But it’s definitely not bad for a service that has only seen a version 1.0 release so far, is in beta and does not officially support Indian accents.