iPhone users found out today that pride cometh before a fall, as the iOS digital assistant, Siri, went off the grid for a few hours, leaving users unable to do things like ask about the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow.
A widespread outage occurred today during which the Siri app could not phone home to Apple servers. Though the app is often mis-labled as voice recognition, it actually requires a somewhat complex interactivity with remote servers in order to understand user queries and return intelligent responses with accurate information (and this is why you’ll probably never see Siri functional under jailbroken devices). Siri’s outage was the most (and, really, the only) significant interruption of the service since the iPhone 4S’ launch in October, but service was returned after only a few hours.
Service glitches have been prominent in the news lately, as RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service took a swan dive for several days and instigated a series of lawsuits against the Canadian company. The Siri outage, while definitely inconvenient, wasn’t quite at that level of fail, but it does beg the question as to whether or not major tech giants who offer powerful network-based features are as prepared to provide them as they believe.