Siri: Eating Up All of U.S. Bandwidth?

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The iPhone 4S, with its much-hyped Siri feature, is awesome.

Siri will get you directions, let you make hands-free mobile calls, fetch answers to trivia questions, you name it. You can even goof on Siri for fun, asking if she'll marry you, pretending you're going to kill yourself, argue with your wife (below), etc.

And she plays along! It's the best!

There is a downside to this genius innovation, however: Requiring far more data than other smartphones, Siri is bandwidth guzzler, the digital equivalent of a Hummer H3, and could pose problems for the entire U.S. cellular network.

A study by Arieso, an Atlanta firm that specializes in mobile networks, said the iPhone 4S “appears to unleash data consumption behaviors that have no precedent.”

Under most circumstances, this would be someone else’s problem - contracts are “tiered” so that those who use a network more than others pay more for that.

Except with data, it’s not that simple.

Cell networks are like any common resource; they have limits. Once they hit their limit, there’s no more to go around, meaning Siri could be everyone's problem.

As networks become congested, service deteriorates across the board. Private desire becomes a public issue as more calls are dropped and Internet access lags.

In short, expect interrupted service and higher bills to be standard in the next few years, unless cellular providers can start innovating even faster than Apple.