It's no secret that today's smartphones are more data-hungry than their less feature-rich predecessors. When you can stream a movie, text a friend, download music, and make a call on the same device, why use something else?
A new study from Arieso found that iPhone 4S users are much "hungrier" data consumers than those on earlier versions of the Apple smartphone. One possible culprit? Siri.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan said "voice is the ultimate human interface." If it's available, people will use it, he said.
But before you go blaming Siri for hogging all the data, Flanagan told PCMag that while "Siri has absolutely contributed" to the iPhone 4S data growth, "other cloud-based functionality has also contributed."
"While we cannot directly measure this, I estimate that Siri was unlikely to be the main contributor and was certainly not the exclusive contributor," Flanagan continued. "Other cloud-based capabilities (such as synchronization with a target device in the cloud) were likely to be playing major roles in the observed data increases that were reported."
Overall, however, Arieso's report found that iPhone 4S users consumed three times as much data as those on the iPhone 3G and twice as much as those on the iPhone 4.
Only 1 percent of all users now consume half of all downloaded data, Arieso said.
Not all smartphone users are created equal, however. "The study found that different users and different devices exhibit very different demands on the network," Arieso said.
To reach its conclusions, Arieso compared the data consumption of users on the latest smartphones against the iPhone 3G for a "normalized benchmark."
"The HTC Desire S revealed a dramatic 223 percent increase in uplink data volumes per subscriber compared to the iPhone 3G," Arieso reported. "This is greater than the 126 percent increase of the Samsung Galaxy reported last year. The iPhone 4S was in a virtual tie with the HTC Desire S with a 220 percent increase."
Other smartphones like the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S II "showed substantial gains" in this category.
"While subscribers with newer smartphones are generally still a minority compared to the more numerous iPhone 3G subscribers, their relative numbers are going up each day and it is only a matter of time before they are responsible for greater aggregate uplink data volumes than all iPhone 3G users combined," Arieso concluded.