Posted in howto

My take on the iPhone 4S and how to turn on Siri in Canada

So to my surprise, our family was interrupted w/ a loud “Package for Jonathan Chui!” through our front door @ 9:30 AM this morning.

I had been following the UPS delivery status of my iPhone4 since Wed, when it left China, then hit Hong Kong & landed in Anchorage, Alaska.


The nice UPS delivery man told me I was the third person to receive it on his truck & that he had 40 others to deliver. One person even ordered 10 (i don’t know how that’s possible, but whatever). I was so happy I took his picture:

Photo on 2011-10-14 at 09:32.jpg

One of the first things I tried to use was Siri, the famous voice assistant and 1 of 3 reasons to get the 4s (the other two being an A5 processor, 8 MP camera with 5 “amazing” lenses – I’ll talk about them in another post).

I was surprised when I held down the Home button, just like the demo, and I got the regular old Voice Control!! I searched “Siri not in Canada” & found this link from Gary Ng on iPhoneInCanada, which had suggestions from people who had spoken w/ apple PR reps who said it wouldn’t be available.

Let me dispel all rumors & myths & say, it definitely works in Canada. However, not by default: you have to enable it in Settings, under General & Siri:


Furthemore, some features in US don’t work in Canada (more later).

I was also a bit surprised they didn’t have English (Canada), but did have English (Australia)!?!?

So how well does it work? Well, for the most part, okay.

My first attempt to send a text message to Vicki went something like this:

Hmm…. interesting that it doesn’t know it’s own name is in fact “iPhone 4S” not “iPhone Ass”.

Other than that, I asked it what time it was, to call/txt people, to set reminders & alarms, and finally to check Apple’s stock prices, etc. All the usual stuff. It’s probably the best Voice Recognition software I’ve used so far (compared to Dragon Dictation iPhone app & the windows tablet speech recognition stuff)

In general, it seems to give funny/vague/witty answers to some specific questions:

Me: “Where are you made?”
Siri: “I’m not allowed to say, Jonathan”

Me: “What’s the meaning of life”
Siri: “I don’t know, but i think there’s an app for that”

– When I asked it “what good movies are out”, i got the response:

“Sorry jonathan, I can’t look for places in Canada” – nuts.

– When I asked it to route me to “Calgary”:

“Sorry Jonathan, I can’t provide maps & directions in Canada” – really? even though I can open up maps & search that?

– However, when I asked it “show me directions to apple”, it actually opened up the maps app & directed me to apple! (i guess cause it’s not in Canada).
– “Read my emails” – simply tells you how many unread emails. it can’t read it yet.

– When I asked it to open an application, it said:

“I’d like to, Jonathan, but I’m not allowed to. Sorry about that” – polite, but doesn’t make it any more useful, haha.

Other cons: It doesn’t seem to read text messages automatically – you have to specifically ask “read my text messages”.

All in all – pretty fun. Will be playing with it more.



Jon Chui (pronounced "chew") has been building iOS/Android apps for the last 7 years, the last 3 working on Google Maps, Inbox by Gmail and Google's Search App. Though he grew up in a Christian family and to parents who would end up giving up their 25 years of hard-earned comforts/affluence in Canada to go back to China as missionaries when he was 14, being a Christian was always in his head, and he would constantly struggle with trying to unify the sacred and the secular - until last year. However, through a radical transformation[] @ work last year (which he can't take ANY credit for), he & his wife & 2 young boys have decided to leave Google, sell/donate everything they have so to serve the poor & marginalized with Jesus’ love as missionaries with's Family DTS in Kona, hawaii then to the Philippines. Read more about their family journey @, and reach out to him @ If you're a recruiter with freelance jobs or have tech projects for jon feel free to reach out to him -

2 thoughts on “My take on the iPhone 4S and how to turn on Siri in Canada

  1. Thanks for the info… nice pic! 😀 Yeah my Ford won’t do Maps & Directions, even though it has the technology built in. The stupid thing says “for Directions, say..” and it can’t even do it. No doubt we get shafted on many fronts!

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