Siri Beta
Real Siri: less likely to stab you in the heart

Apple's voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, appears to be having some problems, with users reporting a lengthy outage Thursday night.

The usually polite and professional Siri said nothing more than,, "Sorry, I am having trouble connecting to the network," when asked a question.

Siri is a beta product - meaning that is still in the testing and development stage, despite being available to everyone with an iPhone 4S - but this outage, which struck at around 7 p.m. GMT, soon spurred many complaints on Twitter.

It would seem that the outage only affected American customers, and service was restored by Friday morning.

Being a beta product, customers can't expect Siri to work perfectly all of the time, but it is unusual for Apple to release beta products to the general public; beta versions of iPhone software, for example, are only made available to developers until all bugs have been ironed out.

Siri is the flagship feature of the new iPhone 4S and if any more outages occur then users who have upgraded from the iPhone 4 might feel short-changed if the biggest feature proves to be unreliable.

This data outage highlights the growing need for a reliable and fast data connection. Many smartphone features require data to function and Siri - as has been proved by this outage - can do nothing at all without an Internet connection.