Apple’s iPhone 4S (s aapl) is data-hungry, according to a new study released Friday by mobile network monitoring firm Arieso. In fact, it found Apple’s newest iPhone consumes twice as much data as the iPhone 4, and three times as much as the iPhone 3G, which the company used as a baseline.
The iPhone 4S has the highest downlink data volumes of any phone measured in Arieso’s study, which covers over 1 million subsribers on a single European network, and comes in just shy of the Android-powered HTC Desire S when it comes to uplink volume. Data consumption isn’t evenly distributed among users, however; Arieso reveals 1 percent of mobile subscribers now account for half of all downloaded data; in other words, power users are pushing those consumption numbers sky high.
What accounts for the change? Bloomberg cites Siri as a culprit, quoting Arieso’s CTO Michael Flanigan as saying, “Voice is the ultimate human interface.” A recent study conducted by Ars Technica, however, finds Siri shouldn’t add that much data usage to a user’s monthly total, even with very frequent use.
The iPhone 4S may have been among the top data consumers, but it wasn’t alone. Many Android(s GOOG) devices also ranked as much more data-hungry than their predecessors. In that light, Siri alone isn’t a logical culprit for the iPhone 4S’s data gulping; instead, better mobile network infrastructure, more apps with higher data demands (and consumers becoming more comfortable using them) as well as higher-resolution (and therefore larger) image and video being shared to and from mobile devices probably accounts for most of the increase.
For consumers, this could mean there’s a need for increased vigilance in light of mobile network data caps, and for mobile providers, it means scaling quickly to deal with increased demand, whether through Wi-Fi offloading or building ever-more resilient networks.