iPhone 4S At a Glance

Apple has released another addition to the iPhone series this year and they named it the iPhone 4S. As many of you remember the S indicates upgrades in hardware and software alike. In June of 2009 Apple made this very same bold move by releasing the 3GS which was a performance boosted 3G. Many claim to be “disappointed” by the decision yet the record sales disprove that claim abruptly. Whether you approve of the decision or not the 4S claims to be a faster, more efficient version of the wildly popular 4 released in June 2010. Let’s take a few minutes and look at the noticeable differences at a glance. Please note this is not a full review of the hardware or software. With that in mind lets move along to the good stuff.

The Why

Each year we have all come to expect Apple to release a new revision of the iPhone. In the mobile industry it brings excitement because along side it comes speculation, assumptions, and in some cases out right lies. Followers of the mobile space have come to appreciate this because it gives them something to look forward to. Let’s just admit it, even if you don’t like the iPhone you always read about what happened at the event.

Armed with this information you now see why Apple possibly chose to update the existing iPhone 4 rather than create an entirely new phone – if it isn’t broke dont’ fix it. With everything in place to mass produce an updated model it made sense for Apple to engineer for better performance and position its self in the market with the new iOS 5.

People want “new” shiny toys. After a year of usage the glamor wears off and we all start considering something new. All mobile manufactures know this which is why they continue to push out new phones month after month when many do the exact same things but are known by a different name. Apple is no different. They realize people expect a new device, redesigned or updated, so they can fill that imaginary need. The why is clear now lets focus on what Apple did with the iPhone 4S.

The What

The iPhone 4S may look the same but under the hood things are very different. The previous model contained Apple’s own A4 1Ghz processor under-clocked to run at 800Mhz. The result was a phone that was fast regardless of how the numbers matched up with the competition. The 4S stepped things up in this department by adding a new dual core A5 processor which roughly doubles the speed and claims to improve graphic performance by up to 7X. Coming from an iPhone 4 the difference may not seem immediate but the more you use the device the more you realize how much more responsive things are. Browsing and games are two things that I noticed right away. Both felt better than the previous model.

Don’t care about Mhz then maybe  a newly redesigned camera might entice you to make the jump. Included on the 4S is a newly redesigned camera with a 8MP resolution, all new optics, and a larger f/2.4 aperture. In summary this means higher resolution with the ability to shoot in lower light. Oh and did we mention it now offers the capability to shoot video in full resolution 1080P now versus the previous 720P on the 4? Well it can and initial test prove it to be quite good at it. We will explore this more in our full review but this is a worthy upgrade if your into taking pictures with your mobile devices.

Hardware is only a small portion of why people choose smartphones. Just because it is fast and has new hardware doesn’t mean it will meet your needs. To address this issue Apple introduced some software additions and enhancements. Some are available on the 4 and others are not currently, legally at least. The most notable addition has to be the integrated personal assistant otherwise known as Siri. Without going into much detail, which will be covered in the full review, Siri allows you to get things done without ever having to directly type into your phone. For me Siri is a imaginary person that absorbs your voice to mesh groups of available services together in a logical and contextual way. The main difference when compared to the competition is you don’t have to talk like a robot to get results. Want to know where the closest pizza hot spot is just ask. Need to set a reminder to call someone in 30 minutes just ask.

Siri is impressive there is no denying that. If you have always wanted a personal assistant this might be the closest thing you get to having one. Personally I wouldn’t stop in the middle of a conversation and say “sure let me call my personal assistant and have her set it up”, followed by you picking up your phone and carrying on a conversation. You might get some rather interesting looks and lose the deal. But hey to each their own right. As an example I asked Siri What’s your favorite blog. She of course answered FoneArena as you can see below.

iOS 5 which is pre-installed on the iPhone 4S included over 200 new features. Some noticeable others are behind the scenes. The one that was most important for most of us was the redesigned notification system. The best way to describe it at a glance is it doesn’t get on your nerves and in your way. Need I say more?

iOS is now available for the iPhone 3GS as well as the 4 so any enhancements here should not be considered as an upgrade from the 4. Siri on the other hand is currently only available on the 4S. It has already been proven that it is not a hardware problem so I think we can safely say it is a marketing decision to bring in more potential buyers. Two words there, it worked.

Last but not least is the introduction of the new service from Apple “cleverly” named iCloud. Again this is not specific to the iPhone 4S but is being marketed as a new feature of it which in turn will bring in sales. iCloud is a simple way to keep all of your devices in sync over the air at all times. For instance you can take a picture and it will show up on another iOS device that is linked to your Apple ID through what is called a Photo Stream. Don’t have a computer around for a couple of weeks, no problem because now you can backup to iCloud when you are near wifi and have the phone plugged into the wall. May not seem like much but once we dig in on our full review you will see how in depth iCloud really is.

The End

The iPhone 4S is a revamped version of the iPhone 4. It contains several new features that make it an attractive product for users that have been hanging on the edge about moving to an iPhone as well as to current users that didn’t take the leap the the iPhone 4. Packed with higher performance and your very own personal assistant it aims to please. Wondering if you should upgrade to the iPhone 4S? Lets ask Siri

Clearly she said leave that up to the user. We hope you enjoyed our brief overview of the iPhone 4S at a glance. Expect a full review coming soon. In the meantime if you missed the unboxing go check it out. As always if you have any questions leave them below and we will be happy to answer them. Until next time.