Apple released the latest addition to its stellar iPhone lineup, the iPhone 4S, on October 14, and it has proved an instant hit. Despite a few misgivings regarding the phone’s lack of improvements over its predecessor, the iPhone 4, sales have been anything but lethargic. The 4S set a new record when 4 million units were purchased in the first three days the device was available to the public.
This was due in part to the wider customer base Apple reached by allowing Sprint to ride the iPhone wave this time around. In truth, the 4S is virtually identical to the iPhone 4 from a purely aesthetic standpoint. There are, however, a number of features new to the 4S worth discussing.
The first among these is the much talked-about Siri voice assistant feature. Siri was designed to do just that – serve as a sort of poor man’s secretary. Siri is a sort of amped up voice control – she follows commands, answers questions, and even has her own personality. Siri uses the phone’s location and Google to respond to voice requests and thus requires either cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.
The iPhone’s much-touted 8 mega-pixel camera delivers a clearer image than does the 5-megapixel iPhone 4, and the backside-illuminated CMOS sensor allows in 73% more light and thus performance is enhanced in dimmer environments. The camera also sports a hybrid IR filter for better color accuracy and is 33% faster than the older camera.
The 4S runs on a faster dual-core processor than the iPhone 4. Also, as the iPhone 4’s one antenna proved faulty at times, so the 4S is equipped with two antennas for stronger coverage. The last new feature of note is Apple’s new iOS5 platform, which has thus far been applauded by Apple fans.
For the first time, the iPhone is equipped with a 64-gigabyte capacity, a huge plus for Apple’s hordes of data-hungry users. In terms of speed, the 4S is still running on the various 3G networks operated by the carriers. AT&T customers, however, can avail themselves of the carrier’s HSDPA 3G+ network, which, while not quite 4G, enjoys slight increases in data transfer speeds than the regular 3G service. Additionally, there exist signal boosters that effectively amplify the iPhone's signal strength and clarity.
Several complaints leveled against the iPhone include the unchanged size of the Home button and screen. The screen, for its part, has remained the same 3.5 inches it was when the original iPhone was introduced in 2007. This stagnation in size is significant when you consider the 4.5 inch screens some of the Android Smartphones are flaunting.
Some users have also complained that the colors on the otherwise crisp AMOLED screen appear rather washed out, and that the whites bear a yellowish tint. This may be purely an issue of the hardware glue not having dried fast enough, or it may be a technical glitch. The latter scenario is one that should be taken up with the Apple people – if the former it will fade when the glue dries. Only time will tell which one it is.
The iPhone 4S is not a radically different phone from its forerunner, but certainly offers some noteworthy improvements. One again, Apple has procured a first-rate Smartphone that is sure to provide its users with an enjoyable mobile experience.