Apple has announced the iPhone 4S. You may have heard something about it, as not only was Twitter, Google+ and other social networks alive with the news, but just about every tech blog and news source has been talking about nothing else for the last six months, so few could say they were unaware such an event was happening!
That talk though, often led us astray. The overwhelming amount of rumours that circulated, covering everything from redesigns and 4G connectivity to NFC and cheaper models, became frustrating due to the often conflicting stories – leaving many praying for the official event to put an end to the conjecture.
The iPhone 4S’s naming structure follows on from the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and shares the previous model’s design too. That’s right, the iPhone 4S looks exactly the same as the iPhone 4 – everything new is hidden away inside.
Here’s a quick comparison of how the iPhone 4S improves on the iPhone 4:
iPhone 4S uses the dual-core A5 processor. iPhone 4 uses the A4 single-core processor.
An 8 megapixel camera with LED flash. A 5 megapixel camera with LED flash.
1080p video recording with video stabilisation. 720p video recording.
Bluetooth 4.0. Bluetooth 2.1.
As you’ll no doubt notice, the screen isn’t listed above, and that’s because it’s staying the same as the iPhone 4, a 3.5-inch panel with that Retina Display 960 x 640 pixel resolution. The major alteration is the A5 chip, which promises to be twice as fast and produce seven times faster graphics than the A4. Aside from the processor, it’s the iPhone 4S’s camera which has captured headlines. The 8 megapixel camera has a new five-element lens and improved backside illumination, plus face detection, while the new 1080p video recording has video stabilisation and noise reduction too.
Apple promise the new camera will be to super-quick too, with a 1.1 second shutter delay for the first image, and then just 0.5 of a second for the second.
The iPhone 4S will be a world phone, combining GSM and CDMA radios and antennas, and the steel band antenna has been redesigned to improve call quality and reception.
Apple also spoke about the iPhone 4S matching data speeds seen on US ’4G’ networks, although the 4S isn’t a 4G device. This is because the phone will support the fastest possible HSDPA connections, resulting in anything up to 14.4Mbps download speeds.
Of course, staple features such as GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, digital compass, the gyroscope, accelerometer and proximity sensor are all carried over. The iPhone 4S has also been given AirPlay mirroring at 720p, so you can stream directly to your Apple TV from your phone. Finally, the battery will now return 8 hours of 3G talktime, but has had the standby reduced to 200 hours from the iPhone 4′s 300 hours.
Both the iPhone 4 and 4S will run the latest iOS 5 software, but the iPhone 4S will be the only model to run Apple’s new personal assistant, Siri. Using voice recognition technology, you’ll be able to tell your phone to do a wide variety of tasks, from setting reminders, create and reply to texts, check the weather, answer email and search the web. Siri is quite clever too, as it not only understands different ways of phrasing questions, but will learn and remember what you’ve asked previously.
Pricing has yet to be confirmed by UK networks, but Apple will sell you a SIM-free 16GB iPhone 4S for £499, which is the same price as the iPhone 4 was on its release. It’s going up for pre-order from 7 October, and will be released a week later on 14 October.
The iPhone 4S is a significant step forward over the iPhone 4, bringing the device inline with the competition in all but one area – the screen size. Apple has been vocal about disliking massive phone screens, and the current market obsession with 4-inch, 4.3-inch and even 4.5-inch touch panels just isn’t their style.
However, big screens are definitely Android’s style, with the Samsung Galaxy S II matching the iPhone 4S’s key specs and boasting a larger 4.3-inch AMOLED display. But, if Apple is to lose out to any device thanks to their decision not to revise the design, then it’s the phones just over the horizon. For example, the Nexus Prime equipped with Android Ice Cream Sandwich (if it’s really strong) could steal a lot of headlines in the next few weeks, as could Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 handsets if they’re as ‘awesome’ as has been rumoured.
But this is an Apple phone, which means there will be hordes of fans ready to buy the iPhone 4S regardless of screen size or lack of redesign.The question is, will you be one of them?
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