The Apple iPhone 4S may not be the iPhone 5, but then the Californian company now with the honour of being the biggest business on the planet never promised it to be.
Rumour, hype and hyperbole whipped us in a frenzy, and whilst the reality of the iPhone 4S might look familiar, the new features and functions under the bonnet are anything but…
First things first, the iPhone 4S is a dramatically different smartphone underneath the overly familiar shell.
Updates include a new A5 dual-core processor (currently starring in the Apple iPad 2), a camera sporting an 8-megapixel lens – also with the ability to film video in 1080p – and an ‘intelligent assistant’ in the form of voice-driven application Siri, all making for an improved handset in the arena that Apple currently shines brightest – user features and functions.
The marvel is what they’ve managed to contain in the same package. An improved battery life, touting 8 hours of 3G talktime and 40 as a mobile music player immediately impresses.
The ability to download data at 4G speeds (as long as the network supports it) is another string in its next-generation bow.
An all-new pair of antennas (hopefully less error-prone!) enables the iPhone 4S to act as a ‘world phone’, operating on both GSM and CDMA networks – perhaps a bullet-point more for those on the other side of the pond, but still impressive.
Consumers are all about the user experience, and the iPhone 4S continues the intuitive touchscreen experience Apple’s devices have become famous for, replete with a bevy of flourishes in the new iOS 5 software.
iOS 5 upgrades include a notification centre which is home to the latest events on your device, free texts to iPod, iPad and other iPhone users with iMessage (more than a shade of BlackBerry Messenger) and the ability to finally put an end to the iPhone’s constant need to connect to a computer with wireless updates as well as data storage on the new web-based iCloud service.
Perhaps some of these innovative ideas were cribbed from the competition, but the enduring march of the Android phones helped Apple realise the iPhone was far from operating in a vacuum and needed to step up in a few key areas, something they have more than done.
Much time during the announcement was spent explaining the improvements in image fidelity from the camera’s new 8-megapixel lens, as well as the graphical grunt and ‘7x’ improved gaming experiences that the A5 chip will deliver, proving to many that hardware leaps ahead had indeed been taken.
As stale as the ‘evolution, not revolution’ line might be – aside from the gear change from the 3GS to 4 – that seems to have been the mantra that Apple has stuck to for the iPhone since the original device back in 2007.
So maybe we shouldn’t be too disappointed with another ‘S’ model…and Siri truly has the potential to change the way we use all technology, not just mobiles.