On Friday, October 14, 2011, the iPhone 4S was publicly released, and if you were one of the lucky ones to get your hands on one – you’re already aheads most of us. For anyone that still has the original iPhone 4, I put together a list of differences between what you currently have and what you could have if you upgrade the the “S”.
If you’re into cosmetics, then the iPhone 4S won’t make you happy. The phone has the exact dimensions, design and casing as the original. (Think back to the 3G and then 3GS), the phone stayed exactly the same. It’s what’s inside that has been revamped.
Unlike the exterior, there are major improvements inside (where it really matters) in the form of an upgraded processor. A dual-core A5 chip (same as the iPad 2) clocked in at 800mhz. The 4S has 512 MB of onboard RAM. It is available in 3 sizes – 16 GB, 32 GB, and new to the 4S, a 64 GB model size.
As for signals, the 4S has a dual-mode CDMA/GSM chipset, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. A digital compass, GPS chip, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and three axis gyroscope all come included in this generation iPhone.
The rear camera has been replaced from the 5MP in the iPhone 4 to an 8 Mexgapixel in the 4S with improved optics which now delivers point and shoot quality photos. Comparable to actually carrying a dedicated digital camera. Video can now be shot in 1080 p (HD) with the upgraded camera. The inner camera remains unchanged and shoots in measly VGA resolution (same as the original).
In keynote address by Apple, just two weeks ago, there is an extra hour (talk time) given to the 4S while on 3G. In early tests, I’ve found that a full 16 hours of making calls, browsing the net, downloading apps, there was still battery left before plugging it in before bed. Business users will find this helpful while light users will rarely have to be worried about running out of juice on the road.
The iPhone 4S comes pre-loaded with the first public release of iOS 5, and can be setup without ever connecting to a PC. The first retail iPhone that is completely untethered. Setup your phone but following the on-screen guide.
Read about all of iOS 5 features in a recent blog post that also covers iMessage, Newsstand, Reminders, Notifications, plus more which are all new to the recent iOS update.
As for what’s specifically been created to work with the iPhone 4S, that can’t be had with any previous generation, is the intelligent assistant – know as Siri. Siri uses a combination of voice recognition, logic processing, and text-to-speech to interpret requests and follow conversations. Using Siri, you can use natural language to get directions, send text messages, schedule reminders or appointments, suggestions for dinner, plus tonnes more. Not only does Siri understand what you’re saying to it, it understands the context in which you’re saying it — so for instance, if you try and schedule a meeting on top of another meeting, Siri will warn you and ask if you’d like to change the time of your new appointment, and it’ll listen as you tell it a new time.
Siri can also process and answer basic and not-so-basic questions utilizing the WolframAlpha engine (like, “how many cups are in a gallon”), and the software pulls in Yelp data to help you find things like restaurants or movie theaters. When in doubt, Siri will do a web search based on your questions.
Siri also learns things about you and the people around you. You can tell Siri who your wife or brother is. You can tell Siri where you work and live. The software will read or write text messages using voice commands, and can also take dictation in any field where you can use a keyboard. If you ask it things like “do I need a raincoat today,” it understands and responds as a human being would. You can tell it to wake you up at a certain time and it knows to set an alarm, and if you ask Siri how to get home from somewhere, it’ll give you directions in the Maps application
Part of the iOS 5 release, it’s not specific to the iPhone 4S but offers ‘magical’ syncing capabilities between all your iDevices and MacBook Pro, iMac, etc. If you had the opportunity to experience MobileMe, you’ll already have a taste of what iCloud has in store for you now. I recently covered all of iCloud’s features in this blog post.