iPhone 4s vs iPhone 4: Do You Really Need to Upgrade?
Tuesday October 4th 2011 was an exciting day for iDevice fans around the world. During Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone Event” in California, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the public to the iPhone 4s. Though AT&T has received over 200,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4s, not every Apple fan is ready to upgrade. The previously rumored iPhone 5 had many iPhone owners anticipating a completely redesigned iPhone. In reality, the iPhone 4s is physically similar to the iPhone 4, but the new iPhone does have some major hardware upgrades and some new software. Before making an upgrade decision, all iPhone 4 owners should take a good look at the new features and decide if the iPhone 4s is right for them.
Better Call Quality
The poor signal and bad call quality of the iPhone 4 caused a great deal of customer dissatisfaction. Dropped calls, slow download speeds, and overall connection problems made it difficult for some iPhone customers to enjoy the full iPhone experience. Apple has blamed this major problem on a poorly designed internal antenna. The new iPhone 4s has two antennas which will provide users with a more consistent signal. In addition to fewer dropped calls, iPhone 4s users will also have download speeds of up to 14.4Mbits/s (twice the speed of the earlier iPhone models) thanks to the HSDPA (enhanced 3G mobile technology) upgrade.
One of the most serious iPhone 4 flaws was the phone’s camera. Customers often complained about the low picture quality of the 5-megapixel or 3-megapixel iPhone 4 camera, and the substandard 720p video capture. In response to customer feedback, Apple has improved the camera on the iPhone 4s. The new iPhone model has a 8-megapixel camera and can record 1080p videos.
Storage and memory have always been a major concern for iPhone owners. Having to constantly delete or transfer files to make room for new pictures, ebooks, or music can severely impact a person’s ability to enjoy their iPhone. The iPhone 4s has more storage capacity options and the 8GB internal storage option has been removed entirely. iPhone 4s owners can choose between the 16GB, 32GB, and the brand new 64GB internal memory drive options.
One of the most important changes made to the iPhone 4s is the new processor chip. The iPhone 4s uses the new Apple A5 chip. Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller claims the dual-core processor will provide twice the power of the single-core A4 chip used in the iPhone 4. Apple has also stated that the iPhone 4s A5 chip will boost the graphics performance to at least seven times speed of the iPhone 4.
Apple announced the new IOS 5 operating system during the Apple iPhone 4s product launch. The new operating system improves social media integration and claims to have a better screen lock. However, the IOS 5 operating system will also be available for iPhone 4 users before the iPhone 4s goes on sale October 14th 2011. While Apple says the new operating system will perform better on the iPhone 4s, it is useable on the iPhone 4.
In an effort to make iPhone use more convenient for users, Apple has created Siri, a voice control program designed for use with the iPhone 4s. Siri can perform basic tasks such as send a text message or initiate a call making it similar to other voice recognition programs. However, Siri can also be used to perform more advanced tasks such as answer questions, schedule meetings, and even set alarms. During the Apple “Lets Talk iPhone” event senior vice president of iPhone Software Scott Forstall demonstrated the new Siri technology by asking for restaurant recommendations, checking the NASDAQ and more.
Click here to view the Siri demo video
More Network Capabilities
Apple’s new iPhone 4s will not be limited to AT&T customers like the original iPhone 3GS, and it will not just be available for AT&T or Verizon customers; the iPhone 4s will be available on the Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless networks. This change has made the iPhone a viable option for a large group of wireless customers. The iPhone 4s will also support GSM and CDMA networks making it a worldwide phone.
The iPhone 4s is not much different from the iPhone 4 or even the iPhone 3GS when it comes to size. Apple’s latest iPhone has the same physical dimensions of its predecessors (4.5×2.3x.4) and weighs only one ounce more (4.9 oz) than the iPhone 4. The screen size also remains the same staying 3.5-inch with a 960-by640 display.
Like many smartphones the iPhone has been plagued by a poor battery life. While the iPhone 4 had a better battery life than the iPhone 3GS, the question is; will the iPhone 4s have a better battery life? The answer is yes and no. Apple has focused on promoting the 8 hours of talk time on the iPhone 4s since that talk time is one hour more than the iPhone 4. Unfortunately, that manufacturer estimate is only for 3G talk time meaning the talk time when using the enhanced HSDPA 3G may be less than 8 hours.
The iPhone 4s talk time on 2G remains the same along with the 6 hour battery life when transferring data at 3G speeds. Sadly, the battery life when transferring data using WiFi has dropped to 9 hours for the iPhone 4s. Worse, the total standby hours of battery life have gone from 300 standby hours for the iPhone 4 to just 200 standby hours for the iPhone 4s.
The Bottom Line
Apple’s iPhone 4s has many exciting features that will make using the iPhone more enjoyable for many users. The faster speeds, better call quality, accurate voice recognition, and larger storage capacity all make the iPhone 4s worth the upgrade. However, any person who is not ready to upgrade to the iPhone 4s will benefit from the October 14th 2011 release. The iPhone 4s launch will lead to a price drop on the iPhone 4, and some of the new features (such as the IOS 5 operating system) can be used on the iPhone 4.