The iPhone 4S looks the same in physical design to the iPhone 4 and uses much of the same software, but it boasts a handful of new hardware improvements that make it a formidable upgrade for the iPhone power user. Among the changes to the familiar, but faster, iPhone 4S are a voice-activated assistant called Siri and improved resolutions for video and photographic performance.
One of the most hyped features of the iPhone 4S is Siri, the interactive, voice-powered assistant that is able to understand natural language and stay contextually aware of current conversations to respond to requests to send messages, set reminders, provide directions and inform about weather conditions. Siri also supports dictation in applications that use the virtual keyboard and can transcribe small pieces of text.
Another big change between the two models lies in the chipset. While the iPhone 4’s single-core, 1 GHz A4 processor is no slouch when it comes to performance, users will notice a perceptible difference with the new iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S sports a faster processor in the dual-core A5 chip, the same processor that fuels the iPad 2. Apple claims that the new processor brings twice as much power and a sevenfold improvement in performance with graphics-intensive applications.
Camera and Video
Apple has also upgraded the video and camera capabilities with the iPhone 4S. The rear-facing, 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S is a vast improvement over the 5-megapixel one on the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S camera also features a five-element custom lens and wider f/2.4 aperture to improve brightness and low light performance. The iPhone 4 is limited to a four-element lens. The rear-facing camera of the 4S records video at resolutions of 1080 pixels, compared to the 720 pixels of the iPhone 4. The video resolution of the front-facing cameras on both models is the same.
The base model of the iPhone 4 offered 8GB of storage, capping off at 16GB. The iPhone 4S, in contrast, starts off with a base model of 16GB and offers models with 32GB and 64GB storage.
The iPhone 4S boasts a slight one-hour improvement in battery life over 3G networks with a talk time of eight hours. The standby time, however, decreases from 300 hours on the iPhone 4 to 200 hours on the iPhone 4S.Cellular and Wireless Capabilities
The iPhone 4S has evolved into a world phone, supporting both GSM and CDMA networks. After all the reception issues that “Antennagate” caused following the release of the iPhone 4, Apple opted to implement a two-antenna system with the 4S. This improves call quality by allowing the 4S to switch between the two antennas while transmitting and receiving data. While Apple’s specifications state that the 4S supports speeds of up 14.4 megabits per second, the reality is that speed depends on the cellular network. Finally, Bluetooth 4.0 made its debut in the 4S, whereas iPhone 4 has had to survive on Bluetooth 2.1.Pricing
The release of the iPhone 4S caused prices to drop on the 4, but the iPhone 4’s lower storage capacity and slightly cheaper cost may be no match for the higher-capacities of the 4S. Paying a little extra for more storage may be a worthwhile investment. For entry-level users of the smartphone, the iPhone 4 remains a perfectly acceptable choice in terms of cost and feature-richness.