Apple’s iPhone 4S smartphone, announced on October 11, 2011, includes many features not found in its look-alike predecessor, the iPhone 4. Its computing, camera and cellular components received significant upgrades, and with the 4S, Apple introduced Siri, an intelligent agent program that works with natural spoken language. The iPhone 4 and 4S share the same innovative Retina display, and the 4S runs the same iOS apps that power the 4 and 3GS.
Siri is perhaps the most strikingly innovative feature of the iPhone 4S. It is a voice-activated software system that answers many common questions and performs routine tasks using the iPhone’s apps. For example, you can ask it, “Will it snow today?” Siri looks up the weather for your location and gives you a verbal response. It looks up sports scores and helps you find restaurants and show times for movies. It will research general information available on the Internet. Via the Messages app, you can verbally dictate a text and send it to someone in your Contacts. It can also manage your schedule and rearrange appointments in your Calendar.
The iPhone 4S’s main camera sports an 8-megapixel resolution, facial recognition to help focus still pictures and improved optics including an infrared filter. The camera is quicker to use than the iPhone 4’s, having a first-picture setup time of 1.1 seconds and needing only one-half second between shots. The camera takes full 1080p high-definition video at 30 frames per second. The 4S and 4 both have an additional front-facing camera with VGA resolution that takes video at 30 frames per second.
Cellular and Other Radio Frequency Functions
The 4S has several enhancements in the RF components critical for phone conversations and data. The antenna received a redesign after some users reported problems with dropped calls with the 4. The 4S uses Bluetooth 4.0, which supports a wide range of devices while using less energy than earlier Bluetooth modes. And the 4S switches between GSM and CDMA cellular networks, an improvement over the 4, which runs on one network or the other but not both.
Video Streaming and Mirroring
Apple provides high-definition video connections via Apple TV’s AirPlay; the iPhone 4S now supports this wireless technology. You can stream videos and movies at 1080p to an HD television from the 4S, and it can “mirror,” or duplicate, the action on the screen at 720p as well. This is a handy feature for seminars, using the iPhone to run slide shows and demonstrations, as well as providing a more immersive experience for games.
The lithium-ion battery in the iPhone 4S provides up to eight hours of talk time on a 3G network and 14 hours on 2G. It offers up to 10 hours of video play time and 40 hours of audio. A fully charged 4S gives you up to six hours of 3G Internet browsing and nine hours on a Wi-Fi connection.
Apple is using its dual-core “A5” chip in the iPhone 4S, letting the device run apps with greater speed. According to the technicians at iFixit, the 4S has 512MB of RAM, a high-speed temporary storage used for calculations. Apple offers the 4S as 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, this being the amount of long-term memory storage for apps and data.