Should You Buy the Apple iPhone 4S? Pre-Orders Begin October 7th- For AT&T, Verizon and…Sprint!
Apple surprised us with the announcement of their new phone, the “iPhone 4S.” After a year of rumors, we were all awaiting the announcement of the “iPhone 5″ at today’s Apple press conference held at the Apple campus in Cupertino. And while the new phone will have the same basic shape as the iPhone 4, it’s not the same phone. Still, will you want to buy it, particularly if you are upgrading from an iPhone 4? (Check the end of the article for a link to pre-order.) Many of the features announced were a recap of the June announcements about the iOS 5 update for iPhones, iPads and some iPods, yet the iPhone 4S has an improved camera and other hardware upgrades. If those upgrades aren’t enough to convince you, and may see ho-hum, keep reading. I bet that Siri, the personal assistant, will get you excited.
Should You Upgrade From Your iPhone 4?
The Only Digital Camera You May Ever Need?
Apple is promoting the idea that “the best camera is the one you have with you.” That is, you always have your phone with you but you may not have your pocket digital camera. With the iPhone 4S, they are giving you a better camera. Now you can get photos that are as good as those you take with the point-and-shoot camera that you forgot to bring along.
Many smart phones are upgrading to higher megapixel cameras and the iPhone 4S is following suit. The iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera compared to the iPhone 4 that has a 5-megapixel camera. However, unless you are blowing up your photos to make posters, the megapixels aren’t the most important part of a digital camera. It is the other hardware upgrades that will improve your photos.
No doubt, the iPhone 4 has done well when shooting in bright daylight, but its lens and sensor (that captures the photos) did little for photos taken in less-than-perfect settings. The upgrades to the iPhone 4S should help you to shoot better pictures in more situations.
Better lens – the iPhone 4S has a five-element lens with a wide aperture of f2.4. Translation: The photos will be clearer and you can shoot in darker (low light) situations–at night, indoors or in candlelight. The wide aperture of the lens also makes it possible to shoot in lower light, or to stop action when shooting sports in bright light. The wide aperture, combined with the five-elements of the lens will give you consistently bright, crystal clear photos instead of grainy photos with little color.
Faster and Better Sensor – the iPhone 4S has an improved CMOS sensor. The sensor is the part of a camera that captures the image (think of it as the film for a digital camera). Unlike film, once the photo is captured, it is saved to your phones memory, and the sensor is ready to capture the next photo. How fast the phone can save the photo, and how quickly the sensor reacts, dictates how soon your camera is ready to take another photo. The iPhone 4S sensor is reportedly faster than any other smartphone camera on the market. In other words, you can shoot action shots or be ready to take candid photos and not miss the moment.
The sensor can capture 73% more light. More light (along with other color-enhancing features) means more accurate colors with less of that grainy look.
With the iPhone 4S, Apple has finally given you a complete solution for handling your photos. After you take your photo, you no longer need to go to a 3rd party app to edit and enhance it. You can adjust the photo, crop it, remove red-eye, and so forth, right from the camera app.
Bottom Line: If it is important to you to shoot better photos than on your current smartphone or iPhone 4, then upgrade to an iPhone 4S. It may even be better than your current point-and-shoot pocket digital camera. I’ll let you know when I test it out…
Do You Want Full High Definition Videos?
The iPhone 4S has joined the party with 1080p full high definition so your videos will look even better on your 50-inch HDTV. It also has image stabilization to improve the picture, because most of us have shaky hands when holding a small camera phone.
Basically, there is nothing spectacular about the new video features other than it will probably perform as well as any Flip or other mini-video camera out there. Again, the best camera is the one you have with you. Refer to the benefits of the iPhone 4S still camera for help making your decision.
The iPhone 4 lets you press the home button for voice commands. But it only accepts basic commands like “call,” or “play song.” The iPhone 4S has upgraded this feature to what is called “Siri.” As demonstrated at the press conference, if you hold down the phone’s home button and ask the Siri Assistant, “Who are you?” Siri will reply “I am a humble personal assistant.”
Parlor games aside, Siri is a powerful voice command tool that allows you to organize your life using conversational commands.
With simple commands, Siri can:
- give you daily, weekly, even hourly weather reports,
- be told to set an alarm to wake you,
- tell you the time in Paris,
- read you a text from your friend, then
- check your calendar to see if you have free time to schedule a meeting, then
- note the meeting in your calendar, then
- send a reply text to your friend (you simply say, “reply” and dictate the text message)
- search Yelp for restaurants or bars and sort them by rating, then
- find the restaurant on the map and show you directions, then
- find your friend’s address so you can pick them up first,
- set up reminders,
- search the web,
- find a word in the dictionary…
- and probably sing “Daisy” (ala the failing HAL computer in the movie “2001- A Space Odyssey”) or at least play the song in iTunes or find the movie or the song on the web!
Rest assured, Siri is such an exciting feature, that I’ll be first in line to pre-order the iPhone 4S!
Other Reasons to Buy an iPhone 4s:
- You are on Sprint, and the iPhone 4s is finally available for Sprint subscribers.
- You travel to many foreign countries. The iPhone 4S is both CDMA and GSM compatible so it can work just about anywhere in the world. (Check with you cellphone company, data and voice charges will apply!)
Ready, Set, Go!–How to Order the iPhone 4s
Pre-orders begin October 7th and the iPhone 4S will be delivered on October 14th. The 16 GB version will be $199 with a contract, the 32 GB will be $299, and the 64 GB will be $399.
Before you run out and buy the cheapest version, consider that the high definition video and 8 megapixel photos will quickly fill up your phone’s memory unless you take advantage of syncing features using the iCloud. You may want to buy an iPhone with more memory. The iCloud will be available on October 12, as will the iOS5 upgrade for existing iPads and devices. iOS5 will be required to use many of the features that were announced last summer. I’ll be here to help you through iOS5 as soon as it is available.
If you want to see the whole press conference, including more hardware changes (including better reception/transmission) that have been made to the iPhone 4S, check out the live blog on Engadget. If you want the details on the iPhone 4S hardware, check out its Apple specs page.
Special thanks to http://www.Engadget.com and http://www.Gizmodo.com whose live feeds made it possible to learn the news in real time for those of us who could not be at the press conference today!