Apple expect to shift 23 million devices over the Christmas season
The wait is finally over and the internet can breathe a collective sigh of relief as the next round of iPhone anticipation begins in earnest this week with the official announcement of the iPhone 4S! Apple’s new CEO was at the helm, replacing the ailing Steve Jobs just over 2 months ago, to announce the latest incarnation of the company’s flagship device due to go on sale on the 14th Oct. Apple expect to shift 23 million devices over the Christmas season and initial indications are that the improvements will prove popular with fanboys and will tempt many a user to upgrade from their now expired two year contracts on the iPhone 3 and 3GS models. So what’s new?
Against what was speculated the iPhone 4S carries the exact same design as the current iPhone 4. Nothing has changed on the outside that would signify that this was the new phone.
The New Processor
As with all Apple’s iterations there is a speed or power boost and it's in the form of the dual core A5 chip, the exact same as that which powers the iPad 2 and a x7 times more powerful graphics chip. The iPhone 4S does load and runs apps substantially faster than the iPhone 4, but with the iPad, backwards compatibility always required the developers to slowly push the envelope supporting iPhone and the original iPad. Angry Birds still looks the same. We suspect with a broader penetration, we will now finally see killer graphics intensive app that can show off the extra grunt this generation of devices has. All this power does not affect the battery as you will get 8 hours of talk over 3G, and 14 hours of 2G, while web browsing over 3G cuts off at six hours. Using WiFi you'll get a respectable 9 hours of web, video playback tops out at 10 hours and music at 40 hours.
Now forget that pretty new internals. The real star of this new product is a myriad of changes for the iPhone’s heart and soul, iOS 5, hitting your phones on Oct 12th. Some of it is playing catch up with the new upstarts on the block, but the apple polish makes it cohesive, beautiful, and easy to use. The most obvious change is the new notifications system, which could be seen as a clone of the Android style, using a top slider to expose the latest updates. Those annoying popup bubbles are gone, so if you're watching a movie and someone sends you a text - a little bar flips down from the top to alert you—then after just enough time to see it, it flips back up. The same goes for any push notification. Simple! iOS 5's notifications are orderly and rational. Neat lines of notifications for any app that can provide them; your Twitter mentions, your Facebook updates, your missed calls, received texts. Each app is separated into clean sections, with the ability to easily clear if you want to dispense with them.
Gone are is the searching for the iPhone cable as the new OS allows for wi-fi syncing, again a feature of the windows phones set but taken and used to good effect. Apple has also taken on the current king of mobile-to-mobile instant messaging, BlackBerry Messaging, with its own take dubbed iMessage. iMessage is integrated right into the Messages app on the iPhone, which is now present on the iPad for the first time. Apple touted the service's ability to recognize when you're messaging someone else eligible for iMessages. Delivery confirmation is turned on by default, but those of you who don't like the thrill of the chase will be happy to learn that there's an option to disable read receipts. This means that if you don't want the person on the other end to know you've read it, they never will. By default, it works with your Apple ID e-mail address, but you can add as many as you'd like from the settings application after verifying that you do indeed own the account. We should also mention that messages are pushed to all devices you're logged into, so you might want to get used to those push notifications if you carry around an iPad and an iPhone.
One of the most anticipated features before the announcement was native Twitter integration directly inside iOS. And we can confirm, it's now possible to Tweet from within Apple's native apps: websites in Safari, or photos in the Camera app. The "Tweet" button is located under the familiar sharing pane, and ticking it pops up the keyboard along with an overlay that resembles an index card, complete with ruled lines and a paper clip to visualize what you're attaching. Geotagging is available through a simple tap of the "Add Location" option, and one more tap sends the tweet out to all your followers.
Overall the entire new iOS package is given a spit shine and polish (200 new features) with small details throughout - like then new camera button on the lock screen, allowing easy access, Split keyboards are in allowing you to essentially half the keyboard for each thumb and it works quite well and the iPad gets tabbed browsing in Safari, making it similar to the Mac desktop version. The overall feel of the OS is what you've come to expect and no doubt you'll find one of your own personal grips has been fixed.
Everyone wants iCloud to be great because it has the word cloud in it, and clouds are next big thing in tech these days. But iCloud is still just a glorified backup system, which is a let-down. While having your contacts and settings backed up remotely is nice in case of disaster, it’s just not as magic or revolutionary as Apple may want you to believe. IT launches with iOS on Oct 12th.
The new iPhone 4S features a redesigned aerial, to completly put a stop that issue once and for all, by putting in a second aerial. iOS will intelligently switch between two different aerials on the fly to avoid dropping calls no matter how you hold it. These aerials are connected to a dual-mode GSM and CDMA radio that will let Apple's handset roam the globe while enjoying either 14.4Mbps HSPA+ or EV-DO Rev. A.
The New Camera
On the back is the new 8-megapixel camera with a backside illuminated CMOS sensor for better low-light performance. The lens now comes packed in a new 5-element assembly with a hybrid IR filter and sports apertures down to f/2.4. The improved visuals extend to video performance as well. The 4S can record 1080p video and has a new image signal processor for image stabilization and facial recognition, making the handset's camera comparable to many point-and-shoots on the market. The camera is also quite a bit faster than many other smartphone cameras, needing only 1.1 seconds before being ready to take the first shot and only half a second between successive images.
Should you buy it?
If you want the lateset iPhone, of course you should. The iPhone 4S is a minor improvement on what is already the most popular smart phone ever created. With many user's contracts finally coming to an end on the 18 or 24 month deals the networks started with the iPhone 3 and the 3G it would be a very welcome upgrade. If you have the iPhone 4 however, the iOS 5 upgrade will provide you with the bulk of the new features anyway. At an estimated cost of €199 for the 16GB model up to €399 for 64GB model and another 24 month contract with the iPhone 4S or pick up an iPhone 4 considerably cheaper (if not free), it would be hard to recommend the newer model.