As I watched the chatter on a few blogs leading up to the Apple press conference, it became pretty clear there would be no iPhone 5 for now. I’ll admit, I don’t understand why, other than production costs of making new shells. This would surely be recouped by the people buying an iPhone 5 just because it looked different so others would know its the new one. I also don’t understand it, because the 4S is essentially an entirely new phone, certainly enough to justify being a 5 than a 4S.
It still has the retina display and the glass back, despite many rumors the back would now be aluminum. But the insides are all new, starting with the powerful (so Apple says) new A5 chip. It also has a dual-core CPU making it twice as fast. The iPhone 4S also has dual-core graphics, lending speeds up to seven times faster than it’s predecessor. Even though it will be much more powerful, battery life is increasing to 8 hours of talk time. If Apple says 8 hours, then its probably at least that. My iPad is rated at 10 hours, but I get more than that even with heavy usage.
Another important upgrade is the ability to switch between two antennas. Being able to use two antennas instead of a single antenna will allow for better call stability because if the first one drops a call, the second one is there as a back up. This is a first for mobile phones.
Data rates are also increasing. Speeds used to be estimated at 5.8Mbps up and 7.2 down. Now that is doubling to almost 14.4Mbps down. Nice. As stated today, “This is what our competitors call 4G… the iPhone 4S is just as fast as all of these”.
There is also an 8 megapixel sensor, which is really the least important part of the camera if you know much about the relative unimportance of megapixels. First, it will be able to shoot video in 1080p and has image stabilization, but that doesn’t mean stupendous video quality. Still, it should be better than the current version. The sensor is also bigger, allowing the aperture to drop from f/2.8 to f/2.4. The bigger sensor means the camera will get 73% more light. Light is everything in photography. This should help reduce grainy photos, improving overall picture quality.
Also contributing to better pictures is the improved A5 chip. Faster chip means faster picture taking. The time from opening the app to clicking the first picture is now supposed to be 1.1 seconds, with the second picture 0.5 seconds later. The faster chip will record the image faster, letting you take pictures in more rapid succession. This new sensor (and filter) and processor will also help the iPhone 4S improve white balance, which has been something the iPhone has not been very good at in the past.
Have you ever tried to use voice recognition software? For the most part, it really, really stinks. I mean stinks as in rest-stop-bathroom stink. Well, let’s see how the iPhone 4S handles it. One exciting new feature is Siri, your personal assistant. Apple bought Siri early last year and has integrated it into the new phone while keeping the name. Now you can ask your phone, “What is the weather?”, and it will tell you. It can also read you your messages. If all works as described, you should be able to tell your phone to send a text message or email to a person and it will send what you tell it, all hands-free. One apple presenter today stated, ” I just checked my calendar, scheduled a meeting, and got it all read back by Siri.” He did all of this strictly on voice commands. How cool is that? Maybe this is how Apple will convince iPhone 4 owners to upgrade to the 4S.
The iPhone 3GS in 8gb is now free with a 2 year contract. The iPhone 4 is $99. You can pick up an iPhone 4S 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. It will be available on AT&T, Verizon, and now Sprint. Preorders start on October 7th, and it will be available on October 14th.
Are you going to pre-order or wait in line? Or are you going to wait until next year for the iPhone 5?