This might not ever affect sales, but from the enthusiast point-of-view, the iPhone 4S seems to have a left a lot on the table, especially given the extended, 16-month wait. And after all, who cares about sales figures? We’ll leave those up to the business folks and concern ourselves with the tech.
So how do the two phones stack up when put head-to-head? Check out the chart below to see…The bold points on the back of the iPhone 4S box (if Apple would ever do such a thing) would be: Siri voice-activated personal assistant, the A5 processor, improved graphics, an improved camera, 1080p video, faster download speeds, a CMDA+GSM chip, and an intelligent antenna. On the non-hardware side the iPhone 4S will add Sprint, making for availability on three of the four nationwide US carriers. And, of course, there is the upcoming iOS 5, but that’ll land on older handsets as well.
On the physical, design-wise front the iPhone 4S appears to be identical to the iPhone 4. It’s the same glass sandwich design, the same size, and just about the same weight. (We’ll have full specifications once Apple’s website stabilizes.)
So, like the 3GS, the iPhone 4S is all about more. The “s” ostensibly stands for “speed” but it brings more storage (the iPhone finally goes up to 64GB), more speed (2x the theoretical download speed), more image quality (with better low-light performance), more video resolution, more RAM, and more processing power. I’ll reserve judgement for now, but the typical iPhone 4 owner probably won’t be clamoring for an upgrade. In other words, like the 3GS, the iPhone 4S looks like a reasonable evolution of Apple handset, but something that will be outpaced by rapidly released Android phones in a matter of months.
This is not to say that the iPhone 4S is a boring release. It’s easy to look at the same hardware and feel like nothing changed, but buyers will still be met with a first-class phone. The improvements to the camera are sizable and the inclusion of the A5 processor means that this is going to be powerful device… one that Apple says will have 8 hours of battery life. What’s more is that the Siri personal assistant could be a killer feature, if anyone uses it.
Disappointed iPhone users should keep hope alive though — maybe it’ll turn out that all those iPhone 5 rumors (NFC, 4G, etc.) were true, they just got the date wrong. A less-than-groundbreaking iPhone 4S could clear the way for a much more exciting phone sometime in 2012.
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