iPhone 4S: what's the verdict?

When you look closely, it’s not such a gentle upgrade, after all

The new iPhone hits the streets today and, as usual, there have been queues of eager Apple fans outside Apple Stores for days. With over 1 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours, it’s expected to sell well.





But this seems like the slightest of improvements over last year’s model. Apple’s handset now has a 1GHz dual-core central processor but others are faster. The iPhone display is still 3.5ins - small next to many smartphones.



So why is the iPhone 4S, which even lacks a shiny new design (it looks nearly identical to last year’s iPhone 4) set to conquer? I’ve been using it for a week to find out.



Well, beauty is more than skin deep, we know. Apple seems to have taken this to heart, giving the phone a big internal makeover. The new, peppy processor may be outgunned by rivals, but this is fast enough: apps launch instantly and web pages build fast.



Then there’s Apple’s secret weapon. It’s called Siri, a voice-activated personal assistant, which nobody else has. Sure, there are apps like Vlingo and Dragon Dictation which offer impressive voice recognition for dictating messages, but Siri goes further. You talk in colloquial English, for a start. Ask if it’s going to be chilly in London tomorrow (though, to be fair, that’s an easy one) and it’ll say “No, seven degrees doesn’t seem all that cold”. Follow up with “How about Monday?” and Siri tells you Monday’s weather.



It’s integrated into the phone so you can ask it to remind you to pick up your dry cleaning when you leave work. When the phone’s GPS spots you’re moving, it pings you a message.



It’s not perfect – the software is still in beta stage – and struggles in noisy environments, but Siri at its best is dazzling.



The other reason the iPhone 4S is likely to thrive is because it fixes the biggest problem of the iPhone 4: signal quality. The retooled antenna system is superb.



There’s an updated OS which makes it the most advanced, accessible interface available plus a hardware design that remains as beautiful as it was last year. That display isn’t huge but it has the highest density of pixels of any phone (and it shows). Overall, when you look closely, it’s not such a gentle upgrade, after all.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst

    £20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Managed IT Services Provid...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

    £20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer / Developer

    £12000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: New Full-time, Part-time and Fr...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Web and UI Designer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific