iPhone 4S Review
On the morning of 4th of October some event was occurring in a hall in California but it’s reach was far from limited to that hall or to California or even to the US. Whole world was wide awake to witness what could easily be touted as the most awaited and anticipated event in the electronics and gadget world. The buzz was around for quite some months that something big was going to happen on this day. Probably the most famous computer and electronics brand Apple as supposed to make some big announcement about its products and services introducing and launching new products and features in existing products.
There were lot of words and rumors floating around in the air like iOS 5, iCloud, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S etc. Some of it we already knew was due to happen for sure. Apple had already announced the planned launch of iOS 5 and iCloud and it was announced as expected with the introduction of its features, details, and availability.
However, the biggest mystery that hung around the event was regarding Apple’s world famous mobile phone – iPhone. There had been lot many posts which suggested to have revealed some glimpses of next iPhone i.e. iPhone 5 which was expected to be a huge leap ahead of iPhone 4 with new design and technology. Few prototype features were proposed such as ‘teardrop’ design and single-back body. There were some parallel rumors of Apple introducing two new versions of iPhone, one the higher end version which was supposed to be iPhone 5 and a more economical version for mass audience which was termed as iPhone 4S. The rumors had been doing lot of to and fro among these for the past few months and the suspense was continuously building up. It only got amplified with a potentially generation changing news of Apple’s flag bearer Steve Jobs resigning as the CEO of the company. So apart from the releases, the big question was what Jobs’ successor Tim Cook had in store for us.
The air got cleared and suspense dismissed at the event as Tim took stage and started unveiling the offerings one by one. First was iOS 5, then the iCloud, and finally came the iPhone. As the air cleared, it didn’t seem so much exciting a device which turned out to be iPhone 4S, only an improved version of iPhone 4.
So, let’s look in detail at what Apple has presented as the new version of world’s most famous phone – iPhone 4. As with the third generation of iPhone the nomenclature followed with an S, so the new iPhone was called iPhone 4S. S primarily stands for Speed, but you can associate more with it as we will find out later.
So, first things first, how have the major specs changed.
- Processor and Graphics: iPhone 4S has got the A5 dual-core processor which was used in iPads till now. This processor is supposed to be a big improvement from A4 processor as it is twice as fast as its predecessor. Moreover, the graphics processing capability has been increased many times and graphics processing has become 7 times as fast as the previous one. Apple’s launch event showed a live demo of the graphics capabilities of the new phone through the demo of a game that had very fine enhanced graphics features. With this enhanced processor, iPhone 4S has become highly quick and responsive which becomes quite evident when you launch any app, browse Internet, play games, or do anything else on the phone. Most importantly A5 processor is also claimed to be much more battery efficient leading to much longer battery life. So now iPhone 4S will have a talk time of up to 8 hours on 3G and 14 hours on 2G networks. You can use Internet for up to 6 hours on 3G and 9 hours on Wi-Fi. Audio and video playback times have become 40 hours and 10 hours respectively with a standby time of 200 hours. As we have seen with previous versions, Apple almost lives up to its claims of battery life on its products so these increased usage times should be a big plus for the users.
- Camera: The next major improvement in the iPhone 4S is on the camera. The camera has been made 8 mega pixel improving it from the previous 5 mega pixel camera. And that is not all. There are a number of improvements in the hardware of the camera which provide very high quality images. Lens and optics have been improved with a larger aperture of f/2.4 for sharper and brighter images. Other advanced optics features include backlight illumination sensor, auto white balance, color accuracy through IR filter, face detection and reduced motion blur. The image capturing time has also been reduced considerably so that you don’t miss any important moment and can click a picture in less than a second.
A number of photo editing features have also been provided right in the phone so that you don’t need to use any photo editing software on your computer for cropping, rotating, or enhancing your photographs.
Full HD 1080p video recording capability has been provided on iPhone 4S which provides videos with great lighting, colors, and clarity. Video stabilization has been improved to provide steadier video of shaky shots. And just like photos, videos can also be edited right in the phone itself.
However, these are still not the greatest features for which iPhone 4S is being talked about. The secret lies in the name that Apple gave to this event ‘Let’s Talk iPhone’ and it has been introduced under the name Siri. It is a voice recognition and interpretation capability through which you can use your iPhone by simply talking to it. Based on what you say or ask, iPhone will use an appropriate app to follow your command and will respond to you accordingly. Most interestingly, there are no fixed set of commands and you can talk normally as would do with anybody. It has been armed with great language interpretation capabilities, so that you can talk what you are thinking and don’t have to remember specific commands to make your iPhone work. For example, if you want to know about today’s weather you can do it either by asking “How is the weather looking today” or “Should I need to carry my umbrella today”. These both questions will give the response you need, just by talking and listening, as iPhone will use the weather app to provide you the weather update for today.
So you can make phone calls, set reminders and alarms, search news and internet, listen and respond to messages, and much more by using conversational mode just like you would talk you your assistant. Siri will help you out with these functions just like your personal assistant. For example, if you ask “Tell me some good burger place around”. It will use the map or location app and will respond “I found some burger joints near you”. If now you ask for something else other than burger, it will understand the context that you were looking for eating joints and obediently keep on looking for the places till you find what you are looking for.
There is an endless list of tasks that Siri can perform for you on your iPhone 4S. It will not only recognize the tasks but even persons, places, or things you are talking about. If you want to call your wife, just ask Siri “Call my wife”. It will know who your wife is and it will place the call. In this way it uses information from your contact list and knows everybody there. Just ask to find direction to a place and it will open the Maps app with the directions to the place you asked for. You can also know about stuff on the web through sources like WolframAlpha and Yelp. Just ask Siri to set up a meeting with anybody or set a reminder about anything, it will do it for you exactly as you asked it. It will also play music for you as you ask it.
This voice recognition capability has also been included to do dictation on iPhone for things like writing emails and messages, taking notes or searching the web.
Apart from these there are two major updates that are not exclusive to iPhone 4S but seriously improve and increase the functionality of the phone.
First is the new version of Apple’s mobile device software iOS 5. It has numerous new features, 200 as per Apple’s claims. The most important of these are the new iMessage app, notification center, and Twitter Integration. Notification center a one-stop place to see all the notifications from multiple places like new messages, new emails, missed calls, social networking updates, and reminders. It will appear by just sliding down your finger from the top on your phone and notification center will open listing the updates. It is much like the notification feature in the Android phones, so it’s nothing new as far as the market is concerned, but still is new on iPhone.
Next one is the resident messaging app iMessage through which people using iOS 5 on their devices can chat among each other over a data connection for free. Again this is not new to the world as Blackberry phones have already been using the Blackberry Messenger for long time now.
iOS 5 is claimed to have lot of new features like these, but still remains to be seen how much more useful these features will be to iOS 5 users.
Now, last but not the least, probably the biggest update from Apple this year is the launch of Apple’s own cloud based service named as iCloud. Cloud based services have become the common talk of the work today and Cloud computing is being implemented by most of the organizations for their software and services.
Apple has caught the same nerve of the technology world of today and introduced the cloud based data and file storage service for the users of its devices. It will be available with iOS 5 and can be used to store music files, documents, photos, apps, mail, contacts, calendars etc. on the web and share them seamlessly among all of the Apple devices used by a user. For example, if you purchase a music album from your iPhone, it will get added to the cloud and will be accessible through iTunes on your other devices like iPod and iPad. You won’t have to make any extra effort to upload them to the cloud as the apps have been automatically integrated with iCloud and will sync the data and files automatically and effortlessly.
This makes the use of Apple devices much more convenient and meaningful, so that you are not limited to which device you are using and what time, but most of the things one of your devices automatically get pushed to other devices. So if you use iTunes, your complete iTunes collection goes with you everywhere, no matter you use the Mac, iPhone, iPad, or your iPod touch.
Same with the photos – when you click a picture from any of your device, it just appears on all of your devices connected with the cloud just like that, so you never have to remember which of your photos were on which device. Everything is everywhere now.
It becomes much more useful with documents, presentations, and reports, as they are not just commonly stored on iCloud but they are kept updated all the time synchronously. When you change or update any of your document, the changes get reflected automatically and instantaneously on the cloud so you can view the updated versions from everywhere.
Even though the much anticipated iPhone 5 was not launched by Apple this time, with all these new updates, iPhone 4S is still a big leap ahead and will improve the functionality and usability a lot for the users of Apple’s devices worldwide.
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