After months of rumours and waiting the new iPhone has finally been announced yesterday. The iPhone 4S looks the same as the iPhone 4, but inside it’s a whole new beast. I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed at first as I have hoped for a major refresh, the iPhone 5. After living over a year with an iPhone 4 in my pocket I wanted to have something different. But was there a real need for a redesign? Probably not. There is nothing wrong with the iPhone 4, and if there is nothing wrong, then why change it?
Yes, iPhone 4 might be over a year old, but it’s design has proven to be very successful. Build quality is exceptionally high, it’s beautiful, works well in day to day use. And perhaps most importantly when you pick it up it feels like a perfectly engineered device, a solid block of glass and steel. You can’t really say this about any other phone out there.
The iPhone 4S is all about what’s inside. As expected it’s based on the Apple’s latest A5 SoC. What I love the most about my iPad 2 is just how fast it is. I even found myself preferring to use non-optimised iPhone apps on it just because they are so much faster on the iPad. Thanks to the dual core A5 in the iPhone 4S I won’t have to keep doing it anymore. Speed makes all the difference. When a device is fast and responsive it is just so much more pleasant to use.
I take a lot of photographs every day. New camera is what I’m excited the most about the iPhone 4S. Although I have a number of cameras, most of the time when I need to take a picture I have only my iPhone with me, the best camera is the one you have with you.
Never before did Apple put so much emphasis on the camera and talked so much about it’s specs and abilities. The new backside illuminated 8MP sensor inside iPhone 4S offers 60% more pixels then iPhone 4. The custom designed 5 element lens makes pictures 30% sharper then before, wider f/2.4 aperture lets in more light that helps to make images brighter, especially in low light conditions. And thanks to the A5 camera works really fast, it takes 1.1 seconds to take a first picture and just half a second to capture a subsequent one. This is important when you need to capture a moment that’s happening right now and reduces chances of getting a ruined blurred shot. Apple posted a gallery of unedited full resolution sample shots that look absolutely amazing. Yes, most of them were shot in bright daylight, but if my shots will be even half as good I will be really happy.
Improvements didn’t stop only on stills. iPhone can now capture full 1080p high definition video at 30 frames per second. You also get tap to focus while you shoot and there is that handy LED light. But as if it wan’t enough, iPhone 4S features a video stabilisation system, it uses the build-in gyroscope and software to stabilise your video as you shoot it. This completely blows my mind! Who needs a camcorder now? It really shows what the iPhone is capable of!
The biggest new feature of the iPhone 4S is Siri, the widely rumoured virtual assistant that lets you use your voice to interact with the phone in a natural way like you would be with another person. It will recognise what you say and not only respond, but also show any relevant information on the screen. Again the demo video is impressive!
I’m a little bit sceptical about voice recognition as I didn’t have much luck with Apple’s previous attempt. I’ve struggled with voice commands for a few days after getting 3GS and then gave it up, never to use again. But so far media has been very positive about Siri. Darren from Engadget said: “It worked as well as Scott’s demo up on the stage. There’s nothing better to say than that.” Sounds very promising and I’m looking forward to try it out myself!
Apple will start taking pre-orders for iPhone 4S this Friday and a week later it will begin selling in the UK, USA and 5 other countries.