The iPhone 4S: Did Apple deliver what it needed to?


Another Apple (s aapl) press event has come and gone. While Apple does grab our attention over and over, we seem to quickly forget the somewhat underwhelmed feeling we get the moment any press event is over. But feelings aside, did Apple deliver what it needed to this year?

What the iPhone 4S did get

Better camera. This was huge. Better lens, better sensor, better camera app. Everything about the new iPhone’s camera is just better. It has 30 percent sharper images, 73 percent more light, 33 percent faster image capture and 60 percent more pixels. The new camera was definitely a star today, and rightfully so.

Longer battery life. With eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, nine on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback, and 40 hours of music, the iPhone 4S definitely delivers on battery life. This is an area that all devices can stand to continuously improve upon.

A5 processor. Of course Apple is going to start using its legendary A5 processor in all of its devices. Apple says it will help double performance for general tasks. I can’t wait to get one and see how well it performs against my iPhone 4 benchmarks tests.

Lower price points.  This was also great news. Now there is a free iPhone on the market. And the iPhone 4 is still no slouch at $99. It still would have been great to see the 4S price points take a little dip.

What the iPhone 4S didn’t get

More accurate GPS?  It’s hard to tell if the new iPhone did or did not receive any increase in the performance of the GPS chipset.  They did mention that the antenna switching technology was updated dramatically, and perhaps that will improve the speed with which a GPS fix is obtained. But until there’s a teardown or some side-by-side comparisons, we can’t be sure.

4G network compatibility.  While the onboard chipset didn’t change, as mentioned previously, Apple has done some engineering around how the antenna is being used internally. And these changes have drastically increased data performance, but still, the iPhone 4S is 3G.

Higher screen resolution.  I’m actually glad there were no radical design changes in the screen. This would have sent app developers int a frenzy, and likely fewer apps would adopt a third resolution on the iPhone in the coming months, as many have just finished updating to support the two existing resolutions.

Overall redesign. The initial design of the iPhone 4 was able to handle the updated components of the iPhone 4S rather well. We’ll have to wait and see if existing cases will support the new camera lens, but otherwise you should be able to use your existing accessories with the new phone.

Overall I would have to say that the new iPhone 4S has about everything that I was hoping it would have. And I’m still hopeful that the changes made in antenna technology under the hood will improve GPS performance as well. It may not be the update some analysts were anticipating, but it should be plenty to keep Apple on top of its mobile game.



I don’t think they’ve done themselves any favours with their naming scheme. A lot of people are looking for a “5″ in the name. It seems unlikely they’ll ever be a 5, in the same way there was no 2. Many people only buy the new iPhones, even when they don’t need them, just to have the newest technologies. They should of changed the front and back of the phone itself, to make to so it would be known if you had the newest phone. Many of my friends are disappointed in the announcement of this new iPhone 4S, they were looking for something much more advanced and now will have to wait an entire year.


Yep, they need a professional showman to run those events, Tim sounded like he was reading a necrologue… Stock market is reacting to that as well…

Bradley Rhoad

You missed “bigger screen” which is different than “higher resolution.” They could have made the screen bigger by increasing the size of the pixels and still kept the “retina” quality. If they had done this, I would have been happy.

Xyriz Arceo

Then it won’t be “retina” quality. Retina display is just that High density pixels. The color quality of the iPhone per pixel is no different than the previous displays. its just more tightly packed with a nice bright LED behind it.


Um, you’re forgetting Siri, the personal assistant. That’s probably the most compelling reason to upgrade.

David Walker

The free iPhone 3GS is terrible news. It means we have to keep developing software for phones with a single core processor, 256MB of RAM and 320×480 display for at least another two years. It means there likely won’t be a new iPhone display resolution until 2014.
The celebration of a free iPhone has me convinced that people simply cannot do math anymore. What’s $99 for a phone when you’re locking yourself into a 2-year contract at $60+ per month?

Geoffrey Goetz

You are correct. On average, I figured it would cost someone anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $3,500 over two years depending on minute, data, and message plans options. But for some strange reason getting a FREE phone has has appeal. Especially getting a free iPhone. I don’t quite understand it either, but it is true.


About the price. My first iPhone was $499. Then there was this HUGE price drop. Now I’m back up to $400. I feel like I am back to where I started. I do feel like I am being milked by my beloved Apple peeps, and this is the deciding factor on holding off on the Ipad. It’s not the extra $100 I am paying, it’s the feeling in my stomach.


I am overwhelmingly underwhelmed. So much hype. Not enough to show for it. A classic “It will have it Next year” moment. But they FINALLY gave us 64 gigs, and I said that will be the deal breaker/maker. So I will get it. But they are charging too much for it. So… Another letdown.

Overall, not a great debut for the new guy. It’s no wonder they held this event on their home court. Everybody there was on payroll, so no risk of being booed.


I don’t understand your problem… Apple did not hype anything at all


Battery life is actually worse. 1/3 less standby time (which is most of my day) for just over 10% more talk time (hardly any of my day). The not a good trade for me. That thing is going to be sucking 33%ore battery while I sleep.

Andrew Richards

they just told me my iphone 4 is a peice of shit. a year and a half and thats it. i will tell you now steve jobs leaving hurt the company. the #1 request was a bigger screen lmao. u did it this time apple


They actually extolled the virtues of the iPhone 4. This phone adds some improvements. Your iPhone 4 works today the same as it did yesterday.

Would you prefer that Apple doesn’t improve and upgrade it’s products?


lmao first time picking up some new technology or what? welcome to the 21st century.


If you store music and movies in the cloud, do you actually need an iphone with more Gigs? Maybe I’m not understanding how it works. If its in the cloud, does it still take up memory on your phone?


I don’t think you’re right about 4G network. While it doesn’t have4G-LTE support, it does have native HSDPA now which (according to Apple) delivers twice the download speed of the iPhone 4.

Alan Triangles

I don’t think they’ve done themselves any favours with their naming scheme. A lot of people are looking for a “5” in the name. It seems unlikely they’ll ever be a 5, in the same way there was no 2.


Next years phone with be the iPhone 4G, so they really couldn’t call this one the 5.

John R. Kirk

I doubt very much that they are going to call next year’s phone the 4G.


actually, the first iPhone was called the 2G. then the 3G and 3GS (almost same chassis), 4 and now 4S, with also the same chassis. so a very consistent naming scheme i would say.

many companies would artificially add an integer just to hype a new model. like Windows 7, which is actually NT 6.1 (Vista was 6.0), and coming, Windows 8, which will actually be NT 6.2.

the iPhone 4 is a beautiful industrial design. why f it up just for hype? so the 4S perfected it, and will be a true classic.

Adam Taylor

I was a little underwhelmed for sure. But like you say, they’ve done all they need to to stay at the top.


I think they hit all the right marks for this model, and making it a true world phone is not to be dismissed.

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