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iPhone 4S Reviews: Siri-ously Good Upgrade For Those With Aging iPhones

The reviews of Apple’s iPhone 4S are in, two days before the phone is released to the general public, and they confirm the sentiment following last week’s announcement: this isn’t the biggest leap forward that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has ever made with the iPhone, but it’s certainly the strongest one yet and its Siri killer app appears to work as advertised.

Apple released product reviewers from their cages Wednesday, allowing them to post their impressions of the new phone alongside the release of iOS 5, which users of older iPhones and iPads can download. Over 1 million iPhone 4S devices have been preordered since last Friday, and the device goes on sale in several countries including the U.S. and U.K. on Friday.

Here’s a sampling of sentiments:

Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD: “While Apple’s latest iPhone doesn’t look different, and may not be the kind of blockbuster people expect from the late Steve Jobs’s company, it thinks different, to quote one of Apple’s old ad slogans. Inside its familiar-looking body there lurks a nascent artificial-intelligence system that has to be tried to be believed.”

Joshua Topolsky, This Is My Next: “If you’re an owner of an older iPhone, or someone looking to switch to an iPhone from a different platform, there’s never been a better Apple device to buy. … The iPhone 4S is a great device for some, but what if you’re thinking of upgrading from an iPhone 4? That’s a tougher call.”

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: “This is the easiest product review I’ve ever written. The iPhone 4S is exactly what Apple says it is: just like the iPhone 4, but noticeably faster, with a significantly improved camera, and an impressive new voice-driven feature called Siri.”

Jason Snell, Macworld: “In the end, the iPhone 4S follows Apple’s recent trajectory of iPhone releases: It’s an object of some appeal to people who last upgraded their phones a year ago, and over the next year a great many of them will find it worthwhile to upgrade to the iPhone 4S.”

David Pogue, The New York Times: “The question isn’t what’s in a name – it’s what’s in a phone. And the answer is: ‘A lot of amazing technology. And some of it feels like magic.'”