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Apple iPhone 4S key features – worth the upgrade?

Earlier today Apple launched it’s next-generation mobile phone: the iPhone 4S. Here’s a quick look at the key features and whether at this early stage it’s enough to make us consider an upgrade.

Dual-core processor
Hardly a surprising here; with so many smartphones sporting dual-core processors Apple had to deliver the goods here and now it’s official: the iPhone 4S will include the same A5 chip as the iPad 2.
What we think: The current iPhone 4 isn’t slow – by any means – but the extra performance boost should help with movie streaming and gaming. Apple claims graphic performance has improved seven-fold, so hopefully that means in the future we’ll hopefully see some of those excellent dual-core games like Dead Space HD become available for the iPhone 4S.

The main gripe with the iPhone 4’s camera was that it had limited features and only 5-megapixel’ resolution of 5-megapixels. We knew from the information about iOS 5 that Apple announced at the WWD conference that there would be some customisable features and you can now crop, remove red eye and now the autofocus can detect and focus on faces. In addition the dual-core processor should be the camera is faster to use; processing pictures and launching more quickly.
The camera resolution has been boosted to now capture 8-megapixel stills, which in itself isn’t world beating (5-megapixels is fine for most people). However Apple has dramatically enhanced the sensor, improving low-light performance by around 73% and the aperture is now larger with a bright f/2.4 rating. In reality this means vastly improved low-light performance.
What we think: The processor boost alone isn’t enough to impress us, but the new sensor could make a good camera even better. If you’re a photography fan this could be a selling point

Apple has boosted the video resolution, so instead of capturing HD footage with 720 lines, it now takes movies with 1080 lines. The extra lines basically means sharper, more more detailed footage. In common with still pictures, video will benefit from the new lens and processor and image stabilisation should help rectify the effect of camera shake.
What we think: Unless you are playing back your movies on a large flatscreen HD television, it’s really hard to tell the difference between shooting in 720p or 1080p, although again the new sensor could help improve performance. But it’s certainly a nice feature to have and puts the pressure more on company’s like Kodak and Flip.

A brand-new feature, Siri is advanced voice activation, it’s designed to be a personal assistant. As well as making phone calls and launching apps, it’s also more advanced. Tell it a command – like ‘Do I need an umbrella’ and it works out what apps you need to use, before answering.

What we think: Siri is by far the most interesting new feature and we really need to try it before we pass judgement, however we’re not sure we fancying building up a vocal relationship with our phone, however useful that might be.


iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service, which automatically backs up your personal data every time you connect to WiFi, everything is backed up, including photos, music, books, apps and calendar information. It’s also accessible across other platforms. PhotoStream means that every photo you take using your camera automatically appears across other devices (be it an iPad or PC) and the same applies to iTunes

What we think: iCloud has the potential to be revolutionary, namely due to the convenience factor and being Apple, it will be implemented in a very slick and user-friendly way.


Apple iPhone 4s: worth the upgrade?

The iPhone 4S launch feels very much like the leap from iPad to iPad 2; it’s faster and the cameras are dramatically improved. However on that note unless you are a serious gamer itching to play dual-core games on your phone, or avid photographer; it’s very similar to the current iPhone and matches rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S2. And lets remember that the gaming and photographic capability of the current iPhone is actually very good anyway.
Certainly for iPhone 4 users, there’s not the same case of envy as there was between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Especially because many of the really interesting features – like iCloud – will be available with the iOS 5 update that lands on October 12th.

We’ll bring you a full review of the iPhone 4S as soon as we get it. Is the iPhone 4S worth the upgrade? Let us know below.


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