The exalted iPhone is once again back in its newest avatar. Pundits and aficionados may talk about its coming to a full circle, when the great Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone back in 2007. And now he has left behind his legacy and that nigh clashes with the eminent release of the latest in Apple smartphones - the iPhone 4S. The D-day is set for October 14th with simultaneous launch in 70 countries (though, pre-order ‘contracts’ have started in U.S. from 7th).
Now, to get a full vibe of the wondrous things to come, one should know about some of the past figures. Statistically, iPhones have sold over a whopping 73 million units since their induction into the smartphone market. The numbers account for only 4 percent of the total market share of cellphones in the world, but Apple still fascinatingly takes in around a bulk of 50 percent of the profit of global cellphone sales. This certainly alludes to a very strong customer base; and hence we can at some level comprehend all the brouhaha surrounding iPhones when it comes to their launching period. In relation to this, even AT&T described early iPhone 4S demand as “extraordinary”.
iPhone 4S doesn’t actually exhibit a radically different design from its predecessor - the iPhone 4. But what it does change is a slew of hardware and software features, namely the iOS 5 operating system, A5 processor, Siri personal assistant and a fully-fledged 8 megapixel camera.
The much heralded iOS 5 which is Apple’s fifth generation OS, makes its grand debut on the iPhone 4S platform. Now, being the latest in the line of operating systems certainly calls for some improvements and iOS 5 does that more practically. We use the phrase ‘practical’ because on usage one could immediately notice the higher level of notifications (relating to text messages, tweets and emails) displayed by the interface. This feature along with more enhanced scheduling elements, iCloud (for synchronizing pictures, dates and notifications) and Siri makes iOS 5 a worthy competitor to its Android peers.
Since we are talking about iOS, the Siri personal assistant might prove to be the killer application for the iPhone 4S in the long run. Fundamentally, a voice control feature, the app utilizes natural language processing for a much improved interaction with the user. Test results have shown that Siri has been incorporated as an integral part of the phone package. Now, this has serious implications on how voice control systems can be deftly used on mobile platforms. For example, it doesn’t just set up appointments, but also makes a clear check on your availability of time for that appointment. Moreover, superior scheduling, faster response in regard to searches and Wolfram Alpha integration makes Siri a winner in our book.
Coming to A5 processor, it is the same processor used by Apple’s iPad 2. According to the company, its processing power is double of A4 while its graphics upgrade is seven times better than its predecessor. The figures alone allude to a significant rise in intrinsic performance. Well, preliminary test results do confirm that with faster loading times with apps and a lag free gaming experience.
Finally coming to the camera, the iPhone 4S will have 8 megapixel cameras with backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. Though, higher pixels do not translate to better image quality, what it does signify is that images (printed out) can now blown in proportion without any loss to resolutions. Of course along with that, this iPhone will also enable you to shoot high resolution videos up to 1080p, just like its Android cousins.
Scope for improvement
Since the product has not even entered into the commercial scheme of things, it is too early to judge those aspects.
After a waiting period of 16 months some among us could have expected the changes to be more conspicuous in nature. But unfortunately (for some) the design aesthetics has not changed from its predecessor - the iPhone 4. Now, of course this necessarily doesn’t entail complete revamp, though we did long for a few new interesting features.
Many of us hoped for a (even more) thinner profile with a larger screen of at least 3.7 inches. Though, the phone does exhibit one of the slimmest bodies in the business, a larger screen would have made the whole multimedia experience of movies and games a lot more appealing to users.
In regard to connectivity, the iPhone 4S will not include 4G, as was expected. Now rewinding back to history, earlier Apple did delay in jumping on the bandwagon of 3G. And now in the present scenario Apple has certainly given more importance to iOS 5 and iCloud features. So, we have perhaps to wait for the future iPhone 5 for the ever elusive LTE.
According to Reuters, this consistent lack of features can usher in the arrival of newer competitors in the already flooded market of smartphones. Analyst C. K. Lu of Gartner even went on to say that Apple no longer has the leading edge and 4S will only sell due to brand loyalty.
With Apple being in the scheme of things, it would be seriously difficult to judge the so called ‘uglier’ features of iPhone 4S, especially at the threshold of its worldwide debut.
But given some test results, iPhone 4S has actually shown a reduced battery standby time (time of power offered by a battery without calls) of 200 hours, in comparison to 300 hours exhibited by iPhone 4.
Another predicament exclusive to Apple smartphones, is the non availability of a card slot along with no support for Java. The internal memory slot ranges from 16 GB to 64 GB.
The tagline for iPhone 4S is ‘the most amazing iPhone yet’. Well, the product in itself with its hardware and software improvements certainly lives up to the slogan. But then again after such a long time of more than one year, some of us might be disappointed with the ’superficial’ essence of the enhancements. The overall specs may ultimately be outdone in a matter of months. So, why not instead wait for the full fledged release of iPhone 5?