A Quick Take on the iPhone 4S – Is It Worth the Upgrade

Do you remember hearing the initial disappointed comments right after the iPhone 4S announcement?  Simply put, everyone was a bit let down that the new iPhone wasn’t going to be a full-blown revamp of the iPhone 4. Some were concerned that it would just be an iPhone 4 with a few simple upgrades, suckering gadget-junkies to stand in line for hours only to discover that the 4S was fundamentally the same as its predecessor, with only a few more bells and whistles.  Well, the truth is, the new iPhone is a bit of both. It is not a revolutionary product like the original iPhone – or even the iPhone 4.  Rather, it’s more evolutionary with several impressive upgrades.  Here’s a quick look at 3 of the upgrades Apple has created in the 4S – and whether or not they’re worth standing in line for.

Software

One of the most noticeable areas of improvement can be found in the amount of speed and power that the 4S commands.  Apple announced that the iPhone 4S has seven times the graphical prowess of its predecessor and is twice as powerful. It features the iPad 2’s dual-core A5 chip making opening apps, loading the web browser, scrolling through home screens and countless other operations smoother and faster.

Siri

One remarkable difference between the iPhone 4 and the 4S is the addition of  your very own “personal assistant” named Siri.  When it works, it is an amazing feat of technology. You can just tell Siri to contact a colleague and tell her you’re running late.  Tell Siri, “I’m feeling like Indian food,” and she will tell you where the nearest place serving Sag Paneer is located.  Even so, the caveat is “when it works.”  When Siri cannot understand a particular command, area or specific person, she will tell you humorously, if not annoyingly after a while, that she can’t process the info.  Inevitably this will be fixed in the future, but it would be wonderful if it worked flawlessly now.  See this article for another take on Siri.

iCloud

Similar to MobileMe, iCloud allows you to access all of your most important data, pictures, apps, music and photos from any device, whether you access it from the device the content was created on, or if you want to use your iPad to show your friends a picture you took using your iPhone. One downfall, however, is that for users used to MobileMe’s specific syncing procedures, the user id it created doesn’t “play well” with iCloud. At the same time, iCloud doesn’t recognize email accounts like Yahoo or Gmail as they don’t contain a me.com email address.  Although it’s fantastic technology, the reality that it still has what seem to be fairly obvious faults makes it that much more frustrating to Apple enthusiasts.

In the final analysis, the iPhone 4S will of course be a huge commercial success. But, are the upgrades worth the wait?  In the end, it depends on who you ask. If you’re a Mac-addict, forever in need of the most up-to-date and coolest toy, then of course, it’s worth the wait.  With its improvements in power, efficiency, speed, software and upgrades, the 4S is an impressive machine.  However, if you’re able to get everything you need from your old 3G(S), there’s really nothing completely revolutionary about the iPhone 4S.  As an evolutionary device, it’s still pretty cool.

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