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Review: iPhone 4S

The day before Steve Jobs’ unfortunate passing, Tim Cook took the stage to announce the latest offerring in their iPhone line. While many were disappointed it wasn’t the revolutionary iPhone 5 that had been rumored for the months leading up, the evolutionary iPhone 4S was announced instead and released to the general populace about a week ago.

While the differences between the iPhone 4 and 4S are limited, there are some pretty significant upgrades. From the improved antenna to the dual core processor to the improved cameras, the differences are incremental, but the biggest addition is Siri, the voice based personal assistant.

Screen Like the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S has 3.5″ screen with retinal display. The graphics are crisp and clean and easy to read with its 940 by 640 resolution at 326 ppi.

Applications The entire app ecosystem that currently exists across smartphones owes its existence to the iPhone, which introduced the app store with the iPhone 3G. There are currently over 500,000 apps that have been downloaded over 18,000,000 times available in the iTunes app store, which means that almost anything a user could want is likely to be found in some form or another in the app store.

Battery Life I am able to go most of the day with my iPhone without charging, with normal use of texting and limited apps, but Apple claims that the iPhone 4S lasts 8 hours on 3G and 14 hours on 2G with 200 hours Standby time. They also claim that it will last 10 hours watching video and 40 hours listening to music, but I have not taken it to those limits.

Camera In a bid to eliminate carrying a separate camera, the camera is upgraded to 8 megapixels and the video recording is now 1080p. The front facing camera is still VGA, but it is meant for video conferencing, like Skype or Apple’s own Facetime.

Media Player The iPhone’s music player is an iPod with full iTunes integration, but all videos have been separated to a video app rather than leaving them as a single app. Simple music and video transfer via USB or the new Wifi syncing just makes the iPhone simple to use as a music and video player.

Keyboard The iPhone keyboard has been the same since the original iPhone with its small on screen keys and the landscape keyboard which was introduced later. I really liked having Swype on my Droid and it’s one of the few features I miss from my old phone.

Phone The phone sounds clear and I was easily heard, which carries over from the previous iPhones. The new antennas have improved the reception and the dropped calls of the iPhone 4 do not seem to be an issue with the 4S.

Hardware The measurements of the iPhone 4S are identical to the iPhone 4. All previous cases and accessories work without a problem. The iPhone 4’s A4 processor has been replaced by the A5 dual core processor for a notable speed upgrade when using the phone.

Siri By holding the button on the bottom, Siri is activated and requests can be made via voice. Asking the phone certain questions will cause humorous answers, while other requests will go to Maps, Google, Wolfram Alpha and other online information sources in order to answer inquiries to the best of its ability. While it’s not perfect yet, it is convenient when setting an alarm or looking up information, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for it.

While the iPhone 4S isn’t the revolution that was rumored across the web, it is still the next step in Apple’s smartphone plan. With preorders over 1 million and selling over 4 million phones in the first weekend, the iPhone 4S can’t be considered anything but a success as the highest selling smartphone on the market. After just a week, I don’t miss my Droid and look forward to utilizing the iPhone 4S as my primary communications device.

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