October 04, 2011
Apple Releases The iPhone 4S

So a few reflections on the iPhone 4S, below the fold so the haters don't have to hate.


First, lets see how I did on my predictions:

  • Apple will release a new phone - Yup
  • It'll have pretty cool stuff - Yup (faster, better camera, the new Siri Assistant)
  • Android people will hate it, and pan it as "I had that in my Galaxy 2S HDx7 3 months ago!" and that they can do that silly iCloud stuff with an rsync script running through their server and ssh'd into their phone - Yup
  • There will be new details that no one knew, possibly beyond the Assistant rumors - Not really, pretty much everything was either guessed or out there already in some form or another
  • Something that has been "for sure" in the rumor blogs will not appear - Yup, no new teardrop design or bigger screen
  • Everyone will scream and cry that Apple is losing it's way because said rumored feature didn't appear - Not yet, though the disappointment at the keynote (50 minutes of filler before the actual iPhone "talk" started) was there. I'm sure the "lost their way" articles will start this afternoon though.
  • A simultaneous release of iTunes, iPhoto, iCloud, and iOS 5 will go - mostly smoothly, and people will go "meh" regardless of the technical skill required to get all those bits working together - Nope, not till October 12-14th-end of October.. we'll see what happens then
  • The Apple stock will drop immediately after launch as it always does, because the super-awesome neural interface with 3D brain control that the rumor sites worked themselves into a lather about didn't appear - Yup, already happened - Down $13 but back up to being down $6 $2.10 at this point, I'm sure it'll level off too (as always)

The announcement was not up to the Stevenote standards unfortunately. Basically 50 minutes of filler, numbers, sales, store openings, etc (yes, the whole we'll print and mail postcards for you thing is cool, but still, this is the Lets Talk iPhone event). Lots of recapping about iOS 5 which everyone knew about from WWDC. Then after almost an hour they get to the iPhone 5 4S. Short story:

  • Same design as the iPhone 4
  • New insides, A5 chip, faster graphics, etc
  • New camera, 8mp, faster f-stop (f/2.4), better low light, 1080p recording, image stabilization, nice especially when combined with the new iOS 5 camera and image editing software
  • New "Siri Assistant" (I'm still shocked they are calling it "Siri" to be honest) which basically does what it was rumored to do, full OS integration, context aware, access to all the apps so you can say things like "remind me to call my wife when I leave work" or "schedule a meeting with Bob tonight". Only on the 4S due to the required speed/memory I'm sure.
  • Dictation in text fields a-la Android

All in all not bad, not great, and it took a long time to get there, but some nice stuff and an equivalent upgrade for the iPhone 4 as the 3GS was to the 3G.

Of course in this "apple vs android" world. Android people will hear "8mp camera" (ha we have had that forever), "voice stuff" (ha, android's had voice since it's first release!") and faster ("stupid apple just giving a speed bump, they're just ripping people off again!").

I think there's a lot of polish in there, things like f/2.4 on the camera is a huge deal and will help bolster the iPhone as a top phone on Flickr (not that great a metric to go by mind you). As people replace their point and shoots with phones, improvements like this are welcome. Ditto with the other changes, but I do admit that even as an apple fan, it'd be nice to have seen more. Not everything's going to be hit out of the park though, and if you're looking to upgrade, or have a 3G or 3GS I'd have no issue recommending the iPhone 4S to you (course, having never seen it before).

Posted by Arcterex at October 04, 2011 12:32 PM