"Evolutionary" still remains the best way to describe the latest iPhone however, whichever model it may be. So what does the "new" iPhone 4S offer you?
iPhone 4 owners expecting a ground breaking new look are not likely to be over impressed as it includes the same casing with glass on both front and back, the same 326 PPI 4-inch Retina display and the same choice of black or white. Thanks to the retained 3.5 inch screen we still feel that too much of the casing is taken up with not enough screen, as good as it is.
Same old...different casing!
In fact if you look closely - REALLY closely - you will see that the casing is slightly different. The mute button on the left hand side has been moved slightly which is important because your iPhone 4 case will not fit. The reason for this change is admirable though. Apple have now included both CDMA and GSM aerials so your phone will now truly work anywhere in the world. More important though is that reception is much improved as are data speeds.
The inside story
Inside though it is a different story. The camera has been ramped up from 5 megapixel to 8 megapixel and now has a larger f/2.4 aperture and backlit illuminated sensor. Face detection and an image stabiliser are now included too, and videos are recorded in 1080p Full HD, up from 720p.
A new A5 dual core processor compliments a new graphics processor which Apple claim is up to 7 times faster than the one powering the iPhone 4. It is noticeably faster, but 7 times? We're not convinced.
iOS 5 - Apple's new operating system
However the outstanding feature for many will be iOS 5, Apple's latest operating system which first made an appearance on the iPad 2. Gone are the pop-up notifications that many found so irritating on previous iOS's and these have been replaced with a customisable Notification Centre, not unlike android's pull down menu which does beg the question who is copying who sometimes, but it is a welcome addition nonetheless.
Voice controlled virtual assistant
Siri, Apple's voice controlled assistant also makes it's debut and it is actually very impressive. You can add a diary entry, ask for the weather forecast, dial or add a contact or ask for information and it really gives the iPhone a whole new and novel feature.
It is limited by what information has been programmed into the system but it is promising and is a huge step beyond the previous system which could dial a contact number or play a tune. We like, but whether this is a gimmick or the future of controlling your smartphone will be for you to decide.
Wi-Fi and, yes, Bluetooth!
The iPhone 4S includes Wi-Fi of course, and is the first to include Bluetooth 4.0 with stereo Bluetooth streaming and you can now access all the iTunes content on your computer directly from your iPhone which is a neat feature.
Outstanding battery life
Battery life, as ever with Apple products, remains impressive with up to 8 hours talk time and a whopping 40 hours with which to enjoy your iTunes catalogue, but you still don't have the option to swap batteries so decent battery life is necessary.
Overall it is not a stunning new remake of the iPhone 4 or any previous model but the famous simplistic design and modus operandus will continue to delight and enthrall new customers and it remains one of the best smartphones in the world, but in our opinion not THE best.
iPhone fans won't care about that but many of the 200+ claimed improvements come as part of the new iOS5 operating system, which you can apply to your iPhone 4. If you own that phone and are thinking of upgrading you will want to consider the new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s - the 4s just isn't a big enough leap into the future
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