The iPhone 4S Hits Stores Today

thumb_6f43b5263fbba79c5962514b85d34738The mobile smart phone market is certainly a healthy one, and powerful devices are getting into more hands (for both consumers and businesses). There are a few great selections to choose from; RIM’s BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows 7, Google’s Android OS, and Apple’s iPhone. The latest incarnation of the Apple iPhone hits store shelves today, although from first glance it looks the same as the previous iPhone 4. Let’s take a look at some of the differences.

The iPhone 4S is the successor of the iPhone 4, and from a design standpoint, it is perfectly identical to the previous phone. In fact, the only differences between the two phones are all under the hood. The 4S is equipped with a faster processor and the camera has been upgraded. A second internal antenna has been added to improve call quality although the iPhone 4S is not capable of 4G speeds on Verizon or Sprint. Apple has added a 64GB model for those looking for more storage, and this is the first iPhone to be sold on the Sprint carrier, and currently in the US, the only iPhone you can purchase now with a new mobile plan and expect to get an unlimited data plan, assuming that you go with Sprint. Other carriers aren’t offering an unlimited data plan for iPhones, meaning once you reach your data cap, your phone bill starts going up (and fast).

Being faster (the iPhone 4S is slated to be about twice as fast as the 4 for most use, although Apple is claiming up to seven times faster processing for graphics like streaming video and games. The iPhone 4 was a pretty responsive phone, so the significant speed increase makes the 4S very snappy. The new camera clocks in at 8 megapixels, which is becoming the standard for high-end smart phones these days. Images are pretty impressive for a phone, and the phone includes some very rudimentary editing capabilities to crop and enhance images. On top of that, the camera records 1080p HD video.

On top of internal hardware changes, the iPhone 4S touts the new IOS-5 operating system, with some new software features. The biggest of these is Siri, the phone’s new digital voice assistant. Siri will follow your voice commands and answer. You can ask Siri for weather conditions, directions, and other information, as well as tell it (or her?) to schedule notifications and reminders. Siri will respond quickly to requests, giving you a hands-free personal assistant. She checks information from multiple sources, including Wikipedia, and adds some personality to the standard voice recognition that most phones have been issuing for the past couple years. Some may find Siri just a novelty, but hopefully she’s an indication of to what’s to come. Maybe someday we’ll do most of our conversing with the robotic voices that come from our phones.

So the big question: Is the iPhone 4S worth the upgrade? If you have an iPhone 4 and are eligible for an upgrade, and you want something a little faster and a little better, you’ll get a lot of familiar combined with a couple nice perks. If you are on Sprint and have been wishing for an iPhone, now is your time. The iPhone 4S isn’t the grand champion of smart phones, and if you are happy with another phone OS, this might not be the time to jump ship over to Apple. Remember, there are a lot of great mobile devices on the market today, so if this is your first jump into the smart phone club, play around with demo models and do some research to find the best solution for you. When in doubt, give us a call at 905.763.7896, maybe we can point you in the right direction!

Of course, with any consumer electronic, the next new device is bound come out just around the corner, so we can probably expect to see an even more significantly improved iPhone 5 next year.

Are you fighting the lines to get the new iPhone? Let us know in the comments!

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