The iPhone 4S was launched in October 2011 and was the first iPhone in over 15 months. This model has an identical design to the iPhone 4 but includes many improved internal features. If you’re considering an upgrade from a previous iPhone, this guide explains some of the top reasons why you might choose to do so.
The flagship feature of this new iPhone is the voice control feature, which Apple calls “Siri”. Siri is essentially a computerized personal assistant in your phone that allows you to have realistic conversations to perform normal tasks. For example, it can read you a text message and transcribe your reply, schedule appointments and reminders, find facts from Wolfram Alpha or other online sources, and more. This feature is only available on iPhone 4S.
Apple touts that the iPhone 4S has probably the best camera you’ve ever used – including those who don’t have a phone. A lot of technical work has been done on the camera of this phone, which makes it really impressive. In addition, the camera records videos in full 1080p resolution and includes brand new image stabilization features.
The iPhone 4S now features an A5 dual-core processor that was used in the lightning-fast iPad 2. This isn’t noticeable for most day-to-day tasks, but the processor does feel a lot more responsive when playing graphics-intensive games or editing videos.
Finally, Apple added Sprint to AT&T and Verizon, giving customers a choice of three carriers with the new iPhone. If you’ve been dissatisfied with both Verizon and AT&T, this can be a compelling reason to upgrade.
Ultimately, these are the only main differences between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. For serious fans or those with a strong need for Siri, a better camera, or a faster processor, an upgrade might make sense. But for the average user, it may make sense to wait. Another important consideration when considering an update is your current contract. Most carriers make customers wait 2 years before offering the discounted upgrade. For example, if you bought the iPhone 4 in 2010, most carriers won’t allow you to upgrade to the 4S for just $199, it will likely be $299 or even more.
Finally, what about the iPhone 5? Rumor has it that the iPhone 5 will feature a complete redesign, all the features mentioned above, an even faster processor and more. While no one knows for sure when Apple will release its next-generation device, it will likely be sometime between June and October 2012.