For a week now, I've been testing the AT&T version of the iPhone 4S in and near New York City and San Francisco. Sprint joins Verizon Wireless as the other U.S. carriers who on Friday will start delivering the device. And Apple takes the finest smartphone on the market to even loftier heights. Does that mean everyone who owns an iPhone ought to upgrade immediately? It does not.
New York Times
Android phones seem to come out every Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. Apple updates iOS and the iPhone only once a year. So Apple had a lot of catching up to do, even some leapfrogging. There are some rough spots here and there; for example, every now and then the 4S's camera app gets stuck on its startup screen. And while the battery still gets you through one full day, standby time is shorter than before (200 hours versus 300). But over all, Apple has done an excellent job.
Wall Street Journal
The iPhone 4S is one of Apple's less dramatic updates, but, when combined with the Siri, iOS 5 and iCloud features, it presents an attractive new offering to smartphone users. Some may be content to skip the new hardware and just enjoy the software and cloud features with older models. But those buying the phone will likely be happy with it.
For people who own an older iPhone, such as the 3GS, or for those looking to dump a creaky Android phone, the decision is obvious: The iPhone 4S will be a big jump in performance, camera quality and call clarity, and Siri will be a fat bonus. If you're an iPhone 4 owner thinking about upgrading, you have a tougher choice to make. Thanks to the two-year contract imposed by AT&T and Verizon, you're not yet eligible to pay the $200 upgrade fee for a new phone, so you'd have to spend over $600 just to get the 4S.
I think it'd be wiser for iPhone 4 owners to wait another year for the next iPhone, which will probably be dubbed the iPhone 5 and sport a radical new design and more internal enhancements, if the pattern holds.
This Is My Next
For this review, I returned to the iPhone after a fairly long period of using and testing other devices. Spending a week with Apple's newest phone, I'm reminded again of just what makes the company's products so special. It's not specs, services, or apps. This phone is not perfect. Certainly it can be improved. But there is something here, beyond the screen and CPU, beyond iCloud, something under the surface. Some intangible spark.
Is this the best phone ever made? That's debatable. But I can tell you this: the iPhone 4S is pretty damn cool.
'm happy that Apple decided not to change the form factor even though they had to know there would be some backlash from a certain segment of the population (read: idiots). Instead, Apple focused on the other thing they do best: refining already great products to make them better. The iPhone 4 was a great product. The best smartphone ever made. Now it cedes that title to the iPhone 4S.