There seems to be some common misconceptions (at least amongst those not familiar with the new iPhone). Probably the most common of these is:
- There’s nothing new, “It’s the same as the last model just with an S” (thus the new meme showing just a roll of “S” stickers).
- The only new thing is the camera (Most non iPhone people have at least heard of the camera upgrade).
- The S is for Siri which is just a software feature. I’m not actually sure of the official reason for the S designation. I know when the 3GS came out Jobs said “The S is for Speed”, so I assume that is the same deal now, with the cpu/gpu/network upgrade.
In short, the implication is that those of us who have or are considering an upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S are just idiots who are blindly upgrading because we are in some sort of Apple trance. In this post I am only addressing the differences between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S (except when I mention “any other phone/device”). If you were expecting a “This is why the iPhone is better or worse than an Android phone” rant, sorry, just FACTS here.
I have grown tired of having to correct people who are incorrectly repeating the “nothing new” garbage. I’ve noticed that many of these folks who attack iPhone owners do NOT change their attitude in the slightest when confronted with the actual facts, but nonetheless here I shall provide the raw data, and all the bashing and evangelical arguments can be done elsewhere.
iPhone 4S hardware upgrades:
- CPU – Dual-core CPU via the A5 processor that is in the iPad2 – more than 2X faster (even though underclocked by 200Mhz from the iPad2 – assuming to save battery life or heat build-up).
- GPU – New dual-core GPU for the best gaming possible on a mobile phone – 7x faster
- Camera – New 8MP camera, with new optics, 1080P video recording, & image stabilization – Captures 73% more light, takes successive pictures 2x faster than any other phone.
- Battery – Slightly higher capacity battery with more talk time despite the new faster CPU
- Antenna – New dual antenna design and new diversity (ability to select the antenna that has the best signal) for both transmit and receive for better call reception and quality.
- Storage – Top model now has 64GB – 2x more storage
- Data Speed – HSPA+ which gives 14.4Mbps down, 5.8Mbps up – 2x faster download. These are the exact same speeds that many other phones that call themselves “4G” have, including the “Motorola Atrix 4G”, “HTC Inspire 4G”, etc.
- Vibrator – Yes even the vibrator motor on the 4S is a new “linear oscillating” motor instead of the old “rotational with counterweight” motor used in the ATT iPhone4 (The verizon model already got the new one). The new motor is reportedly more quiet and smooth.
- Sound Volume – Not sure what changes were made, but testing has shown that the iPhone 4S has at least 6db more volume output than the iPhone4. This was probably done to make Siri easier to hear, but also gives more volume for music playback, ring/text alerts, and speakerphone usage.
- GPS – The iPhone 4S now additionally supports both GPS and GLONASS (which is a Russian satellite network they are using for GPS that just came online this year). As a result, it gets a position fix more quickly, and displays your location more accurately.
- RAM – The iPhone 4S has the same amount of RAM, but the RAM is DDR2-800 instead of the DDR1-400 that the iPhone 4 uses. The result is memory bandwidth (speed reading and writing to memory) is doubled.
So there I have shown you at least 11 hardware upgrades that the iPhone 4S has. [EDIT: Even more upgrades that I didn't mention: Bluetooth 4.0, Front-facing camera is now 30fps, & Compass is now digital instead of analog.] I didn’t even delve into the software updates of iOS5 (200 new features) because technically the new iOS can be installed on older devices and so should not really count as an upgrade (except Siri, which for now only runs on the 4S – But I’m sure jailbreakers will port it to other devices soon).
I would like to point out that the iPhone 4S has nearly every feature that was rumored and wanted to be for the “iPhone5″ except:
- It’s not called the “iPhone 5″ – people seriously are upset about this <facepalm>
- Not LTE aka “real 4G” – I knew this would happen as the current generation LTE chipset is just too power-hungry and Apple would never allow a newer model to have LESS battery life. HSPA+ was chosen because it is faster than regular 3G without the battery drain.
- No bigger screen / new design – The iPhone4S still has the “same old” retina display. While it’s not the 4″+ screen people wanted, it is still the best display in both resolution (960×640) and DPI (326 pixels per inch) of any mobile device. Sadly, if they had released with a larger display, people would probably complain about their old cases and mounts not fitting anymore.
I predict that the “iPhone 5″ will not come out until the new LTE chipsets arrive that use less power, and/or they do create a new model that has a larger display and could thus also have a larger battery to handle the drain of LTE. Honestly, the fixation people have with LTE is questionable, because, other than tethering, exactly why do you require 20MB/s downloads to your PHONE? Are apps going to be faster? No. Is YouTube going to stream faster? No. Are web pages going to load faster? Maybe. Is loading a page in .5 seconds instead of .8 seconds worth your phones battery not lasting all day? I don’t think so, but I totally agree for tethering LTE is awesome. I also predict that in any newer model that lets them expand the battery size they will also stop underclocking the A5 CPU, which will give it another 200Mhz and thus an instant “upgrade” of processing power (Assuming they underclocked it to save battery life and/or heat build up).