Tech blog review: Apple iPhone 4S

After Apple’s weekend launch, there are now 4 million or so new iPhone 4S owners out there in the world.  It’s a fairly impressive number – the iPhone 4S has racked up the largest launch to date of any iPhone.

So how impressive is the iPhone 4S itself? In recent days we were able to play around with one here in the office, among both current iPhone users and nonusers.

To some degree, we’re still a bit disappointed that this isn’t an iPhone 5. It could have been, but it’s not. With that said, we’ll get over it because the iPhone 4S is a definite evolution on the iPhone 4. They may look the same on the outside, but the changes are all inside.

We like the speed; there’s a noticeable difference between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S has Apple’s dual core A5, the same processor currently found in the iPad. It’s decidedly zippier – iPhone users who upgrade will notice a definite speed change, which we applaud.

In terms of network speed, AT&T has claimed that they have a significantly faster phone because of their HSPA+ service, which is available in numerous markets here in Wisconsin.  A number of national blogs have run speed tests like this. (

The other element we really like is the improved camera, which does away with the annoying pause after snapping a photo. With a resolution upgrade to eight megapixels and an improved flash over the built-in flash on the iPhone 4, we can leave our digital cameras in the drawers from now on.

For all the talk about Siri, it’s a signature feature that’s left us a bit underwhelmed. Yes, it is cool. Yes, it works fairly well. Yes, it’s clever. But to some degree, particularly for existing iPhone owners, it’s a novelty feature.  Siri “remembers” your data, such as the relationships among those people in your contacts, and can fetch data for you, but the whole effect to us was more novelty than an actual function we craved as an iPhone user.

That isn’t to say we disliked it. It was certainly cool, particularly since Apple released Siri in its beta form. But our collective practical side is weighing whether Siri falls into that proverbial “want” or “need” category.


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