iPhone 4S – To Upgrade or not to Upgrade?

iphone 4s upgrade

I was hoping for an iPhone 5 launch yesterday. I was as excited as a child on Christmas Eve before the announcement. But by the end of it, I was as deflated as I was the day I found out Santa was an elaborate lie. However, things always look a bit better in the morning, don’t they? And I’ve now had chance to have a real look at the additional features the 4S has to offer over my iPhone 4.

General thought is that iPhone 3G and 3GS users will be the key ‘iPhone upgraders,’ and that there may not be enough in the 4S to tempt those who already have an iPhone 4 into an upgrade.

I’m an iPhone 4 user and am now faced with the ultimate question – to upgrade or not to upgrade (21st century problems, eh?).

Why Upgrade from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S?

There are a LOT of new features, including:

  • Dual core A5 chip. That means 2x faster performance and that graphics will be 7x faster and what that means for me is that gaming will be better. Yes, these things matter to me.
  • 1080p HD video recording. This, on a mobile, is really quite impressive.
  • 8MP camera. They made a real song and dance about this in the launch yesterday and it’s easy to see why. They’re touting it as ‘possibly’ the best camera ever on a mobile device. Another reason to upgrade.
  • Siri. Now this looks pretty good based on the demos I have seen. How well it works in practice remains to be seen of course but essentially it’s a voice control system for the phone. Apple have, quite rightly, identified that users in general are not making much use of voice commands on their phone. If you ask me, that’s because people feel like utter fools walking down the street holding their phone in front of their face and saying over and over again (slowly and loudly as though they were ordering beer in a Spanish bar) ‘Call Mum. I said MUM. Caaaallll Muuuuum.’ Apple reckons it has the solution though with Siri. It’s conversational and, from what I’ve seen so far, intelligent! For example, if you have your hands full, your phone in your pocket and you get a text message, you can say ‘read message,’ to have it read aloud to you before telling the phone whether you want to reply (then dictate your reply) or whether to close it. And that appears to be one of the more basic uses of Siri. Check out the demo below for some of the really impressive stuff. It remains to be seen how well it will work with extreme accents of course, but nonetheless, it’s a selling point for me, particularly as this will be exclusive to the iPhone 4S. Note though, it has been released as a beta.

  • iOS 5 boasts 200 new features, including Twitter integration and some pretty impressive notifications capabilities. This will be available to me on my iPhone 4 as well, of course, so I wouldn’t necessarily have to upgrade to benefit. But surely it makes sense to have a shiny new phone to accompany the shiny new OS? Maybe? That’s my excuse anyway!
  • Antenna. For me, my only complaint with the iPhone 4 has been with its performance as a phone! It cuts out too often and I know other iPhone 4 users who experience the same issues. The 4S will have 2 antennas for improved performance as a phone.
  • Battery life is improved. 8 hours 3G talk time, 9 hours talk time if you’re connected to Wi Fi, (as well as matching the iPhone 4’s 40 hours music playback and 10 hours video playback).

Why NOT Upgrade?

Well, there are of course sensible concerns like the fact that upgrading on contract with most of the UK networks (who are yet to announce their tariffs at the time of writing) will mean being stuck in an 18 or 24 month contract and the smartphone giant will undoubtedly announce another model in that time. But surely that’s just a fact of life with a Smartphone? New models come out all the time and it’s only ever a matter of a couple of months before something more advanced than you have is on the market. So for me, this isn’t too much of a concern.

The one flaw for me is that while battery life has improved in many respects, the standby battery life is lower in the iPhone 4S than the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S is quoted as having ‘up to 200 hours’ standby battery life compared to the iPhone 4’s ‘up to 300 hours.’ But again, considering how infrequent it is for me to ever have my phone purely on standby, this isn’t a major concern for me.

Who Am I Kidding?

Of course I’m going to upgrade. Even thinking about not doing is just me trying to convince myself that I’m not one of the people eager to get their hands on the new device and playing right into Apple’s hands.

In case you haven’t heard, release date is 14th October, but you can pre-order online from 7th October. We’ll post here when the UK networks have announced their pricing!

Oct 5, 2011
Stacey MacNaught


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