The iPhone 4S has been on the market for two months now so it's time for us -- your TiPb and Mobile Nations editors, writers, and podcasters -- to take a second look at it. Has it lived up to our expectations? Has our appreciation for the iPhone 4S grown deeper with time, or is the honeymoon over and the initial sheen long since worn off? Apple typically only releases one new iPhone a year, so how it holds up over time -- especially when competing devices seem to drop daily by the dozen -- is an especially important consideration.
If you're still the considering the iPhone 4S, if you're still on the fence, check out the material below and then read on for our re-review, 2 months later.
It's been two months since the iPhone 4S launched, and after using it consistently for that time, a few thoughts have materialized for me. Some of the more straightforward ones revolve around the quantifiable changes in the device and software itself. It's faster, more responsive, the camera shutter is vastly improved - things of that nature. But the thing I didn't realize until I actually lived with the device was how transformative something like Siri could be.
We all know other phones have (and had) voice controls long before the iPhone did, and it needs no repeating. But the defining factor lies in the experience Siri brings to the everyday use of the device. It possesses a personality, and an instant rapport with the user that no other phone can lay claim to, and its usefulness quickly went from a novelty "let's see what she says when I say this" to indispensability. More importantly, this is only the beginning. As we see development grow, and services added, Siri will become even more useful and rewarding. Even now, I sometimes forget that it's there, and rediscover little ways to make my day and my interactions with the device easier and more pleasurable.
And if that isn't Apple's mission in sheer user terms, I don't know what is.
Unlike most of the others, I have not had my 4S since launch day. I decided to wait until I was eligible for an upgrade and save the money to use on accessories.
When the 4S was announced, I could not find a compelling reason to upgrade. Siri holds no particular interest to me, and at some point you are not going to notice a difference in speed if games are not your life.
I finally decided to do the upgrade based on the camera improvements. The move from 5 to 8 megapixels is not huge. (I've long maintained that unless you are enlarging or doing photo editing most people don't need more than 3 megapixels.) However, the improvements in the lens and the addition of the 5 element design sounded too good to pass up. I use my iPhone camera for everything, and I really wanted to be able to stop carrying a camera unless I was attending a truly special event where I would need additional lenses. (You know, like going to see the Saints wallop the Jaguars.)
I'm very happy with the camera improvements. I have discovered that when I'm at home, I like being able to dictate my text messages - and they're frequently correct, requiring little editing. As for speed, I don't notice a difference coming from my iPhone 4 based on my frequently used applications. And Siri? I'm waiting for the novelty to wear off. If I want to make a calendar change or add a reminder, I don't want to compete with people asking Siri what color her underwear are.
After using my iPhone 4S for some time now, I can honestly say I'm happy with my purchase. While the upgrade was probably more justifiable for 3GS or 3G users, I had some reservations about it really being a worthy upgrade from the iPhone 4. At the end of the day there aren't a ton of feature changes and next to no design changes. The two features that really blow me away on a daily basis that make the upgrade worth it to me are Siri and the camera.
Siri has kept me a LOT more organized. I hate adding calendar events and reminders by hand. I love being able to tell Siri to remind me to do something at a certain time. I've also become a lot more efficient with utilizing my calendar. I don't forget to schedule things anymore or to move them around. I just tell Siri to do it. Not to mention she keeps me pretty entertained during down time.
The photos that the iPhone 4S take are nothing short of amazing, considering we are talking about a camera phone here. Will the camera replace a DSLR for many people? No. But I don't feel the need to take a second camera to family events or other functions anymore. I feel safe relying on my iPhone 4S to get the job done well. The camera is not only much better than the iPhone 4 camera but it responds quicker. The phone as a whole responds quicker than my iPhone 4 ever did. Everything from rebooting to opening and closing apps is quicker.
I was skeptical at first but I have to say I'm happy with my purchase.
Agh, I really don't want to sound like a hater but I am going to tell it how it is. Two months after buying the iPhone 4S all I feel is disappointed. Siri doesn't work very well at all for me in the UK. I would say on average it works less than 50% of the time for me and about 10% for my wife. With those sort of results, Siri is unusable for me.
The camera is the only part of the iPhone 4S that has been worth the upgrade. It takes great pictures and pretty good HD video too. The processor speed bump is nice too but I could happily live without it.
To sum it up, I sold my iPhone 4 before the iPhone 4S was announced. Because of that I had no choice but to upgrade. If I hadn't sold it, I would still be more than happy with an iPhone 4. In my opinion the iPhones 4S is a great upgrade for those with a 3GS or earlier iPhone, but just not worth it for those already with an iPhone 4!
Has it really only been 2 months since the release of the iPhone 4S? I feel like I've had this phone forever, and that's a good thing. Its like a best friend - I can't imagine life without it.
When all we had was rumors of Siri, I thought it was lame and couldn't imagine myself using it. Now, it's something I rely on. I use Siri to set my coffee timer in the morning and to remind me to do all sorts of things at certain times or specific places. I use Siri to write emails and send text messages during my commute, and I use Siri to make phone calls. When bored, I even use Siri as entertainment. The cool part? This is only the beginning of Siri.
Then there's the photography of the iPhone 4S. I never in a million years thought I'd be getting photos this good from a cell phone.
I just wish Steve had lived long enough to see how much people have grown to love this phone - the most amazing iPhone, yet.
It has been a couple of years since I owned an iPhone, but when the iPhone 4S was released I was looking for a new phone on Verizon and also felt it was appropriate to use the purchase as a symbolic gesture of thanks to Steve Jobs for his innovation with Apple products. I have been using it with my unlimited data plan every day since then and other than the rather disappointing battery life I am extremely pleased with the latest iPhone. Much of my pleasure comes from the outstanding camera, helpful Siri assistant, and amazing developers that create apps for just about everything you can think of.
Before the iPhone 4S was announced I swore I wasn't going to buy a new iPhone unless the display was larger. Honestly though, I don't feel too cramped by the 3.5 inch size and find the pocketability more than makes up for the display size. I love that Flipboard is now on the iPhone, along with cool new Evernote apps, Spotify, WordsByPost, Starbucks card, Jawbone UP, YouVersion Bible, Facebook, Twitter, and so many other apps and services that enhance my life. I don't see this iPhone 4S going anywhere soon and imagine my next Verizon phone will be a newer version of the iPhone.
As The self proclaimed Cell Phone Junkie, I find myself regularly purchasing and reviewing phones from various manufacturers running every OS out there. Though, when it comes to my day in and day out personal device, I've been consistently using the iPhone since 3G model in the winter of 2008. With each iteration of the device, I've either lined up at the Apple store to pick one up on launch day, or with the 4 and 4S, ordered them so I had them the day they came out. The 4S was a difficult choice for me, as I was very happy with my 4, but wanted that extras the 4S had to offer. Fortunately, i had a line upgrade available, so I was able to choose the 16GB Black version with only $200 out of pocket. Further, I sold my 4 to a family member for $300, making the decision a no brainer.
Two months later, I'm happy to report that the 4S is the best iPhone I've ever used. With the upgraded camera (used constantly for taking shots of my now 10 week old son), to the antenna enhancements (no more network pause button!), to the iPad 2 like speed, to the phenomenal iOS5 interface. The device has it all, and I couldn't be happier. Sure, I'l still find myself picking up the latest devices on the other platforms, but when it comes down to it, I know the integrated ecosystem Apple has built, along with the simple and reliable nature of the iOS will keep me coming back.
Two months ago I opened my wonderful little box of white goodness, the iPhone 4S (first time I have gotten one in white). After two months of playing..er...using it, I have to say I am generally pleased with the new features (both iPhone features and iOS 5 features).
I like the new message system, although it took me a while to tweak the notifications to my preferences (I remember for a while that I would get inundated with messages every time I unlocked the phone). Siri has been surprisingly useful, both for hands free calling and texting, but I also find that I have been using it much more than I have ever used any reminder app. I never minded the fact that it was the same form factor - since I got a white one, it is like a new design me for me.
I got the 64GB version (which was a nice boost) and I have been pleased with the nice little boost in storage capacity (previously I was always very close to using my full 32GB). I don't have multiple phone models sitting around, so I can't really compare it to any new released from Android and Blackberry, but I have compared it to my wife's iPhone 4. While I don't notice a HUGE bump in speed or processing, there is a noticeable difference that makes everything more snappy and responsive. Overall, the phone has been a nice upgrade to the iPhone 4, even really the only new feature is Siri.
Two months in and the iPhone 4S remains a no-brainer upgrade from a feature phone, older smartphone, iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, but one that requires some careful consideration for iPhone 4 owners.
The iPhone 4 was one of the best pieces of industrial design ever to grace consumer electronics and it still looks every bit as good on the iPhone 4S, even these many months later. But it's what's different that matters to me most.
Where my iPhone 4 would often lose signal at my mother's house, the iPhone 4S has never faltered. The new, intelligently switching antenna array is rock solid. Where the iPhone 4 would flow smoothly for the most part, the iPhone 4S positively flies. The Apple A5 chipset is a monster. When the iPhone 4 would take good pictures for a phone, the iPhone 4S camera takes good pictures period. The glass behind that 8mp, 1080p camera is fantastic.
And then there's Siri. I use it every day. It makes creating reminders -- which is a chore in the app itself -- ridiculously easy. It makes writing everything from texts to decent sized emails easy to do even while driving, cooking, or otherwise in a situation difficult or impossible to type. It's not perfect, it's still in beta, but it makes a hundred small tasks which previously caused friction almost delightful to get done.
Two months later and I consider the iPhone 4S, for me, an incredibly worthwhile upgrade.
Well TiPb Nation, you've read what we've had to say, now we want to read your opinions. If you've had an iPhone 4S since launch, or just since last week, how's it holding up for you? What did you upgrade from and how worthwhile was the upgrade? What has amazed you and what has let you down? Give us your review, 2 month later!