Let's Talk iPhone 4S: What we didn't get

iPhone 4S White

The Let's Talk iPhone event is now over and we officially have the iPhone 4S, Siri, iOS 5, iCloud, and several other cool new features to be excited about.

But what about what we didn't get? What about all those iPhone 5 cases we saw mysteriously pop up over the past several months? While Apple announced a good amount of hardware improvements to the iPhone 4S, the update still left a lot of people underwhelmed. In some ways, this is understandable given Apple had more time than ever between launches to come out with a new device.

A lot of people were still holding out for a new design. Apple also seems to be attempting to deter cries of antenna-gate this time around with a newly designed antenna system with a technology known as "intelligence switching".

Likewise, there was no LTE radio for faster internet speeds, not even real HSPA+ at 21mbps or 42mbps. The proper LTE chips that Apple would need to keep battery life and thinness won't be ready until 2012, but why no HSPA+ at this point?

Many people also wanted an alternative to the glass back of iPhone 4. Aluminum, like the iPad, was a frequent rumor. So whether you love the all glass front and back design or not, you're stuck with it for at least one more year.

While I didn't mind the general design staying the same I really was holding out hope for a larger screen. With a flooded market of Android phones boasting screens of 4" or more, I really would have liked to see the new iPhone step up to compete with that. While the screen on the iPhone 4 and 4S are gorgeous, they really are on the smaller side when you look at the competition. I'm expecting at least 4" next year.

We also heard rumors of Apple implementing NFC into the next generation iPhone. Yet there was no mention of NFC and as far as we know, the iPhone 4S won't be supporting it. Given this would be a pretty cool feature, I don't really think it was a deal breaker for a lot of folks just yet.

iOS 5 announcement was clearly Apple's flagship announcement this year. Features like iCloud, iTunes Match, OTA backups, and others will come to the older devices, but Siri will be iPhone 4S exclusive.

That, Cards, and Find my Friends were the only new software announced alongside iPhone 4S, however. While we can't expect another 200 new features, was Cards really the best use of Apple's time? Sure they can use it to sell some prints but what about an Airport Utility app? A Files app that does for documents what Photos does for images? An improvement for the Maps app, perhaps? What about FaceTime over 3G? Panoramic photos?

Add to the list no Steve Jobs appearance, no "One more thing..." and there's lots to gripe about. Don't get me wrong, Apple certainly brought a lot to the table yesterday, but they left a lot off as well. Were there any killer features you really wanted that you didn't get?

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Let's Talk iPhone 4S: What we didn't get


The screen size would have sold me. Having now used Android for a year & a half with a 4" & now 4.3" screen, I can't go back to 3.5" like in iPhone 4/4S. That to me is the sweet spot. Yes the Retina display looks good & my wife is considering the upgrade. I'll pass for now.

Them new Android phones don't fit in the pocket of my pocket T-shirt.
I already got my Lucky Strikes rolled up in my left sleeve. Do you reckon it'd be okay to roll up one of them bigger phones in my other sleeve or would that be a fashion faux pas?

When I got my iPhone 3G, it was the first iPhone I had ever owned. Before that, I used a small flip phone. It was a lot like holding a brick to the side of my head to make phone calls, and I really hated it. Luckily, I didn't make many phone calls. I have since gotten more used to the size of the phone, and it's general brick shape pressed into the side of my face. I cannot, however, relate to wanting a larger sized brick to press into the side of my face. I am very happy the screen size is staying the same. If I wanted a larger screen for apps, I'd go buy an iPad.

Good point. I use a Bluetooth headset (have for years now) so phone size for making/receiving calls is irrelevant to me.

Except that, dimensions-wise, the larger screened phones are typically not much bigger than iPhone, they just have less bezel and more screen.

Let's get real. Apple is always behind the curve on functionality. They get by on design rather than features. And it looks like even that is coming to an end.

I was looking for printing improvement. Apple touts the iPad 2 and a replacement for a laptop computer. But unless you have one of only a handful of HP printers, you still need to use a computer to print from either an iPhone 4 or iPad 2. This is the weakest link Apple has.

I've Hurd from one of my friends that is a manager at Att had a meeting yesterday and the other guys said that iPhone 5 will be out from 6 months to June

Given Apple's focus on pixel-perfect design for touch, the chance that they increase the screen size w/o adding pixels is just about zero. And despite the inches, iPhone already has more pixels than any competitor except the Korea-only Samsung Galaxy S II HD.
If they did add pixels, the logical thing would to get to a "HD" resolution. A 326ppi, 1280x720 screen would be 4.5" (3.9" x 2.2") vs the current 960x640 screen at 3.5" (2.9" x 2.0"). That'd be a big phone; if they do that, I'd predict that would be the iPhone 5 HD, with an iPhone 5 continuing with the current-sized screen. Also, scaling apps would be terrible, so old apps would have to run letterboxed until they were upgraded; not sure what Jony Ive would think about that.

He, nor the developers would probably like it so they would probably increase screen size and move the ppi down just enough so that's still crystal clear but no longer Retina.

Was hoping for a 1080p, A5-powered, Siri-enabled Apple TV, too. Plus enough content deals for it to not miss a cable subscription.

I can accept all.. But same screen size for one more year? wtf!!!
Apple never disappointed me from the first iphone until now, but this time I was so disappointed.. Time to move to android. damn it!

Add to the list no Steve Jobs appearance, no “One more thing…” and there’s lots to gripe about.
No Steve Job. He was not there for a reason. He was dieing how about editing the report TIPB

Yeah this could use an edit. Obviously they couldn't have known at the time, but now it seems in poor taste.

She didn't say Steve Jobs should've been there, she was talking about how his resignation as a CEO and leader of Apple affected the keynote... re-read it please.

"While we can’t expect another 200 new features, was Cards really the best use of Apple’s time? Sure they can use it to sell some prints..."
Sort of answered your own question there!
And now I think we know why Steve didn't make an appearance... may want to update your whinge.

I'm really disappointed... first lion wasn't what i really expected and now all the time we waited for the same design and nothing than just some updates... pff watching the keynote was really BOOORING

I don't get it... for the people that want a 4.3" screen why not jailbreak the iPad and make your calls on that. I mean, really? 4.3" for a phone?
Am i disappointed they didn't go to a 4" screen? yes, 4.3".. hell no. way to big..

You'll change your mind when youve used one, so much content is displayed and it makes reading much easier on the eyes.
The only major thing I hated about the iOS UI is that because there were no buttons on the phone devs have to use screen space to present back buttons and navigation items (menu, home, back, etc) which takes up screen real estate. Not the case with android, webOS or WP7. Bigger screens FTW!

So what happens to all the cases that were made for an "iPhone 5"? It's pretty funny how people believed that the rumored design was going to be true. I was praying for an iPhone 5, but expected an internal upgrade from the iPhone 4.

I was all set to jump on this phone big time, but same tiny screen after 15 mo. and no 4G were the deal killers. Guess I'll wait some more for the Prime.

I'll say this... I too was hoping for the larger screen, I use a GS2 and even using a 4.3" screen I'm finding myself zooming in a lot because its fuzzy zoomed out anyway. I play Netflix and movies on it and at wide angle it only looks good not really taking advantage of larger screen. So, idk, not sure how I feel. GS2 is definitely a beast but with apple TV, I think iPhone might suit me better as a combo.

Lmao glad i switched to android right after the first iphone i owned and never looked back, instead of being lil girls and crying about how you now have to wait for something why dont you just go to android and actually have choices and more freedom to customize and make it YOUR phone

I was the biggest apple fan boy. I've had every product and recently jumped ship to the LG thrill and I must say WOW and so long apple this iPhone 4s is just not what needed to happen for me to be sorry that I moved on. And sorry to say the screen size is what did it for me. I expected a larger screen for me to stay with apple. But now I'm free and can do what I want with my phone. I was so tired of apple because they only release products based on how they want it not the consumer. So thank you Steve for making the cell phone industry the way it is you forever changed the game and may you rest in peace.

SIRI works fine on iPhone 4, why would they take that away from iPhone 4 users? all they doing is slapping us in the face. Very disapointed apple

Well, since I am upgrading from a Palm Pre+, this is all good for me anyway. Still, I would like to have seen the thinner form factor, aluminum back, and bigger screen. Still, from what I am coming from, the iPhone 4S is a bigger screen with thinner and more sturdy form factor. I'll slap some full-body Phantomskinz on it the day I get it and will be fine with it. Plus all the software improvements and camera improvements are the big plus for me. See you all on the iOS side of life in a couple of weeks.

For those of us living in condominiums, 5GHz WiFi is long overdue. 2.4GHz is WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY too crowded! I hope that a 5GHz radio can also be squeezed into the next iPhone.