iPhone 4S early reviews

Early reviews of the iPhone 4S have begun to hit the web and as always there's as diverse a set of opinions as any good cadre of tech writers can manage. Who're we kidding, it's the new iPhone. They've had at it.

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal thinks the new hardware, software, services, and Siri make for an attractive but not dramatic update.

The iPhone 4S is one of Apple’s less dramatic updates, but, when combined with the Siri, iOS 5 and iCloud features, it presents an attractive new offering to smartphone users. Some may be content to skip the new hardware and just enjoy the software and cloud features with older models. But those buying the phone will likely be happy with it.

David Pogue of The New York Times says, bottom line, Apple has an excellent job.

The question isn’t what’s in a name — it’s what’s in a phone. And the answer is: “A lot of amazing technology. And some of it feels like magic.”

Ed Baig of USA Today (opens in new tab) says that Siri lends its specific pretty darn coolness to the iPhone 4S in general.

Pro. Siri, good camera, iOS 5, iCloud, half-million apps. Snappy. World phone.Con. No LTE version. Photo Stream glitch.

Shane Richmond of The Telegraph thinks Siri is as significant an advance as multitouch was with the original iPhone.

Overall, the iPhone 4S is a good upgrade to a very good phone. It retains the stylish design of the iPhone 4 and gives it a substantial boost. It's certainly not cheap when you consider some of the alternatives but it feels like a luxury product and it's an absolute joy to use. If you own the iPhone 4, then whether you upgrade or not depends on how tempted you are by Siri and the new camera. The upgrades in iOS 5 might be enough for iPhone 4 owners. 3GS owners should be in the queue already.

Brian X. Chen of Wired thinks the iPhone continues to push the pace.

Siri is the best androgynous unpaid intern you’ll ever meet. Dual-core guts make for faster apps and a smoother interface. Camera is much-improved. Call quality gets a boost.Siri is limited in what it can do and understand. Looks the same as the iPhone 4 — what’s up with that? A 2-year contract means you may not be eligible for the best upgrade pricing.

Jason Snell of Macworld think the S in iPhone 4S stands for "sure thing".

In the end, the iPhone 4S follows Apple’s recent trajectory of iPhone releases: It’s an object of some appeal to people who last upgraded their phones a year ago, and over the next year a great many of them will find it worthwhile to upgrade to the iPhone 4S. But to all those people who’ve been hanging on to their iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, the wait is over: It’s time to upgrade without any hesitation whatsoever. The iPhone 4S has speed, a great camera, some cool voice-recognition features, and the same beautiful industrial design that was introduced in the iPhone 4. It’s destined to be immensely popular.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop says iPhone 4S is well ahead of its competition.

You can look at each of the items that Apple will release in conjunction with the iPhone and be amazed with how innovative all of them are.When you put them all together in one product like the iPhone 4S, you have an incredibly successful product that other companies just can’t compete with.

Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear thinks that while iPhone 4S looks the same as iPhone 4, it portents the same kind of industry shift as the original iPhone.

Wisely resisting the urge to change design for the sake of change, Apple has focused its attention where it will count the most: creating a longer-lasting smartphone that takes better photos, runs apps more smoothly and helps people efficiently manage their mobile lives whether they’re within cable’s reach of their home or office or otherwise. Meanwhile, Siri proves that the company still has what it takes to deliver game-changing functionality.

MG Siegler of TechCrunch thinks it's the new pinnacle of smartphones.

I’m happy that Apple decided not to change the form factor even though they had to know there would be some backlash from a certain segment of the population (read: idiots). Instead, Apple focused on the other thing they do best: refining already great products to make them better. The iPhone 4 was a great product. The best smartphone ever made. Now it cedes that title to the iPhone 4S.

Josh Topolsky of The Verge thinks it's great for older iPhone users and new-to iPhone users but not as compelling for iPhone 4 users.

This is the easy part… kind of. If you’re an owner of an older iPhone, or someone looking to switch to an iPhone from a different platform, there’s never been a better Apple device to buy. The iPhone 4S is an astoundingly good phone. Between the hardware (both inside and out) and the software (iOS 5 as well as third party offerings), it’s just kind of an awesome package. The lack of LTE, a larger display, or a new design may put off some buyers, but that won’t change the fact that the 4S is a force to be reckoned with.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • How do we know that picture is really the iPhone 4S and not the Verizon iPhone 4?
  • Did you not see the "S" on it's chest? :-)
  • The iPhone 4S has been confirmed to look identical to the CDMA iPhone. The only difference is that the GSM models have the SIM tray.
  • Because it's running iOS 5. No promo images for the Verizon iPhone were ever produced of it running the update.
  • Slashgear has THE BEST review for Siri...third video down...its awesome. Very humorous; reviewer ask diverse questions and really displays the power of Siri. http://www.slashgear.com/iphone-4s-review-11187049/
  • To be honest, Siri is nice (I'll use it a decent amount) and the camera's nice (I'll use it just as much as I do now, but will always use my point and shoot for low light pics or stuff that I want excellent images), but the MAJOR reason I got this is for the 64 gig storage, along with the AirPlaying my phone screen to my aTV.
    Granted the AirPlay won't be that big to most, but everyone's got their own major needs and wants, and these are mine.
  • if they ever put a decent flash on these things i bet they could keep a lot of people from using their point and shoot in low light.
    Me i got one but i'm a man and i don't roll around with a camera when i'm out and about anyways so my point and shoot that takes good pictures in the dark is never on me. So i'd be real happy if they ever make a version with a flash good enough to light up a dark room.
  • Same want with the airplay. But the processor wins me over. And I won't pass on better video and pics. If Siri is worth anything, i'll consider it a bonus.
  • I bought Samsung galaxy s2 instead of iphone 4s
    ps nothing is magical with the new iphone
  • That's just cause you didn't get the super secret unicorn magic elite edition. The rest of us all did. And we're all just hanging out doing magical stuff. I just fought a wizard with my phone. Magic baby. Magic.
  • I am returning my S2 for the 4s preordertoday. I gave android a week and a half and there is so much to like, and i do really LIKE the phone. I LOVE my iphone and miss it already.
  • uhh thats an unfair comparison considering the galaxy S2 loaded the website WITH flash ads...
  • I apologize for posting this here. I really don't want it to get lost in a Forum ...
    Have anyone here seen the ebay listings for Apple Phone (right, no "i")? They are for iPhone 4S 64 gig at $700. The auction looks fine until you scroll down to the description where it reads your bid will be canceled if you bid before contacting the seller. It continues that you have to buy a minimum of 2 iPhones and then you can see the sellers g-mail addy. They say NOT to contact them via the bay "contact seller".
    I contacted three different sellers and the messages I got back were extremely similar to one another.
    After a few hours the auctions were pulled.
    This listing (380376171037) has been removed, or this item is not available.
    From the seller:
    The final price for 2 x Apple iPhone 4S 64GB is 1400 USD shipping and handling taxes included
    We will close the deal through eBay Buyer/Seller Protection Program. In this way we are both protected.
    I will explain you how it works:
    eBay will contact us (seller and buyer) with payment and delivery instructions. You will send the money to eBay. Once the payment is made and confirmed , eBay will notify me to start the delivery (it will take 24h to 48h to receive the package). Once you have the phones in your hands , you have 7 days to inspect them to see if they are original , new , unlocked , working ...etc. If you want to keep them , you will have to notify eBay that everything is OK so they can send me the money . If you are not satisfied with the phones , send them back at my costs and eBay will cancel our transaction and you will get your money back.
    Let me know if you are intested because i need some details from you in order to start this transaction .
    Thanks !"
    It's pure BS, no?
  • its a common scam thru fake ebay page and western union do not do it
    I did e-mail the seller saying I had no recourse using Western Union and that he should ask God for forgiveness for all the people he's ripping off.
  • you fail hahahttp://www.engadget.com/2011/10/11/benchmarks-clock-iphone-4s-a5-cpu-at-...
  • "MG Siegler of TechCrunch thinks it’s the new pinnacle of smartphones.
    I’m happy that Apple decided not to change the form factor even though they had to know there would be some backlash from a certain segment of the population (read: idiots). Instead, Apple focused on the other thing they do best: refining already great products to make them better."
    Don't call me an idiot because I wanted a bigger screen and a phone that has rounded edges so it doesn't leave my ear raw after a 5minute phone call. I got news for you buddy. It's not always about the internals of a phone. The iPhone 4 does everything I needed it to do. I don't need a personal assistant. I can type my own messages and search for my own restaurants.
  • It is certainly a bit harsh to call people idiots for wanting a bigger screen.
  • I wouldn't call these 'reviews'
  • The more I read about the 4S, the more I'm convinced that it would be worthwhile to upgrade from my much loved 3GS; Siri is awesome
  • to me yeah siri is a good addition but the main reason im upgrading from a 4 is for the 64gb storage option.
    if they didn't come out with that i would have waited for the 5
  • If the iPhone 4 is as good as everyone seems to believe than the iPhone 4S should not disappoint anyone who has an interest in the iPhone. It appears to be a big advance, not so much in the hardware alone, nor the software on its own, but as a full package.
    I have no doubt that unless I switch carriers I am going to move to Windows Phone next, but were there a need to have devices from two carriers, one of those devices would be the iPhone 4S.
  • Ah, I knew it was "lonely stoner" and yet I wrote "only" for some reason. (Smacks head.) Thanks for the heads up.