The iPhone 4S may not have been the revolutionary update iPhone owners were expecting, but there were quite a few updates that absolutely change the overall user experience. The question potential upgraders have to ask themselves is whether or not these changes are significant enough to warrant upgrading.
If you’re a frequent user of the built-in camera, the improvements made are significant enough to make a big difference in your overall picture and video quality. An eight megapixel still camera with f/2.4 aperture is a remarkable improvement over the five megapixel camera in the 4. The extra lens and other improvements have allowed for a depth of field effect where previous iPhones had basically none. This means that the subject of your photo is in sharp focus while the background is slightly blurred. There are plenty of terrific shots you can take from the hip using this feature. Video benefits from stabilization, which is actually pretty incredible considering the size of the device. Need I even mention the upgrade to 1080p from 720p on the iPhone 4 and 3GS?
If you’re a gamer, there is a slight and noticeable improvement in overall performance. Average users who simply check their email, browse the Web, and use a handful of basic apps may not feel the processor improvement to be a worthwhile investment.
The dual core Apple A5 processor also makes Siri possible as a backbone and always-on application. With Siri, you can dictate in real time, schedule appointments, respond to email and text messages, and enjoy the benefits of having a know-it-all virtual assistant at your beck and call.
Battery life is one area where the 4S is both better and worse than before. Eight hours of talk time on 3G is an improvement over the seven hours promised on the iPhone 4, but data and standby battery life is reduced, likely because of the battery drain caused by a more powerful processor and constantly-on intelligent services like Siri.
Bottom line: Both of these phones have an impressive set of features. The iPhone 4 was, until last week, the top-selling smart phone on the market. Now that it’s available at just $99, you can bet that it will continue to be a top contender in the smart phone market.
So, what do you think? Was the iPhone 4S a significant enough upgrade to warrant consideration over a $100 iPhone 4 or free iPhone 3GS?