Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer with an old smart phone,
Or to purchase a New shiny IPhone 4s…
Okay, enough with the butchered Shakespeare soliloquy. Today, we're talking about the long awaited IPhone 4S and weather it's worth the upgrade.
Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, (and there's nothing wrong with that), you've inevitably heard about the release of the new IPhone 4S. Many people were dismayed, as they were expecting an amazingly newly designed IPhone 5. But, it finally turned out that Apple decided to go with keeping the same design, but upgrading components, incorporating Siri into the operating system and unveiling their new firmware. Hence the question above. Should people buy into the new IPhone?
Well, before you can even consider trying to go forward with this process, you'll run into a couple of financial logistics. Most cell phone carriers in Canada, lock you in with your current phones with 1 to 3 year contracts. The contracts vary, but if you want to break out of them, there is usually a base penalty, plus an added fee depending on how many months you have left. There are ways to work around this, but this exceeds the scope of this article. I would suggest calling your provider for more information.
I've had an IPhone 4 s for about 5 days now. Am I impressed? Well, let's talk about its features. The device itself is exactly the same as the IPhone 4. Although, I'm told the volume buttons have been moved by a couple of millimeters. This can cause a bit of frustration with some existing protective cases. I've been able to cram the phone into an Otterbox case which had been said incompatible however, so it can't be that different.
As for its capabilities, as a VoiceOver user, I have seen a slight increase in responsiveness when typing, or moving around, but it's nothing to write home about. There is now a dual processor which increases processing speed, so that's good. But again, it's not very apparent when using VoiceOver. What I really do like however, is the 8 Mega Pixel camera. It gives a boost to OCR scanning apps such as ZoomReader or Prizmo. I've been able to get very comparable scans out of them. It also helps with other apps such as RedLaser, a QR code scanner, Digitize, the barcode reader or any other camera based application.
Now let's get down to the supposedly biggest selling feature of the IPhone 4S. Siri. What is Siri? Well, it's touted as being your own electronic administrative helper. You can tell it to set an alarm for tomorrow morning, make a meeting with Jason for 2 PM on Thursday, send dictated text or email messages. I even asked Siri why the sky is blue and it came up with an answer. For Siri to work, you need a connection to the internet; either via 3G or WIFI. Otherwise, Siri is disabled. What people tend to forget is that Siri's beginning was as an APP available in the IStore. Apple bought the company and incorporated it into the operating system. It now only works on the IPhone 4S; probably due to its faster processing power. Don't get me wrong, Siri is actually amazing and fun to use. It's quite the promising addition to the IPhone platform. However, that's all it is, an addition. Will I use it? Sure, why not. It saves me a lot of time when setting up alarms for example.
So, I still haven't answered the question that started this whole diatribe. Should one upgrade? If you own anything under the IPhone 4 within the Apple family of cell phone devices, then I'd say, Yeah, why not. The gain of speed and added features is well worth the upgrade.
If you already have an IPhone 4 however, I'd hold off. Unless you envision doing lots of OCR scanning with your IPhone, or really really really really want to play around with Siri. You can still get the added benefits of the new IOS 5 firmware on your IPhone 4, or 3gs even. You can now utilize better quality voices if you want. Or just stay with the old compact ones. I prefer to listen to UK Daniel. Upgrading to the IOS 5 should be considered for any IPhone user, as there are over 200 new features and enhancements contained within. You can find an overview here: http://www.apple.com/ios/features.html
How about if you have another smart phone and you want to finally get into the IPhone world? Here's a couple questions you'll have to ask yourself.
- What will I be using my Phone for? If the answer is making phone calls and texting, then I'd say, stay with your current phone, unless it doesn't have accessible texting. Making on the spur of the moment phone calls on the IPhone can be frustrating. There are ways to make it easier, but my beef with the IPhone is, you can't just turn it on and make a voice call. You need to jump through electronic hoops. Pecking out the numbers on the virtual number pad is definitely slower than a physical one. There are all sorts of apps that will enhance the use of your IPhone, but again, if you're not into tinkering, then this may not be the best choice for you.
- Am I willing to take the time to learn gestures? This is very important. The IPhone, all IDevices actually, use a series of gestures to control their operation. You need to sit down and take the time to learn them. Once you have done this however, you can control any IDevice that will be thrown at you. This can be a steep learning curve for some. Want to play with an IPhone-like device, but don't want to commit to the IPhone just yet? Just get an IPod Touch. You get everything that the IPhone has, but none of the calling features; although there are apps that let you make phone calls through WIFI as well but I digress.
So, there you have it in a rather cumbersome nutshell. Hopefully, I haven't muddied the waters for you even more. What it boils down to is, if you think you'd benefit from the new IPhone 4S, then upgrade by all means. Otherwise, stay with the status quo. Wow, maybe I should have just said that at the start. It would have made this article much shorter.
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"We work by wit, not by witchcraft." Othello