iPhone 4S: Five killer features

iPhone 4S: Five killer features

Summary: A look back at today's Apple announcement, and the killer features that will make the next-generation iPhone stand out.

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The next-generation iPhone has been announced, and naming aside, it is set to upgrade the hardware of one of the most popular smartphones in the U.S.

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, spoke today to journalists to unveil the new iPhone 4S.

While many improvements were listed and pointed out, the one overriding fact is that the device itself will not change in size or shape. It is, in effect, an iPhone 4 with a few hardware improvements to make the iOS 5 experience worth it.

But amid the web melting down and live blogs crumbling under the weight of the readership, there are five things to take away from the crucial announcement this afternoon.

1. iOS 5 (obviously)

The core to the phone itself is Apple's next-generation operating system. The upcoming iPhone, with all due respect to the device and Apple, is merely a holder for the content inside; the hardware upgraded to enable iOS 5 to run smoothly and to make the smartphone en par with other comparable smartphones on the market.

'iTunes in the cloud' will be a game-changer in itself, along with iCloud which will be deeply integrated into iOS 5. Even with announced 'Find My Friends', a native application which will no doubt be heavily questioned by privacy groups, will lead the way in displaying the location of close friends and family members on screen.

But with over 200 new changes and features added to one of the world's most popular mobile operating systems, the power is in the software rather than the hardware.

iOS 5 will be available on October 12th.

2. A much needed hardware boost

The iPhone 4S, as expected, has been given a much needed hardware boost. Souped-up from older generation iPhones, you can now expect content to be delivered to your screen at a lightning speed. No more slow downs, sluggish behaviour or application outages -- at least, we hope.

The same processor in the iPad 2, a dual-core A5 chip will go into the new iPhone 4S to make graphics and gaming capability run far smoother and at a better response rate.

It also includes, as expected an 8 megapixel camera, taking pictures up to a 3264x2448 resolution. It will be a third faster in taking photos; something reflected in previous complaints by iPhone 4 users.

3. Universal carrier support: A true 'world phone'

The iPhone 4S will come in two flavours: CDMA and GSM, depending on the carrier. But the next-generation iPhone will be compatible with both CDMA and GSM markets, reducing manufacturing costs, which should then reflect on the wallets of the customer.

Thus, a universal iPhone which will work across all markets also means a phone that can be taken anywhere with you, across borders and throughout continents. I'm talking to you, Verizon customers.

4. Better battery life

Each and every time an iPhone is let loose into the wild, we see battery life improving over time. Battery improvements enabled a 40 percent increase in power in the iPhone 4, up from the iPhone 3GS.

But the iPhone 4S will include 8 hours of 3G talk time, along with 9 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, and ten hours of video playback. On 2G networks, however, the battery should last up to 14 hours. On the whole, this does not quite reach the expected 40 percent, but it certainly balances out for the improved hardware capability.

5. Voice controls

"It's about our voice", Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of product marketing said. Voice control will be heavily integrated into the device, after an acquisition last year made it possible.

Known as "Siri", the intelligent assistant built into your iPhone, it allows you to make things happen simply by asking your phone to do something. This rivals Android's less than desirable voice function, which Apple believes that its system hits the nail on the head.

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Topics: Processors, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones

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81 comments
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  • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

    bleh
    tatiGmail
    • Absolutely

      @tatiGmail <br><br><i>3. Universal carrier support: A true world phone</i><br>Some of us like the ability to swap sim cards.<br>Zack - have you done a US to Europe data cost? Ouch is a serious understatement... heck, even US to Canada hurts.<br><br><i>5. Voice controls</i><br>Had most if not all of this on my Nexus One long ago....<br><br>To you perhaps these are 5 killer features.<br>In my world, iOS5 was the only one and that was to bring into the same ballpark as Android - but in the cheap seats.
      rhonin
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        @rhonin Be honest, it doesn't matter what they would have announced it wouldn't have been good enough in your opinion simply because it was from Apple.
        non-biased
    • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

      @tatiGmail

      BORING!!!

      MOVE ALONG PEOPLE, There's nothing to see around here...

      http://www.mobilespoon.net/2011/10/iphone-5-we-been-ripped-off-by-apple.html
      MobileSpoon
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        @MobileSpoon: You had Siri functionality on your Nexus One a long time ago? Really? Do tell. Please, I insist. Siri is not just dictation or simple voice control, it offers natural language voice control and query as well as dictation. But you go ahead and tell yourself whatever you need to sleep at night pal.
        aristotle_z
    • I feel sorry for Android and the MS Mobile.

      @tatiGmail <br>While Android muddles in its upgrade quagmire and MS attempts to break into a party that started long ago, Apple continues to polish and expand the best mobile system available. I own an Android so I know the pain of this system, flaky OS, version disparities, system slow downs, ect... I have had enough; it is time for an iPhone.
      KBabcock75
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        @aristotle_z: I will be excited once I use it. For now I am still a bit skeptical.
        BTW, even with a great SIRI functionality - I will still be disappointed with the lack of new hardware (external) design. I think there was a true need for something new there, something bigger maybe, something that will match with Apple's iPad superiority at the tablets market.
        It didn't happen this time.
        MobileSpoon
  • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

    So when you first load up your tune, contacts etc to the iCloud, what's that going to do to your data usage?
    alangblake
    • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

      @alangblake use WiFi.
      CowLauncher
    • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

      @alangblake Duh...you do the initial upload over WiFi and it won't do anything to your data usage.
      sbalun
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        "???iTunes in the cloud??? will be a game-changer in itself, along with iCloud which will be deeply integrated into iOS 5."

        I would guess you will have to be in hotspots a lot or your bill will be through the roof. We've already seen AT&T use apps that boost data usage I'm guessing this phone will REQUIRE a 2GB plan at least.
        alangblake
    • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

      @alangblake
      Will there be a Rules engine that will allow your iPhone to identify where you are and if you are on your secured network to use WiFi, or if you are on an unsecured network to use VPN? I have this on my WinMo6.1 HTC Tilt...Small little VB app I wrote years ago to allow my WinMo phone to recognize known networks and to automatically use them as needed!
      tech_ed@...
  • Una cagada

    Now specs matters? I think that bloggers will have to do so much work to defend this non innovative anymore phone.
    Rigel.628
    • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

      @Rigel.628 Yers ahead of anyone else with real natural language recognition. This will be to speech recognition what multi-touch was to the touch screen.
      In 2 years people will look back on iOS5 the same way they look back at the iPhone launch as totally changing the playing field.
      And yes I know there has been limited voice control in iOS for for years and in Android for a while but if Apple pulls off natural language control and input then it is a whole new ball game.
      kpbpsw
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        @kpbpsw Wow...reach much? You have done your ibrethren proud today!
        The_Omega_Man
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        @kpbpsw Already in Windows Phone 7.5.
        ufbobby@...
      • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

        @kpbpsw

        Already done - get a WP7 phone
        tonymcs@...
  • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

    Awesome, I get one more year of "currentness" out of my "4". All in all, a pretty blase announcement, and one that I expected with as groundbreaking (for iPhone world) as the iPhone 4 was last year. Other than speeding it up and improving the OS, it really doesn't need anything.
    Playdrv4me
    • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

      @Playdrv4me This is bigger than a new case that was the iPhone 4 it is iOS5!
      kpbpsw
  • RE: Five killer features in the iPhone 4S

    Is that it?!
    jhughesy