While only time will tell what the future holds for Apple as a company, the launch of the iPhone 4s appears to have largely failed to impress. So, was it worth the wait, or are you better off waiting around a little longer for the illusive iPhone 5? We take a closer look….
What’s the deal?
Apple claims that its new offering is ‘picking up where amazing left off’ but many have criticised the new phone for not being exciting enough.
That said, although it looks no different on the outside, the iPhone 4’s predecessor has been overhauled on the inside starting with a dual-core A5 chip.
This means that the new version is up to 2 times faster than the iPhone 4. Apple says that because the A5 chip is more power-efficient, the iPhone 4S will have an even better battery life.
iPhone’s have never been praised for the quality of its cameras – the iPhone 3Gs for example comes with a 3-megapixel camera but with no flash. The iPhone 4 fares slightly better with a 5-megapixel camera with flash, but Apple’s has upgraded the camera yet again for the iPhone 4S. It now boasts an impressive 8-megapixel camera, again with flash, that makes photos and videos look that little bit better.
You can also edit and crop your photos and also use the volume control button of your phone to take a photo – a welcome addition from the old way of using the touchscreen to take a picture. This functionality will also be available to iPhone 4 and 3GS users when the iOS 5 update is released next week.
Probably the most impressive feature of the new device is the introduction of Siri that is only available on the 4S. Rather than just having a basic voice control function that you can use to ‘call Mum’ now you can literally ask your iPhone any question or give it an instruction and it will do it for you.
For example, you could ask what the weather will be like in your area this weekend and not only will it show you on the phone’s display but it will actually tell you as well. You can also give it tasks such as setting up meetings with friends or even sending a text message.
The device will run the new iOS 5 software that is also available to iPhone 4 and 3GS users from 12th October. Features of iOS 5 include the new Notification Centre that is quite similar to that on the latest BlackBerry operating system where all of your notifications are stored at the top of the screen; with one swipe you can see all of your notifications for text, email, calendar reminders as well as Facebook and Twitter notifications.
Another function of iOS 5 is the introduction of iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you send unlimited text messages via Wi-Fi or 3G from an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to anyone with one of those devices. You can also send pictures and videos by using this service.
iOS 5 has also overhauled the way you set up calendar reminders and to-do lists for example if you need to pick up something from the supermarket on the way home from work you can set a reminder to do this and your phone will remind you of what you need as soon as you pull up in the shops car park.
Twitter will now be integrated into your iPhone so it makes it easier for you to tweet and to upload photos to Twitter, it will also integrate any of your friends in your contacts and will update their details with their Twitter usernames.
Finally another main function of iOS 5 is the upgraded Safari browser that includes Safari Reader. This functionality displays web articles without ads or any other clutter on the screen so you can read more clearly. The new Reading List lets you save any articles you don’t manage to finish reading so you can pick them up at a later date.
How much will it cost?
With no announcement yet from any of the major networks only time will tell how much the upgraded device will cost with a contract.
If you want to buy the phone SIM free then Apple will be taking pre-orders online for the phone now ready for the 14th October launch date, but it will set you back a steep £499.
Has the iPhone 4 reduced in price?
As of yet there has been no shift in the price of an iPhone 4 with the major networks. If you want to take out a contract for this model then make sure you compare prices across all of main players that carry the iPhone – Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, O2 and 3.
If you want to take advantage of a free iPhone 4 now then you must be prepared to lock into a network for around 24 months. 3 is offering the best deal at £35 per month that gets you a free iPhone 4 16GB handset, 500 minutes, 5000 texts and a massive 1GB of internet.
If you prefer an 18 month deal then you can get a iPhone 4 for free for £46 per month with Vodafone. This tariff gives you 900 minutes, unlimited texts and a internet usage limit of 750MB. Vodafone also offers 12 month plans starting at £36 per month however you must be prepared to pay around £299 for the handset.
The iPhone 4S certainly packs a lot of punch, but a lot of the new features will be available on the iOS 5 update so it really is entirely up to you whether you go with the newer model. Bear in mind that at present Apple are advertising the phone SIM free from £499 with the iPhone 4 8GB priced at £429, if you are thinking of buying the phone SIM free then the newer version is only £70 extra.
If it is a contract that you are after then check back with us over the next few days for updates on pricing for each of the big networks. Orange, Three and T-Mobile have all confirmed their release dates as 14th October with Vodafone and O2 set to confirm its launch dates in the next few days.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.