For the past year, I've been using the iPhone 4. It's the best phone, if not the best product I've ever used.
The box. Tastefully Apple.
Accessories are the usual suspects.
Slight changes do exist. The dock connector is now a lighter in color with a longer strain relief. Nice change. I've heard many stories of people devouring them. The headphone's controller is now also completely white and not 2 tone.
I went with a white phone this time. In a pure design point of view, I feel that the black iPhone is superior. But as a lover of white objects, I couldn't resist the white phone. Looks great with my white iPad 2 too.
As everyone knows, the new phone is physically nearly identical to the old. The positioning of the antenna dividers have shifted a bit, along with the vibrator switch. By the way, the vibrator in the 4S is appreciably more powerful than the 4. A welcome change as I used to miss some calls on the 4.
The biggest changes can be found in the internals. The 4S is noticeably more snappy than the 4. Loading apps and jumping around just feels more fluid. The performance doesn't initially seem noticeable because things just "happen". Smoothness is harder to notice than sluggishness. Putting the 4S next to the 4 reveals the extra peppiness. Apps launch faster, and webpages load more quickly. Things aren't a monumentally improved but it's undisputable that everything is better. The experience is very similar in going from the iPad to the iPad 2. I've also noticed that the retina display has a slightly cooler hue and is ever so slightly brighter on the 4S. It's something most won't even notice though.
There has been much controversy over Apple not introducing the iPhone 5. However, in terms of a business stand point, the 4S makes so much sense. It's already the best selling iPhone to date.
I must admit. I wanted this to be the 5. But I'm happy that Apple pulled a 4S. Why? It's because they are proving something that I wanted to believe. Design can have longevity in our consumerist society. Things don't have to look "new" just to sell.
I never intended to buy the 4S. I ended up getting it after finding out that my father in Canada isn't eligible for an upgrade from his 3GS. I'll be giving him my unlocked 4. After using the 4S for a few days, I still don't think it's a worthy upgrade for a 4 user. I don't know if this is true but I think Apple has yet another reasoning behind these "S" phones. The cellular contract is 2 years. Apple releases a completely redesigned phone every 2 years. See a pattern? Every American upgrading will be getting a phone that's completely new. This creates a user that always buys the newly introduced iPhone and another with the "S" model. It's a theory.
The iPhone 4S is truly a work of art. Industrial design at its finest. The most beautiful materials coming together in harmony to create something so dense and thoughtful. I'm still struck by its beauty. It's almost impossible to find a phone that remains this attractive after a year of launch.
Even after something like 15 months of launch, there is still not a single phone as beautiful as this.
I went with Verizon. The main reason is that they unlock the sim slot after 60 days of use for international use. I love the new "world phone". Having 2 iPhones was very not Apple.
Ofcourse there is Siri. It's still in Beta. Siri is quite simply amazing. It makes tasks like setting a timer or making a reminder so much more efficient. I always think about making a reminder but end up not in laziness. The first usage case where I discovered how useful Siri was while doing laundry. After starting the laundry machine, I set a timer with Siri. And I then remembered that I needed to buy something at the groceries later that day. I just told Siri to remind me when I left home. Genius.
Siri isn't AI. It doesn't actually converse in a conversation with you. However Apple is pulling some impressive tricks to make it the most fluid speech recognition software I've ever seen. Not everything works but Siri understands a surprising number of things. Speech recognition itself is also the best I've seen. Siri manages to understand even murmurs. iOS now also supports text inputs via speech. I've been using it to tweet and it really does make things faster.
Siri is the beginning of something big. This is the beginning of making the computer more human. Something more approachable. Apple has always been about making the computer less machine and more friend. I honestly believe that Siri is going to be something that's going to change the world, not just speech recognition.
Another huge upgrade is in the camera. The photos from this camera simply shocked me. They are unbelievably sharp, accurate and balanced. Believe it or not, it makes the the iPhone 4's camera look unimpressive. Welcome to the end of point-and-shoots. Here are some unaltered, uncropped photos from the phone:
Vivid, brilliant colors.
Macro shots are incredible. My Fuji X100 can't pull this off.
HDR is still great.
Can you believe that this is from a phone? White balance has also been improved significantly.
Indoor shots are well handled.
This was shot in a very dark room. Noise is exceptionally low.
The single light that was lighting the drunk octopus.
No detail loss in even the brightest light.
The lens is probably equal to something like 35mm.
The best. Made even better.