Apple unveiled its new iPhone Tuesday, but instead of the much-hyped iPhone 5, it was an upgraded form of its earlier phone, called the iPhone 4S. Hayley Tsukayama wrote this review:
Apple unveiled its iPhone 4S on Tuesday to a lot of fanfare and quite a bit of disappointment. In our not-at-all scientific poll of more than 4,000 respondents, 57 percent of our readers said that they were expecting to see an iPhone 5 and 21 percent said they weren’t that excited by the new features.
But what did reviewers think? Here are some highlights from hands-on first impressions.
Design: The external design is essentially the same as the iPhone 4. “Do you have an iPhone 4? Pick it up. Look at it. Turn it over. There, you’ve just done an iPhone 4S hands-on. Congratulations!,” wrote Thisismynext’s Joshua Topolsky. Apart from being .1 ounce heavier than its predecessor, CNET’s Bonnie Cha and Kent Herman couldn’t find any design differences at all.
Processor: The processor on the new iPhone is zippy, since the same A5 core processor that’s in the iPad. Most reviewers said they noticed an immediate difference. PCMag’s Dan Costa said he tried to “tax the new A5 CPU” and found that the game he played was very fluid. The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple said that the processor upgrade is “huge, because it can easily handle Apple’s more advanced technology like its voice assistant, Siri.”
Camera: The camera is another key new feature on the phone, and here Apple has definitely not disappointed, according to the first impressions. While most only had a brief amount of time playing with the new 8MP sensor, reviewers said that the camera was a definite improvement. “[The] camera really does stand out here,” Topolsky said.
One of the most exciting features of the iPhone 4S is Siri, the application which was advertised as an intelligent personal secretary on your smartphone. As Joshua Topolsky explained :
The launch wasn’t really about the phone at all. It was about the software inside and possibly the kick-start of the next big revolution in how we interact with our gadgets.
That software is called Siri, but Apple would like for you to think of it as your “intelligent assistant.” And what Siri does is nothing short of amazing.
Siri can listen to your “natural language” (that is, words spoken as you would to another human, not a computer) questions or requests and respond like a digital secretary. It’s not just that Siri listens, either. The software is capable of understanding the context of what you’re talking about, so if you ask it to set an alarm on your phone, it will ask you for what time. And again, you don’t. Have. To. Talk. Really. Slowly.
If you ask Siri to schedule an appointment, it will not only check to see if it conflicts with any of your other meetings but will help you juggle the time slot until you have your day’s events mapped out. Siri will find movie theaters close to you or tell you how to get home from your current location. It can identify family members, spouses and co-workers you’re always talking to, and it knows when people’s birthdays, anniversaries or other big events are coming up.
Potentially more important to the brand than any disappointment over its failure to meet expectations for the iPhone 4S launch was the death of Steve Jobs, the company’s visionary co-founder. As Michael Rosenwald reported:
The death of Steve Jobs at age 56 comes at a crucial period in the history of personal computing — an industry he almost single-handedly created, first with the Apple II, then the Macintosh, then iTunes and the iPod, and now the iPhone and the iPad.
Apple has $76 billion in the bank, but it faces challenges from seemingly every corner.
Google wants to crush the iPhone with its Android system. Netflix wants to dominate the world’s living rooms, leaving iTunes behind. Facebook wants to be the window to the Internet, controlling just about everything. And now Amazon is jumping into the tablet business.
Apple comes at this battle not with Jobs, who gave up day-to-day control in August, but with a Southern, soft-spoken gentleman named Tim Cook, who debuted the new iPhone this week to mostly tepid — and even some harsh — reviews.
Cook will battle Google and the other challengers with Jobs’s legacy stalking his every move — on Wall Street, in Apple’s stores, and in the hearts and minds of technology users around the world. No executive in the history of American business was more closely tied to a company’s brand than Jobs was with Apple.
“The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come,” longtime rival Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, wrote Wednesday night on his personal blog.
A newer generation of tech titans also lionized Jobs, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posting a note on his Facebook page: “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”