iPhone 4S: Did Apple deliver what it needed to this year?

“Another Apple press event has come and gone. While Apple does grab our attention over and over, we seem to quickly forget the somewhat underwhelmed feeling we get the moment any press event is over,” Geoffrey Goetz writes for GigaOM. “But feelings aside, did Apple deliver what it needed to this year?”

“Overall I would have to say that the new iPhone 4S has about everything that I was hoping it would have. And I’m still hopeful that the changes made in antenna technology under the hood will improve GPS performance as well,” Goetz writes. “It may not be the update some analysts were anticipating, but it should be plenty to keep Apple on top of its mobile game.”

Goetz looks at what iPhone 4S delivers – and doesn’t – in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. I have a 3GS. The 4S is a huge upgrade for me and a decent upgrade from a 4, but the lack of a bigger screen is frankly the only thing lowering my “Get the 4S” impulse from 100% (line up for the damn thing) to maybe 80% (get it a month or so later).

    My eyes have trouble focusing on near distances, so a larger screen with same resolution (i.e. lower pixel density than Retina) would’ve been perfectly fine by me.

    1. I totally understand this. Larger screens without software integration, however, results in fragmentation as aspect ratios change from phone to phone and developers only gradually adopt the changes. If I were you, I would go look at the Retina Displays. They’re absolutely incredible. They’re certainly easier to read than the 3GS. Best of luck to you!

    2. “decent upgrade from a 4”
      Oh, I think it’s more than that. 64GB vs 32GB,A5Dual
      Core vs A4,8MP vs 5MP camera,1080 vs720 HD video,
      1024MB DRAM vs 512 memory,and Siri. Siri might be
      the sleeping giant in this iteration of the iPhone. Just
      sent my sister the 3Gs and she’ll be also getting my
      4G as soon as I get the 4Gs delivered. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    3. 4″ screen is not that bigger, you would feel like complaining that this is not big enough pretty soon.

      If you go to that direction, then you will want 4.3, 4.5, 4.7″ (!!!) screen smartphones. However, even iPhone size is already about maximum that still relatively convenient to use as phone.

      1. Wrong. My Moto Atrix is really close to the same size as my wife’s iPhone 4 in length and width. But my phone has a 4″ screen rather than her smaller screen. The difference is very noticeable for both web surfing and watching video. Because the length and width are the same on both phones, they’re equally convenient to use. But I have a significantly bigger screen to enjoy. The primary difference is all the space that the iPhone button takes up on the bottom of the screen. On the Moto, some of this has been converted to usable screen space.

  2. I think apple is really taking the p*ss here.. I felt ripped off when my 3GS was outdated by 4 in only a few short months.. I’m not getting stung again I’ll wait got the 5 and a proper upgrade!!

    1. WTF are you smoking?


      iPhone 3GS 6/19/2009
      iPhone 4 6/24/2010

      a FEW months?…..
      so, you bought a 3GS real close to the historical release dates for iPhones… and since you had NO clue that Apple was about to release a new model… it’s Apple’s fault?
      more like your ignorance of Apple’s release dates.

      1. I agree with Klj.

        The point of it is that Apple now appears ignorant of its own usual release dates. June came and went. Four months later, we get excited about an iPhone media event. And yet, we have no “5”. If it is supposedly everything we were asking for in a “5”, why is it not a 5??? Meaning, release dates just flew out the window, and smart consumers (the informed of release dates) know now that a 5 is around the corner. Why? Because all they gave us 16 months later was a letter S !!!!!

        1. and you KNOW the 5 is around the corner how?

          for all we know, apple could have changed the iPhone updates to be WITH iPod updates…
          I think the CDMA iPhone for Verizon and the white release has more to do with the 16 month part. when the Verizon launch was made, people suspected the change.
          Gee buy a CDMA iPhone, and what 2-3 months later a new iPhone?…

          I’m thinking a Sept/October iPhone/iPod event from now on. (and i’m not the only one)

        2. i am amazed at the stupidity of so many people. Apple is not obligated to release a new iPhone ever again, never mind on a specific schedule. And who cares if it’s called 4S or 5? Are you seriously saying you’re upset because of the name? Do you even listen to yourself? By the way, smart consumers have figured out that the next iPhone is nowhere in sight. It won’t see the light of day until summer/fall of next year. The 4S is THE new iPhone for the next 9-12 months.

          1. “By the way, smart consumers have figured out that the next iPhone is nowhere in sight. It won’t see the light of day until summer/fall of next year. The 4S is THE new iPhone for the next 9-12 months.”

            Yes. That is what I am saying. You know that because they called it a 4S. Which sucks for anyone who has been waiting for the 5. The name choice is the biggest indicator that something different is on its way. If we were looking at enhancing this model for the rest of iPhone’s life, like a MacBook Pro for instance, then they would have gone ahead and called this iPhone, with its completely new set of innards, the iPhone 5. The name choice means something. To this smart consumer, it means “wait”.

          2. Plus, having an upgrade with the same form factor follows Apple’s pattern:
            iPhone 1 / 2
            IPhone 3G / 3GS
            iPhone 4 / 4S
            PREDICTION: Expect the 5S or 6 to look like the iPhone 5 about a year later… Really, let them focus on software / hardware IMPROVEMENTS instead of cosmetic changes. Let Android makers release completelu new models every 6-9 mos. They have no trouble meeting demand anyways!

    2. I agree klj but the sheep will upgrade to it. At least they will have a friend and companion to talk to (siri).
      I think i will stick with my iphone 4 as im not a mug lol

  3. It really amazes me how everyone is saying this event was not exciting. If we look at Apples history this is nothing new. Apple never mentioned anything about a iPhone 5. The rumors caused all this hype. Nevertheless Apple did live you to the hype. The improved hardware, a new OS and Siri come on people. Enjoy the new features and get ready for the iPhone 5 sometime next year. Why rush something when you want to get it right. Apple may be planning a iphone 5 with a bigger screen. When the time is right they will deliver. Apple may be last with the bigger screen but you know it will be better.

  4. IMO when i heard/read the 4S news earlier today… i wasn’t impressed.

    got home, watched the entire keynote.
    changed my mind, i want the 4S now… and i’ll get it nov/dec.

    Granted the majority of the event i liked, is software not hardware. (Siri, iOS 5) But some of the stuff is limited to the 4S.

    I think they hit a home run, the “doubters/bashers” you hear today.. were expecting no less than a Grand Slam to end the World Series.

  5. This Siri voice interface is going to be the biggest thing. Soon Apple will have lots of Partners all trying to integrate with their voice response system.

    I have no idea why the press keeps acting like this is a minor update. This is major! This will become the biggest breakthrough in the history of computers!

    This is big. Siri is just the beginning. Just wait another year and you will see how big this will become!

    1. +1. I think most blind consumers failed to understand that Apple changed the way we’ll use our smartphones from now on with Siri! Siri is not just an upgrade it’s THE upgrade of the decade for me! Can you just grasp the fact that you’ll have your own personal assistant that understands THE CONTEXT of what you’re saying and not just words??? THIS IS HUGE PEOPLE, WAKE UP!

  6. I’m looking for information on whether the 4S will work with T-Mobile. I have to balance the cost of an unlocked phone with the ability to enjoy all the toys. I don’t think it will work with T-Mobile’s system so I would be restricted to Edge, but is that better than an Android phone. At first blush, I think that’s the case, but I want to know more.

    1. I think you’d have to Jailbreak it. it *should* work on t-mobile (edge) but, you would have to wait a while until an unlock comes out.

      Friday you’ll have to see if Apple has an unlocked option, they sell the iPhone 4 unlocked now.. but they didn’t announce any unlocked 4S version (yet?)

      who knows, the 4S world phone could do 3G on t-mobile..

      well, Apple’s website lists the iPhone 4s frequency range:
      UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
      GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

      that 2100 MHz, is what t-mobile uses for 3G.. AT&T uses 1900

      Could be wrong, but once unlocked it looks like the 4S *may* be able to use t-mobiles network at full speeds.. but I’ll let some Cellular tech geek answer that.

  7. My issue is not with the hardware upgrade, but the timing. The 4s is a nice update, but something they should have been able come out with it in their usual June timeframe. iCloud and Siri are software updates, so if they were waiting on them to announce the new phone, shame on them. They could have cornered the summer market with the 4s in June and then did the same for the holiday market with the software updates in October.

    1. So in 16 months from now — CAN WE HAVE iPHONE 5?

      With PERFECT siri 2 – and a bigger screen – and a A6 chip quad core CHIP in a super slim holographic projecting cellphone and virtual keyboard…

      then i wait for iPhone 5
      and others will wait until iPhone 5s after that
      this is the NEW apple s

      1. If I always waited for the next best thing, I’d still be using a Windows 386 machine, a PocketPC “smart”phone, a huge tube TV and a fax machine.

        As Apple Fans we’re lucky our tech doesn’t depreciate like the rest. I sold my iPhone 4 on ebay tonight for $400 ($100 more than I paid for it 16 months ago). I’ll ship it tomorrow and have to use a flip phone and iPad2 for 10 days until my new iPhone 4S lands on my doorstep.

        1. I hear that and think, “what idiots are paying 400 for a $99 phone???”

          The funny thing about your comment is that you tout Apple tech doesn’t depreciate, but you get rid of yours the second a newer model comes out. If it was “good enough”, i.e. valuable, you could hold on to it another two years.

          But, I guess if there are people ignorant enough to pay YOU $400 for an iPhone, then I have no ground to stand on in this. That is simply astounding to me that someone pays that much. Astounding.

    2. Who the hell are you to say what Apple should have been able to do and that they should be ashamed for releasing it in October? Newsflash: New iPhone models are tied to major new iOS releases. One does not come without the other. If it took Apple 2 years to come out with a new iPhone because of software or any other reason, that’s the way it is. They don’t owe you a damn thing.

      1. I’m simply an Apple fan, who wants to see them continue to do well. I was not planning upgrade till next year anyways. iPhone 4 sales continued to be great through the summer granted, but in order to stay on top, I just think they need to keep it fresh. Having two separate big announcements could not hurt publicity either. I’m sure they could have had a lesser version of iOS5 ready this summer, and then added Siri and iCloud later as 5.1 etc. They have added iOS features mid-stream in the past, and they have certainly have done this with Mac hardware and OS X updates.

  8. Siri is huge.

    One, it will be impossible for anyone but Android and MS to copy (and it won’t be easy for them).

    Two, it abstracts the underlying search tool. Users won’t care anymore (won’t even get to decide) who finds the info for them. Siri is the gateway to all your mobile searches.

    Three, it proves Apple can still act like a startup. They went from “wow, what a neat idea” to “make this a priority” to “this is a polished, integrated product” in about a year. Name another giant corporation that could do that without having dozens of competing managers and departments screw it up or smother the project.

      1. I agree. If Google hadn’t pissed off Steve, Apple would probably be bending over backwards to make sure that Siri took advantage of every single tool Google has to offer.

    1. when I watched the keynote tonight, I already knew of Siri from reading the earlier stuff.

      When they said “keep in mind this is Beta…” I figured it was going to be
      Forstall: “Call steve”
      Siri: “Calling John”
      as with 90% of speech recognition out there.

      Siri was the first moment I said wow.

      everyone thinks they need some iPad size screen on a PHONE…. the iPhone screen size is perfect. 4″ is nice but the 3.5″ is fine.
      the iPhone 5 will probably have a 4″ screen.

      Look at it this way, you can keep your current case for the iPhone 4 when you upgrade to the 4S instead of waiting 3 months for the Case company to finally produce that same case for the new design.
      hey, your bumper you got from apple? Still works! lol.

      I just wished there was better news on the iPod side of things.. that disappointed me.

  9. Come on guys you know as we all do this phone will. Be the best selling phone smart phone of altime just like, iPhone, phone g3, g3s iphone4 befor it. Stop being baby’s

  10. Yes and no. Apple improved in every area that they needed to with the except for the screen size, which REALLY matters when that is your entire UI. If Apple was churning out updates every 6 months I probably wouldn’t think much of it. But if you want to stand behind one design for 12-16 months you really need to set yourself apart on that first day. Speed, storage, and even camera updates are all EXPECTED when you release updates at Apples frequency. Software-wise they continue to do an amazing job aggressively improving. Hardware-wise, nothing special was really brought to the table. The iPhone came to this world with what was considered a very big multitouch screen, now it’s one of the smaller ones out there.

    Having said all that it’s a good update, but they missed the chance to be great.

      1. Oh ok, so if your screen broke and all you had was Siri you could make do? Have it describe images and everything else for you? Even when Siri does something for you or gets something for you where do you look? Don’t get me wrong, I have purchased every iPhone that has come out, and since my iPhone 4 was broken I will be buying this one. So I am obviously excited enough to buy and sign up for another 2 years. And if I want a bigger screen I still have my iPad. But this year Apple suffered to their own hype machine a little bit. Which is unfortunate because I would love nothing more than to see them continue to dominate. I understand what Siri is and how much it will help, but she doesn’t replace the screen. So try to not be so smug.

  11. I will grant that lots of people would love a 4 inch screen. It’s not a deal breaker for me. The 4S with iOS 5 and Siri is a awesome smartphone. I will be buying 5 of these for me and my family.

    1. psst. 6.
      I’m your long lost relative. (fill in blank on what you need me to be)

      i’ll get a 4S, but not next week. I’ll wait till my iPhone 4 upgrade is available, Nov 24th. then i’ll buy one. but not on a contract… Just so when the 5 does come out, i won’t have a “1 year left in my contract” problem to deal with.

  12. I think this is huge in a very deferent way. For one thing, the iPhone 3GS is FREE! With a two year contract. If it can handle iOS5 well it will be a way to get a lot more users in to the platform. Also only T-Moblie is left out of the party, and they happen to be the smallest U.S. carrier who happens to be coveted by ATT. So in other words, Apple has balanced the playing field against Android. All carriers, free smart phone. This to me is huge. Everybody will have a smart phone now and Android phone manufacturers will have to compete with free and $100.00 Apple phones now.

    1. iOS 5 runs on the 3GS. Won’t run Siri. Doesn’t do location-based reminders. Delivers just about all the other iOS 5 advances. At $0 it’s a great starter phone for youngsters…. you know they are going to lose or break it.

  13. Did Apple ever promise a bigger screen? I don’t think so. My guess is that there are many, many people who want maximum portability rather than a bigger screen. Personally, I’d like my iPhone to be thinner and lighter, not bigger and heavier. Three words for those who are complaining about the size of the iPhone screen: Get an iPad.

    1. no but every blog out there said there will be no 4S, and the iPhone 5 announcement today would have a 4″ screen. oh, and 4G…

      the Blog’s created the “disappointment” today.

    2. Apple didn’t promise *anything* but you don’t have to be promised anything to be disappointed it’s not included. It’s like saying, well they didn’t promise dual-core A5s, be happy with an A4.

      My big hopes for hardware were a larger screen (missed), camera with better low-light performance (check, pending independent tests), better battery life (not really, from the specs, but no worse either).

      Don’t tell me to get an iPad, it doesn’t fit in my pocket. A phone with a 4″ screen would have.

  14. Apple’s never going to make a 4″ screen, folks. Get over it. That’s not how Apple works. They do their research and pick what they know is best for 99% of the people and if you want something different then you’ll have plenty of generic crap phones to choose from.

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