iPhone 4S Hits the Shelves

While the new iPhone 4S may look exactly the same as its predecessor, its innards have received quite an upgrade. The new iPhone has a dual-core A5 processor, which brings with it a sevenfold boost in performance. The iPhone 4S now outperforms every other phone on the market.

The camera has received a lot of new upgrades:

  • The 8-megapixel camera has advanced color accuracy, face detection and reduced motion blur
  • The iPhone 4S camera has sixty percent more pixels than the camera on the iPhone 4
  • The new A5 processor is comparable to those found in DSLR cameras and allows you control exposure with zero shutter lag and tap to focus
  • One can also edit photos right on the iPhone, creating an on-the-fly editing program for quick fixes
  • The camera can also be fired up right from the lock screen, which makes taking pictures a lot quicker and easier
  • The iPhone 4S also has a 1080p HD video with video stabilization and editing

The iPhone 4S is also considered a world phone with international communication capabilities. A consumer can buy an iPhone 4S through AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, and depending on the plan, make calls overseas and be usable while traveling abroad. The user interface is localized into over 30 languages, with keyboard customization available. The built-in dictionaries support over 50 languages.

Another pre-installed app on the iPhone 4S is Siri. Siri is a transformative, category-redefining speech recognition feature. Developed by Stanford Research Institute International, the app serves as a voice activated, intelligent virtual assistant and acts as a Plan B to the often-clunky touch screen keyboard. Users have the ability to talk to Siri as though they were talking to a person. Siri does what you say, finds the information you need, and provides an answer.

A new, proprietary service called iMessages allows users to send messages in a similar format to text messages, and for free to other iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. This new service lets you see if the recipient has read your message yet, and can save you money; instead of counting as a cellular text message, each i-to-i message goes over the Internet and costs nothing. The iPhone 4S also incorporates the new service known as iCloud. iCloud stores music, photos, apps, mail, contacts, calendars, documents, and more, while wirelessly pushing them to all your devices.

The iPhone 4S was met with a bit of skepticism since the general aesthetics and functions are identical to the original iPhone 4. Many consumers and critics were expecting the hailed iPhone 5. Apple’s revolutionary devices have certainly changed the expected aspects of smart phones. The iPhone’s premier appearance onto the smart phone field transformed the definition of what a smart phone should be and could be. Many of the game-changing aspects of the original iPhone are taken for granted, especially when Apple tends to revolutionize technology every six months or so. While this marketing strategy has put Apple on top of the grocery list, I believe it has also spoiled the consumers.

The iPhone essentially connected three entirely different devices into one experience. An iPod, a phone, and the Internet were seamlessly merged into one smart phone. Other competing smart phones at the time only included Internet and e-mail; they were certainly not capable of displaying full image websites. Other smart phones simply related the textual information of websites, which disconnected the usual Internet experience one would get from surfing on a computer. The iPhone used the same operating system that Apple desktops and laptops used, which was truly remarkable at the time. Software become fully operational and compatible with the iPhone, with all the features of OS X built right into the device.

The iPhone also revolutionized the traditional user interface. Rather than using the mouse or a keyboard, the iPhone entirely relied on a touch screen, with fingers as the catalyst for interaction, rather than a traditional stylus. The touch screen was also multi-touch, which meant that more complex motions could be recognized and applied to the screen. An action known as “pinching” allowed the user to make images and websites bigger and smaller with specific points on the screen. The iPhone also allowed the user to scroll with a “rubber band” model, where only one upward or downward swipe made the screen go up or down without having to click several times to move.

Smart phones had generally included a smaller screen with a full keyboard at the bottom. The keyboards’ keys were generally very small to emphasize the screen, and difficult to press. Personally, I still have a phone that uses a physical keyboard for texting and dialing phone numbers and even though my fingers are as small as a two-year-old’s, I find the keys very difficult to press. The iPhone did away with imbalanced aesthetics and presented the layout of the smart phone as an integral experience, where the keyboard would disappear from view when it was not in use.

Essentially, the iPhone revamped and revolutionized not only the standards for smart phones, but also incorporated technology from several devices at once. Through aesthetics, experience, software, and operating systems, the iPhone redefined the smart phone into a seamless experience. Thanks to Apple and the iPhone 4S, we’ve thrown our styli away and stopped sliming up our touch screens with our fingers.

-- Raelyn Thompson, Hanover College