Feeds

back to article The iPhone 4S in depth: More than just a vestigial 'S'

As marketing headman Phil Schiller ate up more and more minutes of Apple's "Let's talk iPhone" event, waxing rhapsodically about the new iPhone 4S, it became increasingly clear to those in attendance that the iPhone 5 wasn't going to make an appearance. Not that The Reg was there to take the pulse of the crowd. For reasons best …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Personae au gratin?

Are you trying to say that they won't let you in because you're covered in breadcrumbs and grated cheese mixed with eggs/butter? That they're a little browned off with you? That they find you a bit crusty?

I would suspect that it's more likely to be the fact that you tell the truth about their walled garden:

e.g. Lewis Page's 10 reasons why you shouldn't buy an iPhone 5

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/04/why_not_buy_an_iphone_5/

Is it possible that you meant Personae non grata?

4
16

Sometimes reg hacks do this thing called humour. I think you may have missed this.

43
1
Gold badge
Coat

Yes, Apple's spiteful refusal to talk to El Reg is indeed rather cheesy.......

7
1
Anonymous Coward

I'd certainly be browned off.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Neither can we verify this

you may be right but officialy the in depth answear too this has to be and I quote "Neither can we verify".

I do somehow find it funny that all the pre launch articles had a more difinative tone to details than the details provided by the actual launch. I'd also have to say it's about as in depth as you can get until the Reg can get there hands on one, which will probably involve turning up 5 mins before the door opens to buy one at the apple store with them tossing a few £1 iTune vouchers on the floor to distract tyhe crowd as the doors open, along with going down the queue issuing there own raffel tickets and getting somebody in a blue top to shout we only have 3 available this month allowing them to actualy get one. this in itself speaks volumes to the fact Apple just don't like the colour red in the logo perhaps; But Neither can we verify this either :).

0
0
Go

Are you suggesting..

.. that you don't really want to have your very own "Jarvis" AI butler, ala Iron Man?

for shame!

1
0

interesting...

...how for the camera comparison they picked three actual popular current smartphones (and those are admittedly pretty good numbers for a phone), but for the 'rated data transfer speed' comparison they picked three obscure and now fairly outmoded ones, hoping to disguise the fact that quite a lot of the competition on HSPA networks is rated a fair bit above 14.4Mb/sec these days...

10
0
Bronze badge

Well spotted

I suspect a standard marketing technique, though they may be able to justify it as comparing like for like based on equal priced dataplans on a regional provider near a certain mast.

Or that Boone wanted to lend them a newer phone to be hacked about for testing.

In the meantime, I'd like to demonstrate that this hybrid car design of mine has superior fuel economy to the Ford Anglia, and a longer time between overhauls than the Panzer VI. Any investors interested?

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Worse than that

I believe all those other phones can do HSPA+ and so have a higher max speed than shown, but that siide is only talking about HSDPA. It's a bit like showing four items all equal in 802.11b wi-fi speed and not disclosing that your device is the only one that can't do 802.11g i.e. bare-faced lies/marketing.

0
0
Devil

Antenna diversity

Switching between two antennas for tx and rx based on signal strength is not a new thing - atheros 802.11a/g wifi has had it for years and years, and of course 802.11n does even more complex things with three antennas.

I'm not sure how common it is in cellphone radio chipsets, but there's no black magic here. You have two antennas oriented in different directions (and in this case maybe one has sweaty fingers all over it). Unless you have two completely receive/decode paths you check the backup antenna occasionally for signal strength and when it's consistently stronger than the main you switch to that as the main. There's a lot of finesse in your algorithm design (how often do you check the other channel, how much hysteresis, etc) but this is pretty standard.

And stands a pretty good chance of fixing the problem.

5
0
Joke

And I have no doubt that the Apple patent is pending, and the trained attack-lawyers are already straining at their restraints...

Atheros better watch out! Imagine having the audacity to both invent and use something before Apple!

9
0
Anonymous Coward

Nokia

Compare with Nokia's recent pentaband antenna.

Looks like Apple have done this the quick and nasty way, instead of having one antenna that does it all, they have two.

Why is this bad? They have to have two working all the time instead of Nokia's one.

Need proof? Standby time has dropped from 300 to 200 hours from the 4 to the 4S.

Also, I notice they are not comparing the shot to shot time for the N9 which whups them in every conceivable camera metric.

I really feel that Nokia is looking more innovative than Apple at the moment with the N9 swipe interface, 2.5D screen, camera, polycarbonate body (and consequent improved radio performance), single piece body etc.

Of course the typical Apple reply to that is, hardware doesn't matter it's the experience although they now seem to think that the inside of the phone is really important all of a sudden. How has the experience changed from the 4 to the 4S? A dual core processor won't make much difference.

If Maemo isn't your thing on the N9, the hardware will be available running WP7. Personally, I don't care much for MS stuff but it does have a very innovative interface also.

The only innovative thing here is Siri and I am inclined to agree with Reg, it is like video calling, sounds amazing but nobody will use it. Time will tell, I am sure the 5% of Apple consumers that are hardcore fans will insist on using it no matter what so it might get some traction.

8
2
Silver badge

@AC

I disagree that Nokia is more innovative than Apple on the basis that neither of them, or indeed anyone else, has produced anything even slightly innovative for several years. All we've seen for a very long time in hardware is piecemeal tiny-step evolution. Neither Apple nor Nokia has innovated at all and I think it's actually unfair to drag Nokia into the conversation when it's currently Apple harking essentially that, after more than a year of working on it, it's managed to put a faster CPU into their phone. If anything Nokia seems to be keeping its head down and just getting on with the long haul towards its software sea change, which is very hard to criticise.

0
1

Siri innovative? I guess you don't remember the Wildfire service offered by Orange about 10 years ago.

You are right, it is like video calling - something that's been around for ages that Apple claim is a new innovation of theirs.

6
0
Gold badge

Nokia

Nokia have just had more time to develop such technology, they've had 25 or so years to R&D various crackpot ideas with antennas and so on.

There was nothing that wrong with Nokia phones in terms of hardware. But there was some really sloppy software testing plus a really poor attitude to fixing bugs and releasing updated firmware. I had *one* update to my Nokia 6110 navigator, apparently another was released by not for the UK and it didn't fix all the annoying bugs.

We had Nokia phones as work phones and they had some terrible bugs, switching on speakerphone automatically and having to pull out the battery to get it back to normal.

0
0

@Giles Jones

>>"Nokia have just had more time to develop such technology, they've had 25 or so years to R&D various crackpot ideas with antennas and so on"

Whereas when Apple got into the phone business, in the interests of free competition, they nobly decided only to employ fresh graduates, who had to work everything out for themselves from scratch?

0
0

@Alex Rose

I loved Wildfire, but it didn't have any of the natural language processing capabilities that SIRI appears to have, it only responded to specific scripted commands.

And I'm still in a huff with Orange for shooting her in the head and dumping her in the trash.

0
0
Thumb Up

Solid

Actually think this is a nice solid upgrade to an already excellent phone.

Shame the press all got on the iPhone 5 bandwagon and hyped it to death causing the world to feel a little short changed.

Can't wait to try Siri.

9
17
Anonymous Coward

It happens with every Apple launch these days

The Internet concocts a laundry list, various tech blogs disseminate this guesswork in a quest for hits, Chinese speculators start making accessories based on it and the whole thing turns into this runaway feedback loop with absolutely no input from Apple (although I wouldn't be surprised if they were leaking fake information for fun and to act as a smokescreen), then, come the reveal, everybody cries for a day or two and then it's back to business as usual, complete with bounceback from the inevitable share price drop (which took all of 4 hours this time).

I think the more significant announcement was the iPhone 4 getting a huge price-cut: how many folks toting an ageing 3GS are going to take the opportunity to upgrade there?

8
0
Anonymous Coward

>Just download the App, its not new.

Oops, my mistake. Its just been removed from the App Store and is now 4S only.

2
0

"I think the more significant announcement was the iPhone 4 getting a huge price-cut: how many folks toting an ageing 3GS are going to take the opportunity to upgrade there?"

Not on a two year contract, the phone will be two, almost 3 iterations old by the that time.

0
0
Silver badge

Siri

If you really can't wait then go buy yourself a decent phone. It's been out there for months.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs8tdg2qK78

2
3

This post has been deleted by its author

Facepalm

That's apples' own fault. They put so much effort into the sales and marketing that they should have had the expectation better managed.

1
1
Happy

3GS to 4 or 4S upgrade and iterations

Personally I got my 3GS in the sumer of 2009 on a 2 year deal. It's been a great phone.

I've been waiting to upgrade until they'd made yesterdays announcement.

I was hoping for a redesigned iPhone (5) without the glass back as I'm not much of a fan. However, apart from the external shape, this is a pretty good upgrade from the 4 hardware wise. I'm going to opt for the 4S over the 4.

I expect an iPhone 5 may come out next year and then possibly a 5S the year after. I'll see where I am then and decide whether to stick with Apples iPhones for my following upgrade or move on.

I'm quite ok with this not being an iPhone 5. The glass back is not a show stopper for me.

1
0
Ed

I like the glass back on the iPhone 4 - it surprised me as I wasn't too keen on the idea before, but now I've had one for a while, I like it.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

"personae au gratin"

Well played, sir. Well played.

8
1
Devil

"Sputtering Ars Technica"???

It was moonsharked solid for two hours!

2
0

My iphone 4 takes 5-6 seconds for the first shot.

3
0
Bronze badge

Time for an upgrade

Bring forth the Apple Saleman cannon.

Hmm I'll get some downvotes for that, to make up:

In fairness I'm not sure if the 4 has a dedicated chip for the camera, it would appear the new one does.

0
0
FAIL

Not sure how Apple timed the camera speed. Just tested my SGS2 which performed twice as fast as the figures stated by Apple. This was on max resolution and set to the (max) superfine image quality. Autofocus was also enabled but flash was off.

As with all this marketing trash, and this goes for other companies too, they provide no real information on the comparison. For all we know the 4S was taking pics at 640x800 with autofocus off.

Anyway, if you want any sort of quality photo you need a proper dedicated camera.

5
0

well....

They probably used the same slack handed morons that tested the iPhone 4 and found not fault with the antenna positioning.

1
0
Silver badge

Part of it is software, probably

They seemed to suggest that the camera being directly on the lock screen, etc was an iOS 5 feature rather than a 4S feature. It wouldn't be unreasonable to suppose they've optimised the software elsewhere if getting to the camera quickly is something they suddenly care about. We'll know in a week or so, I guess.

For my money, Apple's numbers are probably massaged and I don't recall it ever being much of an issue anyway.

0
0
Ed

I've been annoyed waiting for the camera to be ready - especially on my old 3G, but still occasionally on the 4. Putting it on the lock screen will make a big difference though.

0
0

Anyway, if you want any sort of quality photo you need a proper dedicated camera.

Actually, the real key to good pictures is light. If you add 100K light equipment and use an Phone camera you can take amazing pictures.

It can never beat a 100K camera + 100K light equipment, but you need to be an expert to tell the difference, just like not everyone can hear the difference between good and bad sound systems.

0
0
Meh

Siri

The main issue with Siri, mentioned elsewhere but warranting only a tiny line of small print on the Apple website, is that most of its processing is done online. It requires an Internet connection to function.

Where I work is a virtual Faraday cage, with no wireless access to the company LAN and metal-cased buildings that block cell signals everywhere except right next to windows. Siri would be useless to me for scheduling meetings or setting reminders. It simply wouldn't work unless I walked to a window before using it, by which time I might as well have typed the instructions into the calendar app by hand or recorded a voice note.

Neither the 4S keynote nor the promotional video makes this clear. I foresee a lot of disappointed 4S owners feeling as though they've been mi-sold Siri once the limitations become evident.

4
0
Silver badge

@The Infamous Grouse RE "Siri" That indeed is what makes the launch.......

.............of this iteration of the iPhone rather less than lustrous. This was supposed to be the key software "goodie" with the 4S - the "magical" component this time round. At a time when demand for wireless bandwidth is skyrocketing, the investment in expansion of the necessary bandwidth is in no way keeping up with this and (crucially) "all you can eat data-plans" are going the way of the dodo Apple's big software/service gig for their new shiney is cloud-dependent in order to function at all! As far as hardware is concerned (with the sole exception of battery life) the 4S is behind the GSII and by the time the iPhone5 is *actually* released Sammy will have released the GSIII (or whatever they call it) and the iPhone will be behind the pace again. We are now reaching the point where the iPhone is no longer in any sense groundbreaking but is merely one of several well built smart-phones and *that* fact is going to present Apple with some marketing challenges over the next year or so.

8
0
Stop

I wouldn't worry

everything about Apple products is disappointment, the moment you open the box, it will never live up to the shiny marketing.

9
13
Gold badge
Unhappy

All the more sad when those of us with a cheap old WinMo device and a copy of MS Voice Command get most of the functionality (and all the important bits IMHO) on the device......which has bugger all by way of memory and processing horsepower.

My phonebook's stuffed with Greek, German, a variety of Central European and Scandanavian monickers and the like. It manages to get these with a truly astonishing level of accuracy from my godawful pronunciation, I have to admit there are two where its readback leaves a bit to be desired, but there are several others where its rendition is rather better than mine, so I call that a no-score draw. It also reads out meeting reminders and such. I've turned that off as it gives me the screaming willies when the disembodied voice pipes up unexpectedly in me lughole if I've left the BT headset on.

Typical MS. Having produced the "killer app", instead of building it into the system they did their damnedest to hide it as it wasn't big and complicated enough to interest their marketing types.

I've tried other handsets, car kits and such with voice control. None has come anywhere close so far.....

2
2
Silver badge

Re: Siri

I was wondering if it was on online or offline feature, and suspecting the former. As you observed, that little bit of info was rather hard to find, so again I was suspecting the former. Apple would make a huge song and dance about it (or an even huger song and dance) if it was offline, because those pesky droid phones already have a similar online feature.

And yes, it's a gimmick which is amusing for a while, but in reality not used.

Such cloud based features are all well an good when you're in your home country (although somewhat limited by the "unlimited" data carriers provide), but as soon as you leave the country, something us Europeans have a nasty habit of doing, mobile data roaming becomes something you only do if you really really have to. i.e. you've just severed a limb (because the roaming charges will cost you another one!).

1
0
Anonymous Coward

@The Infamous Grouse

You mean a voice activated service that lets me send emails or access information via the Web, needs an Internet connection?

Thank god you're here - I had no idea that would be the case.

2
7
Anonymous Coward

@ Arctic fox

"As far as hardware is concerned (with the sole exception of battery life) the 4S is behind the GSII and by the time the iPhone5 is *actually* released Sammy will have released the GSIII (or whatever they call it) and the iPhone will be behind the pace again."

Oh, please.... have you ever worked in a mobile phone shop? The vast majority of punters don't care about specs.

2
3
Silver badge

@AC RE "Oh, please.... have you ever worked in a mobile phone shop?........

.......The vast majority of punters don't care about specs."

Interestingly enough *Apple* care about specs and benchmarks in their marketing. They made a big thing about comparing the 4S yesterday with several (carefully "selected") phones from the main OEMs when highlighting how "magical" the 4S (in their opinion) is. The ordinary punter may not care about the details but he/she is influenced by the reputation a phone gets - as Apple is well aware. This kind of thing is of course aimed at the media in general and reviewers in particular in order to influence the general impression that the public get. Like I said in my posting, *that* aspect of the marketing is in the process of getting significantly harder for Cupertino.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

If so, then why would anyone upgrade to 4S from a 4 or 3GS. It only offers better specs, nothing else!

1
0
Paris Hilton

Siri outside US ?

Me too with the faraday cage so there's no point in me upgrading my 6210.

How much of Siri will work in say a European city ? I noticed that on one of the other live blog sites the 'How do I get home feature' of Siri indicates it is only for the US.

Also how much testing have they done with non US accents ?

1
0
Ed

They claim it works in British English too.

0
0
Silver badge

@AC

The 4S isn't behind the Galaxy S 2, though you're right that it's very hard to imagine it'll still look good on numbers a year from now.

The new iPhone has a significantly faster GPU and a higher resolution screen; the jury's out on relative CPU speeds since Apple haven't supplied sufficient details but parity is likely. The S2 is also slightly hampered because Android used the GPU only in a very limited fashion (ie, for games and for composition but not for normal painting) prior to 3.x, which has yet to make it to phones.

Conversely the S2 has a significantly larger, OLED screen and a whole bunch of other features that sound a bit silly one by one but add up: a memory card slot, an FM radio, a replaceable battery, etc.

Even ignoring whether anybody actually cares, I'm not sure you can say either has the better hardware without a vested interest in reaching that conclusion.

0
1
Go

Speed affects usability. I use an iPhone 4, compared to the 3 it is a huge jump forward.

I would guess that the difference between 3gS and 4S is similar.

The inq said it quite well, not worth the upgrade from iPhone 4 but from earlier models..yes.

0
0
Silver badge

YouTube will doubtless be filled very shortly with videos showing how badly Siri copes with the accents of the Tyne and the Clyde.

I was particularly struck by how much time Apple spent on a feature which they admitted would 'get better' - his Steveness would never have sunk to admitting something was less than perfect.

Anyway, what I'm waiting for is to find out if Apple have actually cracked the massive problem of building a phone which can be held whilst making a phone call. I suspect it'll be better than the 4 but even when you get a good connection it'll still sound like a Cyberman in a bathyscaphe.

0
0

Siri

Interesting that you dismissed this - for me, it was the only thing that piqued my interest. Camera? I'll use my dSLR, thanks. Battery life? I have a charger. Faster processor? I don't play games.

But being able to talk to my computer with more fluidity than I used to do in 1994 with OS/2, and to be able to ask my "electronic secretary" for some information - that I like. Also, since the main thrust of the demo involves sending messages and emails, and doing search, why wouldn't I expect it to work mostly only when there is a signal?

I would have just looked for a second-hand 4, but now I'm seriously considering a 4s.

2
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.