back to article Apple iPhone 4S

Apple’s design language is easily recognisable: clear glass or plastic that’s spray-painted from the inside, a frequent use of aluminium, stainless steel and any colour so long as it’s white or black. But the new iPhone takes this familiarity further, by making the iPhone 4S almost identical to last year’s iPhone 4. Apple …

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EXPENSIVE

VERY very expensive for what it is.

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Facepalm

so? you only have to buy it once and use it for many, as I saw a friend of mine *using iphone 1 till this summer, totally satisfied with it.

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WTF?

That's amazing logic; so what you're saying is that a Bentley Continental is actually quite cheap if you use it "many"? Why didn't I think of that..?

I wonder if you use a cheap Android handset "many" does it represent even better value?

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WTF?

Re: Buy it once

Just because you're allowed to use it for a few years doesn't mean it's less expensive than a less expensive phone which you are allowed to use for a few years.

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Anonymous Coward

allowed to use <> will be used

I'm just saying that the roi may be the same because you use it longer:

my observation is that android owners are changing their phone more often than iphone owners, in my circle of acquaintances that's all. so iphone may be subjectively more loved. Hey I used to lease a new car every 2-3 years when they were opel, peugeot or even vw, changing them without any regret. My souped up audi is now 3 years old and i'll keep it for 3 more - it still feels like new and fitting like a glove, i just love it, see the parallel?

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TCO

Yes it's expensive to buy up front, but for whatever reason iPhones hold their value very very well. That means if you can stump up the cash in the first place you can sell it on for much more than the 'droid competetion when the time comes to change.

And before the usual accusations of fanboy-ism fly I sold my iPhone 4, bought a same-age Galaxy S for half the amount I got for the iPhone and pocketed the rest, a decision I'm still happy with.

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Anonymous Coward

So ?

A friend lent me his Aston Martin DB9 for a few months. It's expensive. The Nissan GT-R is faster and seats 4 people in comfort, has more toys, cost less and is likely to be more reliable and cost less to run. I still like the DB9 - maybe it's irrational but it's a valid choice. Reviews can consider they way things work, look, how you feel using one - I wonder how El Reg would review a DB9 compared to a GT-R - both 90% ?

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Apple Expensive

I don't own any Apple products because I think they're overpriced. Don't suppose I can complain about the general quality, but that's a subjective opinion, since I haven't used one.

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Gimp

RE: EXPENSIVE

I can afford it and I want one - these are my criteria. Do I need your approval to buy one? No, I did not think so.

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Samsung Galaxy S2 is £419 on Play.com. Hardly a massively cheaper deal to go with Android is it?

Not all of us believe that owning a mobile phone is hobby that requires a few hours a month building and upgrading firmware as most Android users seem to advocate.

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Anonymous Coward

So is a Canon 5D MkII, bloody expensive for a little black box that just snaps pictures and videos. I wanted a 5D for nearly a year so I finally bought one, can I justify it? Only so far as it has given me the much needed kick up the arse to improve my understanding of my number one hobby. It keeps me happy, less stressed and gives me something to look forward to at the weekends.

You can't take it with you when you go and you put up with having to work for a living where's the harm in a little overpriced luxury once in a while? I personally don't want an iPhone but good luck to those who get pleasure from them, what real harm does it do the rest of us?

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Very True

In fact an iphone can work out quite cheap in some cases, if you buy the phone outright and get a cheaper sim only deal when the new one is released your old handset has only depreciated by £100 or so, making the upgrade not very expensive.

So those that want to have the latest phone all the time are not badly stung by the need to buy a new phone every year.

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Well actually... Yes!

The 16GB iPhone is £80 more expensive to start, however to upgrade to 32GB, requires a cheap memory card popped into the S2's card slot. It will cost you an extra £100 to get 32GB with Apple.

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Stop

@5D Mk2

Your analogy is bad for two reasons, firstly a case could be made for the iPhone 4S being the best smartphone on the market as it ticks most of the boxes for most people (yes, it's not everybodys cup of tea, including me, I have a Galaxy, but I wouldn't kick it out of bed), pretty much the only argument against it is price, if it was "free on a £10 contract" I suspect that most people would have one, the 5D has awful focus and less than 4fps, great for studio work (full frame is the only thing going for it), useless for sports, I have a 7D and a 5D for this reason, probably both being replaced by a pair of Mk3 mid next year when neither is a compromise, the point is the iPhone 4S has hardware over and above what the software requires, it has features that many users will never usr or need, it is expensive luxury, but the 5D is still lacking.

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Anonymous Coward

@Giles Jones

FWIW, I haven't changed the firmware on my Android phone once, I have no intention of doing so at the moment but have option to if I so wish and I can promise you that the manufacturer will not be actively attempting to brick the hardware I *own* as and when they release new firmware.

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FAIL

Of course it's overpriced, there are better high end Android phones for half the money (Xperia Arc S, Galaxy SII, HTC Sensation to name a few), and the only "new" thing is Siri, which everyone can already get for Android, iOS and surprisingly even Windows Mobile (i'm sure the10 people stupid enough to buy one will be chuffed). It's called VLingo and does the same thing..

Epic Failure for all he idiots that slept out to be first in line to buy a phone that's already playing second fiddle to better and cheaper high end Android handsets.

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JB

Yes, Apple stuff is expensive and, arguably, overpriced. But you have to admit the engineering, build quality, design etc is outstanding

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Thumb Up

It's not about Price. but Quality

Yes there are better specced Android phones out there, BUT, even with that state of the art hardware, the quality of the User Experience and Interface is no where near as fluid or refined as iOS.

That's the truth.

Apple are not going to price match any of the competition, they're clearly high-end - and they've been getting away with it for decades. It would be extremely stupid for them to price drop, why should they? Considering iPhone sales trump any other single handset out of existence.

iPhone > Android High-End

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This website is a strange one... You publish a "Ten... Androids to outshine the iPhone 4S" and then review the 4S and give it 90%.

If you keep bouncing across the fence like that you're gonna get splinters!

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You must be new. The only editorial line The Register seems to have is "barbecue the sacred cow!"

And long may it stay that way.

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WTF?

So what?

You think web sites have to pick a side, and declare their everlasting allegiance to one cult?

The Reg has many contributors, who undoubtedly have very different opinions. I for one prefer it if the editors do not enforce purity of dogma across the board, thankyouverymuch.

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I couldn't see anything in the site FAQ that said The Register needs to have an editorial preference towards one type of smartphone?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re:

Steak for dinner with lashings of sauce.

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Joke

How very dare you! Sauce with steak? Enjoy the meat for what it is instead of drowning it in alternative dressings!

(etc etc)

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Whatever.

My 11 year old Nokia 5185 still makes & receives phone calls. Even in Sonoma's "dead zones", unlike so-called "smart phones".

Remind me again why I ought to downgrade my telephone?

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WTF?

£500 upgrade for a slightly better camera and voice activation that almost no one will use? May be if you're contract has expired this might possibly make sense, other wise I can't see the value.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re:

Bear in mind that's only 500 quid if you buy one unlocked and contract free. Get one from a network operator on contract and it's a lot less. Still not cheap - by a long chalk - it's true.

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Still works out the same on contract

Work out how much you pay on contract and Apple will still get their 500 pounds.

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@tony

£500 unlocked versus a 24 month contract often with a buy in, I would suspect your paying upwards of £700 for the phone on contract versus an unlocked one.

Contracts never make for cheaper phones!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Still works out the same on contract

True - all phone manufacturers do.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @tony

Of course not, just cheaper phones 'up front'.

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FAIL

@nsld

Depends...

With an Iphone, typically the contract is so expensive, no

You still need to pay for calls, texts and data with that:

So the phone costs say £400 retail, or £25 a month on an 18m contract with a free phone (yes they do exist!).

Yes the total is £450, so it's more expensive you say, but if the same minutes, texts and data contract would cost say £15/month

Buying the phone separately and then paying for the contract would cost you £670 not £450.

So the net effect is you save £180 on the phone.

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FAIL

And buying one outright for 500 IS the cheapest way to get one.

24 months at £37 a month is £888. And don't claim "ah, but you get all those minutes and data". How many people actually come close to using anywhere near that? (few and far between before some idiot replies "I do"). Most people use less than you would get for £10 a month.

Not bashing the jPhone - same applies to all handsets - the cheapest way to get one is to buy it outright and get a cheap tariff for what you actually use. Remember the networks are trying to make MONEY out of you. Why do you think they prefer to get you on a contract - they make more money that way

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Faster CPU, improved reception too.

But name me a smartphone (Android or otherwise) released recently that hasn't just had a faster CPU, better screen or better camera compared to the last one?

The fact is, there's not much left to upgrade on phones. They may be toying with projectors and 3D cameras. But a 3D camera is still just a camera upgrade.

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True, but it gives you the ability to change providers to get a better deal or go with a decent PAYG operator like GiffGaff.

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@nsld

True, but for that extra £200+ over 24 months, your also getting all of your voice, txts and data. Which, if you buy direct and unlocked, you then have to pay for on top of the £500

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Minutes and data

The reality is not everyone needs all those minutes and data and even if you did there are PAYG plans which offer them, e.g. 3 gives 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited data for £15. So I buy a 4S for 500 and 24x15 topups = £860.

Still on 3, if I were to take a contract with them I pay £99 up front + 24x35 = £939.

The contract offers more minutes (2000 vs 300) so if you were a heavy user it might be justified. But if you're not, why spent £80 more over two years for a network locked phone and be stuck in a contract that prevents you jumping if a better deal appears elsewhere?

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Good point, this is exactly why I am currently living in a box for the next 10 years and trying to save 300k to buy a house outright instead of getting a mortgage...

Ok, so a house is a slightly bigger investement but the idea is the same, if you can buy outright its going to be cheaper, but thats not going to be an option for everyone.

Do I have £500 right now?

no.

If I did would I blow it all on on a phone?

No.

Would I be willing to pay a bit extra to spread the cost over 10mo - 2 yr?

Yes.

Ps. I didnt do this, I went down the middle and got a cheaper winmo phone on contract. £25 per month 18 mo, no upfront cost Probably works out at +£100 the cost of the handset over the life of the phone, but I can think of many things Id rather spend a wad of cash on in one go which win out over a phone!

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WTF?

So Siri was an App....

... and yet now is the killer feature of the new model?

How does that work? Was it pulled for everyone else?

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Anonymous Coward

Siri the old app is not the same as the Siri in the phone.

The old app didn't talk back at all it was just text, didn't read your texts, didn't set up up reminders (with location), etc etc plus it was worse at voice recognition.

If you want something like the old app get Vlingo on the app store (but keep in mind it's crap compared to Siri)

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Devil

I'm shocked

Positively shocked. El Reg giving thumbs up and 90% to newest Apple invention? This will change the course of history!

Well done, Apple!

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Joke

Invention

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Anonymous Coward

So.. basically

A bit faster, slightly better camera and if you want to use voice commands you have to buy it because Apple have stopped you using it on anything else. Hmm..

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: So.. basically

"A bit faster, slightly better camera"

That pretty much defines every new smartphone release for the past two or three years.

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And that

Is why smartphone design has stagnated over the past 2 or 3 years. There is almost no innovation left in smartphone design now - the Experia Play experiments with PSP technology and the Motorola Atrix at least flirts with the idea of powering a laptop.

But the rest? Flatscreen, a couple of buttons, call me when a new processor comes out. I'd like to see El Reg reign in its scores for new smartphones and only award 85-90% for phones that genuinely have innovative features and ideas. Regurgitating an existing design (please, slobbering fanbois, this applies to HTC's efforts as well as Apple's), no matter how fast the processor is or how well it's made, should net 75% tops.

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@Thomas

Your logic is a little flawed I would say.

To get a decent score a phone does not *have* to innovate. It just has to be very good.

We all know the top-end Android phones are now really, really good, but very few of them have innovated anything (except a bigger screen/faster processor) but are you saying they should all get lower scores because of this?

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@AC

Yes.

Take the article regarding the "10 Androids to outshine the iPhone 4S" . A large proportion of those are the the generic thin, big screen, little frills slab design *that is identical to every other smartphone design out there*. Do not get me wrong, quality *IS* important but there comes a point when one high quality slab design is much the same as another high quality slab design.

The very best scores should only be given to phones that *try something truly different* and are of high quality, rather than just a standard design of high quality.

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Meh

@Tony

""A bit faster, slightly better camera" That pretty much defines every new smartphone release for the past two or three years."

Perhaps, but would it have killed you to give an indication of how much faster? Lines such as "applications open in a trice" and "content is downloaded fast" are utterly meaningless and bordering on the good old hifi reviews of "the sound was warm and believable". As I understood it, the iPhone 4 was fast too.

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Linux

The problem

Though it's white, it's not distinguishable enough from the iPhone 4. Because it's just an update the difference with next iPhone model will be even more pronounced.

Why are these problems? Because you get a 2-year contract with one of these. When you lease it (nobody buys iPhones) you don't stand out from the crowd. Down the line you'll look out of touch. The reason people get these is to look hip. Features don't matter.

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2-year contract

I got mine on a 12 month contract (£309 + £35/mo + £6/mo data), from O2.

The iPhone 4 from last year I bought unlocked... I'd have done the same, but shipping times just went potty after the initial pre-orders.

This will likely be my last year with O2 though - Three have slightly better deals, and I suspect with iPhone 5 the competition will step up again. O2 don't seem overly interested in keeping customers.

As for what's important to people upgrading, I think most of the upgraders are pre-iPhone 4 (we know there are still tons of 2nd Gen users from our metrics). Be curious to know how many of those will jump over to Android...shame there's no such thing as reliable market research.

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