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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. ■↨

    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

    Is it possible that you meant Personae non grata?

    1. gribbler

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

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd certainly be browned off.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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 :).

  2. Meph

    Are you suggesting..

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

    for shame!

  3. AdamWill

    interesting... 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...

    1. graeme leggett

      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?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  4. oldtaku

    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.

    1. BenR

      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!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      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.

      1. ThomH Silver badge


        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.

        1. Giles Jones Gold badge


          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.

          1. david wilson

            @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?

      2. Alex Rose

        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.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          @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.

  5. dynjo
    Thumb Up


    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. Alex Walsh

        "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.

        1. Mike 102

          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. 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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. Craigness


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

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Christopher Rogers

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

  6. Steve Knox
    Thumb Up

    "personae au gratin"

    Well played, sir. Well played.

  7. ScissorHands

    "Sputtering Ars Technica"???

    It was moonsharked solid for two hours!

  8. json

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

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver 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.

      1. Doctor Tarr

        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.

        1. tmTM


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

        2. Steen Eugen Poulsen

          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.

    2. ThomH 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.

      1. 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.

  9. The Infamous Grouse


    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.

    1. Arctic fox

      @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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Arctic fox

          @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. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

          1. stuff and nonesense

            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.

        3. ThomH Silver badge


          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.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      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.

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      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.....

    4. Steve Evans

      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!).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    6. davemcwish
      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. Ed

        They claim it works in British English too.

        1. Mike Richards

          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.

  10. Thomas Gray


    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.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Isn't Siri just the old Orange "Wildfire" service dusted off and brought out of archive?

      I seem to remember that Wildfire was killed because it was too much for it's day, but now everyone makes calls by saying "Call Walowitz" it may be more succesful.

      As an aside, will Orange be able to sue?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        No chance Orange can sue, Apple invented it first, they just haven't got round to rewriting history on it yet.

        Don't worry though, there'll be a fanboi along any second to fix that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Isn't Siri just the old Orange "Wildfire" service dusted off and brought out of archive?"

        Nope - and one thing to remember is that voice activated element of Siri comes from Nuance. Apple tried buying out the company but is licensing the technology instead.

    2. Craigness

      If you want to talk to your phone then, ironically, you can do it with a second hand HTC Wildfire for a lot less money than a new 4S.

      It's not in the video but this widget also allows you to say things like "call bob" and "text are you doing?" The voice control is also integrated into the keyboard so you can dictate notes etc.

      Thanks to Google, you've been able to talk to iphones for 3 years. This looks like the same app as on Android so they might have brought voice-activated SMS and phone calls etc to the iphone too by now, if the phone is capable of that level of integration from apps.

      What amazes me about Apple's marketing achievements is not just that everyone knows what their latest product is and what it can do, but that nobody knows that other phones have been doing the same for ages. 1080p HD video anyone? The 4S is the best camera most of their customers have ever used because nobody will move to the 4S from a phone which already has a better camera! But in no reviews is it mentioned that Apple is merely playing catchup. The implication is always that Apple is the class leader and main innovator.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The word upto should be banned.

    "A5's overall performance was up to two times as fast as the A4 in the iPhone 4, with graphics performance being up to seven times as fast."

    As it fools stupid iPhone users into thinking it's actually twice as fast and 7 times more powerfull graphically.

    I think anyone wanting to buy an iPhone4s should be accompanied by a responsible adult...

    1. cloudgazer

      It's dual core, how else do you describe how a dual core performs compared to a single core at the same speed? I think you need to be accompanied by a responsible adult when you post.

      1. ScioScio

        You could try describing it the correct way instead of some vacuous lie.

    2. stuff and nonesense

      You can show anything with benchmarks. A properly written program, optimised for dual cores, using as little I/O as possible can run twice as fast on a dual core processor.

      Most of the people who buy gadgets aren't going to read The Register / Anandtech / Toms / The inq etc.. They will associate dual core with faster and get bragging rights for a few nights.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Apples answer to Microsoft Bob.

    And a mega-retina display powered by electrolytes (as that's what phones crave), and a working antenna

    If you feel short changed, YOU SHOULD BE>

  13. LarsG

    But what about the cost

    What is the difference in price between an 16GB micro SD card and a 32GB micro SD card?

    What is the difference in price between a 16GB iPhone and a 32GB iPhone?

    Who is playing who?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's the usual price gouging on memory but I'll take internal memory over a slow SD interface and card any day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's good, because there still isn't anywhere to stick an SD card!

      2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        "I'll take internal memory over a slow SD interface and card"

        I think you might be little behind on SD technology and pricing these days :|size:16384

        ... and it's just one shop.

    2. Craigness


      As was pointed out in the "10 reasons not buy" article, Apple would save their customers a lot of money and cost themselves a lot of revenue if they included an accessible SD card slot. The itards tell you that the lack of expansion is because Apple is designing for the cloud. The Androiders say that they prefer to download a movie at home than stream it over their mobile data plan on a train.

  14. Andrew Jones 2

    ....and still nothing has changed.

    Lot's of people thinking Siri is amazing and wonderful and can't wait to try this ground breaking technology that Apple has obviously just invented.

    The fact that Android has had Voice Actions for the last 2 years - seems to be yet again overlooked.

    I will however concede - I am interested in Siri - but there are rumours that suggest we all hang tight until ICS is released.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: ....and still nothing has changed.

      Apple hasn't invented it. Siri is a personal assistant app, which Apple bought and the voice activation element is licensed from Nuance.

    2. Nic 3

      To be fair, voice actions have been around on the iphone for years too. Siri is more sophisticated than simple actions.

    3. cloudgazer

      iOS has also had limited voice control since the 3GS, this is a different because of the natural language processing. Honestly I have no interest in Siri, and I never used voice control - but technically it's different.

  15. LarsG

    How to sell an iphone 4s

    Salesman "It's an S because It's named after Steve who has personally kissed each and every iphone 4S produced!"

    Customer "Ooooooooooooooh!"

    Reality: Made by a guy called Wan in China working 23 hours a day on minimum wage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's no minimum wage in China, but you'll find that Foxconn staff earn quite a bit more over the average salary. That's why there's always a massive oversupply of candidates when jobs open up.

      Plus they're are producing the 4S in Brazil now as well, so you're doubly wrong.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        "Plus they're are producing the 4S in Brazil now as well,"

        Aha, that'll improve the fringe benefits for Naomi Campbell's staff.

        Free Brazilian whacks.......

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        There is actually a minium wage in China, and has been for several years. But you're correct regarding salary; Foxconn's Longhua plant is not only in the highest paid bracket of any region of China (1320yuan pm) but Foxconn have a reputation for paying above and beyond the NMW.


        I've visited the Longhua plant on several occassions, most recently in April this year while attending the HKTDC and Canton Fair. While I've not seen Apple's production line, I have had free access to both the living quarters, the canteens the sports facilities and many other productions lines. Speaking with the workers, using my own eyes and 4 years of being on the ground in China I can certainly say that standards there are far better than most factories I've visited. Do the staff work long hours? Yes they can do, and get paid well for it but please don't believe everything you read in the dailymail.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          so naive so very naive

          Having also been to China, do you think a production worker will tell you they work 20 hours a day on minimum wage, living in dormitories with 200 others having deductions made for living expenses from their wage to the company that employs them?

          I think not, if they complain they will probably be re-employed on a farm in Mongolia.

          What you see is a charade put on for our benefit.

          Oh you are sooooooooooooo naive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Gowan then, I'll bite.

            Auditing factories is a major part of my job, everything from materials handling, hygene of facilities, ventilation, employee wellfare, standard of living etc. In four years I've visited over 90 factories across China, Taiwan and (god forbid) India; ranging from single room outfits all the way up to Foxconn, with a workforce the size of a small British city.

            In some of the worst factories I've seen everything from the application of lead based paint with a sponge and bare hands, liquid mercury stored in a rice cooker and violence towards female staff while our team was present. Our audits are done without notice, and once we're on-site unacompanied. Workers are interviewed by Chinese nationals from either our Shenzhen or HK office in confidence and in private. Every effort is taken to ensure there is no coercion by employers (not always easy). Given all the steps taken, do the chinese complain? Damn right they do. Everything from shift length, accomodation, wages right through to the quality of the food and the distance from their family. For sure there are people who will just nod and say everything is dandy out of fear of reprisal, but there are people like that in my office here in the UK.

            As for being shipped off to Mongolia... the staff aren't locked up, they can offer notice and quit if they want and since there have been ongoing labour shortages in that area, finding another job, and one above the minium wage is not difficult. I'm not saying life in a chinese factory is easy, it's not, damn if I would do it, however standards do vary massively and my original post was merely highlighting that Foxconn - if you look past the "charade" and dailymail style press - is one of the better outfits (but not the best by any means)

            Oh and calling someone naive on blind assumption and without knowing anything about me is just poor sport or baiting (in which case, I tip my hat sir)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And what do you think YOUR mobile phone (along with your PC, TV, clothes on your back, etc) is made by? Oompa Loompas working for Willy Wonka? I'm not saying having things made on low wages in China is a good thing, in fact it's one of the driving factors behind our western economic diffculties, but please don't use it as a reason to bash Apple.

      1. stu 4

        Oompa Loompas

        I believe Foxconn used to use a load of em, but their singing got on the rest of the workforces tits - leading some to suicide.

        In the end, Foxconn brought it a few Vermicious Knids to get rid of em all.

  16. Joe K

    Well thats all very well...

    ..but surely the next thing to investigate is why if they have pulled a marketing success, or huge fail in not even calling it a v.5.

    Loads of people, including myself, were waiting for the 5 to upgrade, and are now baffled and wondering if we should still wait.

    Are Apple finally moving to a 2 yearly upgrade cycle to match the now-ubiquitous 2 year contracts everyone is locked into? Not a bad idea really, or we'd be up to the iPhone 8 before we know it, which just sounds stupid.

    1. AF

      "Are Apple finally moving to a 2 yearly upgrade cycle to match the now-ubiquitous 2 year contracts everyone is locked into?"

      No, not finally - Apple moved to a two-year cycle three years ago. The iPhone was unsubsidised. The iPhone 3G was subsidised, and most contracts were 18-24 months, thus kicking off the two-year cycle. I'm really surprised at the number of "respectable" commentators (i.e. almost all of them) who were banging on about an iPhone 5 - when your customers are locked into two-year contracts, you're not going to bring out major updates until they're ready to buy into them (same goes for 3GS to 4S).

      We'll see a 5 next year, and a 5S the year after. Then a 6, 6S and so on.

  17. Kristian Walsh

    CDMA+GSM - not as useful as you'd think

    ", if you happen to hop from country to country, the ability to switch protocols [CDMA and GSM] is a real convenience."

    No, it isn't. CDMA (CDMAone/CDMA2000) roaming is of very limited use. Besides the fact that the system is not widely deployed, in the one major market outside of the USA that that does use CDMA, South Korea, the carriers don't allow roaming.

    But that's not the killer, this is: in the small-print it says "CDMA available only if iPhone is sold with contract to a CDMA network". So, this is basically a feature to allow Verizon customers in the USA to use their phones while abroad.

    Meanwile, the GSM-3G (WCDMA) system is still only quad-band, which locks out T-Mobile USA customers.

    This is Apple dressing up a good piece of logistics management (reduction of SKUs and combining BOMs) as a customer benefit, when it's nothing of the sort.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    16gb SD will set you back around £25-35, 32gb is about double that. Higher end prices are for faster interfaces, you would probably want the fastest class 10 for a fair comparison, so you're looking at about £35 price difference in going from 16gb to 32gb, which translates to about $50. Apple is charging a $100 premium for the same jump, so they are indeed screwing you on that.

    On the other hand, 64gb micro SD is not yet available at all, so the 64Gb iPhone cannot be matched by any other phone currently available, and I don't believe any current phones support the SDXC standard, so even when they come out, they'll need a new phone that supports them. Of course, you could just get 2 32gb cards and swap them around (or 3, or 4, and you've got effectively unlimited storage), but this is much less convenient than having it all in the phone, you've got to put them somewhere so you can swap them when you need to, and the bloody things are tiny and easy to lose.

    Its also worth noting that the $100 jump from 32 to 64 is actually a prefectly reasonable pricel, a 32gb sd card would set you back at least that much for a decent card.

  19. bolccg
    Thumb Down

    The importance of units

    Wow, 8 whole minutes of 3g talk time!

  20. Sargs

    What one hand giveth...

    So they've added a backside-illuminated sensor to improve low-light performance, then added a five-element lens? Every glass-air interface in a lens system increases the amount of light lost, meaning worse low-light performance.

    Okay, the new sensor's improved performance will almost certainly be more significant than the light losses from addition of a new lens element, but it tickled me that one new feature slightly counteracts the other.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What a non event! I would nt even call it a souped up Iphone4. Minor tweaks and fanbois frothing and drooling over it!

    BTW, how many millions are in the pipeline/supply chain ? I can foresee a price collapse of phones and Apple shares soon. We have reached the tipping point and saturation levels, what with the plethora of ANdroind phones. (ie priced between 100-150 pounds by the plenty, Sf, Monte Carlo etc).

    As someone has pinted out earlier, why pay £100 plus premium for evey 8 GB of extra RAM, which can be had for a tenner these days?

    Madness, Id say.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely I can't be the only person... smirk at the phrase "backside-illuminated sensor?"

    We all know where the sun shines out of Steve Jobs anyway...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      @ Sargs, re lens elements

      There's a truthy grain in what you say:

      "The reflection of light at each of the many interfaces between different optical media (air, glass, plastic) seriously degraded the contrast and color saturation of early lenses, zoom lenses in particular..."


      "The introduction many years ago of optical coatings, and advances in coating technology over the years, have resulted in major improvements, and modern high-quality zoom lenses give images of quite acceptable contrast, although zoom lenses with many elements will transmit less light than lenses made with fewer elements (all other factors such as aperture, focal length, and coatings being equal)." [from Wikipedia]

      So in a nutshell, simpler = better if circumstances permit, agreed, but in most situations the pros outweigh the cons.

      1. Sargs

        You're absolutely right that coatings will help matters. I just liked the idea that the losses in the Silica are offset by the gains in the Silicon.

    2. cloudgazer

      Heh - definitely less light lost than gained. The loss of light at glass-air interface is around 4% for bare glass, and I'd imagine that the glass on one of these lens systems is anything but bare. 1% would seem plausible.

      But yeh - it's all a tradeoff.

      1. Silverburn

        There's also...

        ..the increased apeture size as well. That'll let is more than enough light to compensate for the extra glass (which'll be wafer thin anyway), plus - hopefully - enough left to live up to the claimed improved low-light performance.

    3. hexx

      yep, but they increased max aperture too, so it evens out, doesn't it?

    4. davemcwish

      SAD - not really

      "BTW, how many millions are in the pipeline/supply chain ? I can foresee a price collapse of phones and Apple shares soon. We have reached the tipping point and saturation levels, what with the plethora of ANdroind phones. (ie priced between 100-150 pounds by the plenty, Sf, Monte Carlo etc)".

      Won't happen as it's no different to any other consumer/electronic device in that there's enough people that need an upgrade or covnince themselves that they must.

      "As someone has pinted out earlier, why pay £100 plus premium for evey 8 GB of extra RAM, which can be had for a tenner these days?"

      Because they can use their brand reputation to persuade customers to.

    5. Erroneous Howard

      @AC 08:50 GMT

      "On the other hand, 64gb micro SD is not yet available at all"

      Well, this looks oddly like a 64GB microSD card, and is available and in stock. Although I do agree with the pricing comment, and it seems much better value when you take the 32GB to 64GB jump.

    6. ThomH Silver badge

      What fanbois?

      Show me the fanbois.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It can now intelligently switch between the two antennas between transmit and receive."

    Sounds dangerously like a quote from the Blue Brothers

    "What type of antenna do you have here?"

    "Both types, Sir, transmit and receive"

  24. PeterM42

    iPhone 4½ surely?

    As this version of the Cupertino fondleslab is not called iPhone 5, but 4S, if you use "personalized car number plate logic", that becomes 4.5.

    Therefore "iPhone 4½"

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too old for this

    I've noticed over the past two or three years that El Reg, its writership and commentardship are all becoming increasingly out of touch with the consumer end of the businesses they cover. Ranting more in the style of grumpy OAPs watching their illusions dilute than in the illusion-busting style of yore. In hindsight, it seems obvious, since IT departments themselves are slowly but surely shrinking and slipping into irrelevance. The last bastion is to mock the user, and anything that makes the user feel enabled, in a flailing belief that the user can never be enabled without the tireless, thankless boffin. You just don't get it anymore. But at least the El Reg writership itself sort of acknowledges this.

    1. Zippy the Pinhead


      "IT departments themselves are slowly but surely shrinking and slipping into irrelevance"

      Which is why is this economy IT departments are the only ones still expanding? Put the pipe down.. or the koolaid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A source, perchance? And not for the Kool-aid joke, you'd have to go too far back into the annals of stale fob-offs for that one.

        Technology recruitment is up, but does that mean IT departments in non-IT firms are also growing? Admittedly my stance is based purely on my own (non-IT) employers and those of friends and family.

        Regardless, I stand by my assertion that the prevailing mood within IT departments is one of distrust towards the enablement of users, and that this is growing with the spread of more user-friendly tech. Classic middlemen. User's got a problem? Suck on your teeth, use some jargon and wave hands at the mere mortals' inability to understand. Always have a dozen stupid user anecdotes on hand to ward off any realisation that you might just be an excruciatingly mediocre cog that isn't particularly good at its job. Then make fun of users behind their backs for being happy carrying around a phone they're not allowed to root.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 14:15

          Dude, calm down.

          What is the real problem? Did your girlfriend who works in IT dump you, or was it that she has nothing to do with IT but ran off with her local BOFH?

          Any IT department that acts as you describe would surely be replaced, but I think you have been watching too much TV and reading too much Dilbert if you think that is even close to reality.

    2. Piro


      Do you think everything will still run without the IT departments?

      Methinks you are a little deluded.

      Do not credit the user, for they are often extremely foolish. Sadly, the "tireless, thankless boffin" is still a real archetype.

  26. Adam T

    "We improved the camera" ??

    Shirley, they meant to say "we bought a better camera from Sony".

    Not that I care. The only camera I'm interested in seeing is the 1DS MkIV.

    (drops another pound coin in the piggy bank)

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Hey Siri, where can I get a proper phone?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Fuck that...

      1. Google is just as evil as Apple. Eye of Sauron etc..

      2. Have you *EVER* used voice recognition? Even on a high end intel it is teh evilz.... You may have a chance if you speak American :P

      Android, Apple, whatever.... All they want to do is grab your $$$ and your mine your demographics and now even "all your data r belong to us", real soon now, in Apple shaped clouds.

      Proper phone = old school nokia or equivalent. Cheap. battery lasts for days. You won't cry if it gets squashed. So, not on the interwebs... Big deal. Pen and paper. Old palm pilot or work a like. Do you need to be on the internet 24 hours a day?

      If you must, get a wifi telco dongle and use whatever tablet/lappie you have bearing in mind the nefariousness of the underlying vendors. Get an iPhone, android whatever, but ....

      .... just don't *EVER* get the foolish idea that your data is private.

  28. MJG

    People are missing certain things

    I will start off by saying I'm not an apple fan, and some would call me an android fanboi (have the original desire, which I love the physical keys for), but I do follow the Apple releases (try and avoid all the speculation, etc). I watched the event 'live' on Engadget last night, and Siri actually excited me a little. I even recommend iPhones to certain people, with certain needs (they do have the most/best games available for a mobile phone platform).

    It turns out Siri was available on the 3GS or above, until last night (might not be quite in the same format), but now will be removed from these and only available on the 4S. That's appalling, never mind that it's available on Google etc albeit in not as polished form (Look for Edwin on android, or the built in functions, and await ICS). It might turn out it is available on older phones, but if they're removing it from the phones it was available before, then.... Pfffttt... The Apple marketing is just bad.

    Another thing that stood out, was they're putting "BETA" on it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is sooooo un-apple. They perfect things, make it smooth and sexy and silky, sticking BETA on a product or app, etc is just against their ethos, what is going on with that? I guess they need a larger test base, but still seems so against apple to me.

    And it IS about time they started offering a different screen size. 3.5 inch just doesn't cut it these days. People ARE different, and choice is a good thing. Where is the large phone on offer. I might consider a 4+inch iPhone next time, but I'm used to my bigger screen and the other halfs GSII has a better screen than any other mobile I've seen. For browsing, etc it's better.

    Unfortunately Joe Public will not know about these things, and a lot of these will sell. I do recommend iPhones to certain people, as they are polished consumer devices, but their lying, and twisting of the truth, gets to me the most. I think they are a GOOD phone, and the app store has loads of good apps, but the company and the marketing stinks....

    Are apple starting to lose it? I dunno... I appreciate what they're doing in a lot of ways and have made things better, but with the legal threats, and now way behind the curve (nearly everything in last nights event I've been enjoying for 1.5 years on my desire, and more). We'll see...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LOL, apple have the most/best games available for a mobile phone platform

      You have fallen hook line and sinker into the trap the media have set for you. They all like to pretend this is true, but it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, they keep claiming this and the more they claim it the more it becomes fact, so much so that people simply forget the awesome Android games that aren't available on iOS.

      1. Ramazan
        Paris Hilton

        Android games?

        Are you serious? How about

    2. Craigness


      That's not the first time I've seen someone comment on the games available for either platform. But I've not seen anyone give any evidence for iOS being the better option. What is lacking in the 8 categories of games in the Android store (and the Amazon store and other competing stores)?

    3. MJG

      Well I would like to be prooved wrong in all honesty guys, as I personally feel it's IS androids biggest weakness (BTW just installed Apparatus, and I quite like it thanks!)

      But if u want evidence, take Popcap for example (Plants vs Zombies, a game I like and would like ot play). Not on Android market, is on Amazon, but not available for us in the UK and have taken years to release. Also if the games are similar, I would hedge my bets that they're released on iOS first. I'm not a massive game player, and if I were might have got a iPhone. So please I'm not really arguing either way, can someone else provide evidence... Just a couple of examples.

      1. Craigness

        Not for lack of capability

        Here's what games developers can do on Android.

        Is Shaky Tower available on the iphone? A quick google says no and the apple app store doesn't seem to be searchable unless you have itunes.

        1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Not for lack of capability

          No, that's what developers can do with a very specific chip, from Nvidia.

          There's way more Nvidia in that demo than Android.

          And there's nothing to suggest other platforms won't be able to do the same when they get Kal-El Tegra-level processors.

  29. Rosco

    Most significant

    For me, the most significant aspect of the event was Apple actively comparing the 4S to Android devices to call out where it beats them (e.g. shutterlag in the camera). They've never had to do that before, they've always complacently ignored the competition and let their products speak for themselves. It seems like they're losing a little of their self-confidence.

    1. Sargs

      A slight loss of confidence on Apple's part is not necessarily a bad thing, as companies that become complacent about their position rapidly lose it. I remember working with Nokia when the iPhone came out and saying "You really need to take this seriously, it blows anything we have out of the water in terms of usability and experience and they're easier to program", and the general response was "Well, our smartphones multitask, they have 3G, they make reliable phone calls, they have brilliant cameras*, who's going to buy an iPhone over ours? We're Nokia!"

      Of course they might have just been flannelling an external contractor while the management quaked in their boots behind closed doors, but they certainly didn't seem to try to address the iPhone until much too late.

      *I did cameras. Other people may have done the Brilliance.

  30. uhuznaa

    What I really like

    is the wireless (AirPlay) screen mirroring. OK, you need an ATV for that, but still... Having the ability to use all apps, video, photos, games etc. on the big screen without hanging off a cable and with no fuss is just sweet.

    I think the 4S is evolution in a nice way. There was not much wrong with the iPhone 4 design, still a timeless classic as far as gadgets go.

    1. Monty Burns

      you mean....

      just like the HDMI out on Android phones, except its 1080 with a high bitrate? Something wireless can't do.

      Oh and we don't need ATV to do it either, just a £10 cable.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        @Monty Burns

        No, he doesn't. Or he'd be comparing it to the HDMI out on iPhones, which like the HDMI out on phones running every other operating system doesn't need an ATV, just a £10 cable.

        1. Monty Burns

          Only with the 4SSSSSS

          Seems you can only do that in the future (if Samsung don't get there way) ... and its £35, not a £10.....

          Unless there is another way I don't know about?

  31. uhuznaa

    Large screens

    are better for browsing but I'm fairly sure that most normal people like to be able to use their phone one-handed and with 4" and more this gets really tough. You need to balance the thing on three fingers to reach everywhere with a larger screen. Ok, some people have really huge hands but this is not the rule.

    That being said, I would have liked a 3.7" display or so, but with a screen reaching to the very ege it becomes hard to avoid accidental touches when holding it around the edges.

    1. Zippy the Pinhead

      @ uhuznaa

      A 4" screen is only about 2 3/4 to 3 inches wide at best.. meaning your hand only needs to 5" wide to comfortably hold the device.. pretty much anyone over 10 should be able to maintain a secure grasp.

  32. Benchops

    A5 processor twice as powerful as the A4?

    And presumably only half the size. Still, they must have had to fold it a bit more to fit it in an iPhone.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      Before anyone goes on about 2 cores yadayadayada... Battery life needs figuring too. That goes for the screen too. And the OS controlling all this.

      No point having something that drains your battery twice as fast. For a smartphone to be usable I reckon, you should have at least 2 days from each charge.

      And remember LiPo batteries do fatigue and die. The less charge cycles the better.

      Very delicate balancing act. Apple may have got it better this time, or with 2 cores, it could be worse. Certainly I do not believe the battery technology is significantly any different between a 4 and a 4S.

      Having said all that, this looks possibly iike what the iPhone 4 should have been.

      I have no love lost for apple but I've used the iPad 2 (not mine, mind you!) and it's infinitely slicker than any android machine out there at present. Google's folly is Java, I reckon. If the iPhone 4S is like this, without any major hardware issues and a good battery life, it should do well.

      In fact, the iPad 2 is so nice, I would consider preordering it on basis of this, were it an open system capable of being inspected and modified by anyone reasonably techically minded, and not just those elite well versed in the arcane black arts of jailbreaking....

      ... but I do not condone Apple's lockdown or the new 'All your data r belongs to us' thing...

      So I say no and show Apple the finger.

  33. davefb

    Well I learned something..

    hang on , you mean up till now Iphones weren't HDPSA ? ?

    1. Piro

      That's apple for you!

      Remember, the first iPhone only had EDGE in a UMTS world...

  34. Absent

    "How do I get home?" Siri

    Most people use their phone to call a taxi.

  35. SanityFM

    As a great man said, I think is time to "Think Different!".

    The iphone now looks dated compaired with the competition. Grids of rounded shortcuts that only provide numbers and not present me with the live info I want, look tired along side Android and WP7.

    I felt that Apple needed a complete GUI refresh, rather than the "Start menu in a phone" IP4, and now IP4S is. Android and WP7 are inovating GUI with live tiles giving you actual information at a glance, on your front screen, and that provide links and info from deep within an app. Apples GUI is stuck in 2006, as is their screen size. After using my 4.3" screen there is no way Im going back to 3.7"

    They say they have fixed antenna design flaw so thats good news. We'll see when early feed back comes in.

    As for the announced features. We already have them on WP7 and probably Android. I used my voice command and dictation for a few weeks on my WP7 and it works great. I switched it off in the end as it's just not the way I want to interact with my phone. Cloud, Yep I've been using it (Skydrive) on my phone since march and it works fine. Its no revolution though just a moderately useful option.

    As for the internals. Some nice hardware inside. I'm sure apps will start to exploit the new graphics chip in the future but Im not much for phone games so not really too interested. To be honest my old IP4 was smooth and didnt need any more processing power so I think if I was buying a IP4S I'd be thinking, well keep the IP4 CPU in the IP4S, and give me the additional battery life a Dual Core would consume. Afterall, Im not wanting to play Battlefield 3 on the thing, nor will I ever be able to. Current smartphones/tablets are good for media consumption apps, small tools, and little else. So until someone gives a phone/tablet sized PC that can run some proper applications, the hardware speed race is a bit pointless, or even detrimental to our phone user experience due to the increased battery consumption. Appart from Android, which appears to need a bit more processing power. Just think, if they stuck with the old CPU you might get a week of battery life, just like the old days.

    All in all a bit of a disapointing launch. It seems that simple feature additions were hyped up in the presentation to justify this new model. I suppose you could say its evolution not revolution. Apple are now in a position of dominance, just like Microsoft in the PC arena, that they dont need to take risks and push inovation. They just need to cover the competitors features and introduce them on their their own platform as we've seen here. The customers, or followers ;) will still buy them of course, hehe.

    Dont get me wrong, the Iphone is a fine smartphone. Heck they all are. For me though using this phone is like a step back to 2006. Apple have not kept up with their competitors on GUI and the overall user experience, although they do still have the best app portfolio and ecosystem intergration.

    This means when my contract is up in January next year, I will be upgrading to an Android or Windows phone.

    Come on Apple, Innovate! And to the users, "Think Different" as a certain company once asked of us. Iphones user experience has stagnated and is stuck in the past. Embrace change. Demand more from your cutting edge phone tech.


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it was so crap compared to other phones on offer, behind the times and slow that to save face the 4 was uprated with anything out of the odds and sods box, desperate to get some sales and fleece the sheep they know will buy it. Then in March next year a new phone will arrive ready to fleece the sheep again.

  37. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    Not to nitpick.

    72.8% vs 73%. Come, come now....

    Significant figures my friend. It's plausible they got some wild exciting number to more significant figures but decided to round it off to 2 significant figures. Which is reasonable - and I'm not the first ever to jump into Apple's defence.

    You think we're all dumb enough that things have to be rounded down to significant quartiles?

  38. GotThumbs

    Ah....spin doctors.

    Most of the general consumers will have NO idea what is inside the computer/phone. Apple sells like car salesmen. Their just using existing technology from the IPAD2 and putting it into the phone. Really clever if you think about it. They know they have a certain click of consumers that will buy their products, no matter what the cost or real improvements. Reselling old hardware to the masses that have limited budgets.....but apple has already re-couped their R&D costs on the older components. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Suckers !!! Thats what the S really stands for....Wait till 1st or 2nd Qtr for the 5 phone.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019