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Apple iPhone 4S Review

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was disappointed a month ago when Apple failed to announce the iPhone 5 after many months of rumors and speculation. Instead, we were offered the iPhone 4S – an evolutionary instead of revolutionary update to the one year old iPhone 4. Even though I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade, I went ahead and purchased one because I’m crazy like that. Am I glad that I spent way too much money for it, or do I have buyer’s remorse? Keep reading to find out.

Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.

Hardware Specifications

Operating System: iOS 5
Processor: Dual-core A5
Memory: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions available
Display: 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch retina display, 960-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, 800:1 contrast ratio (typical)
Wireless: World phone
UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)4
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
Bluetooth 4.0
Digital Camera: 8.0MP, Video recording, HD (1080p) up to 30 frames per second with audio
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion, Talk time: up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 14 hours on 2G, standby time: up to 200 hours
Internet use: up to 6 hours on 3G, up to 9 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback: Up to 10 hours
Audio playback: Up to 40 hours
Size: 4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37 in (115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm)
Weight: 4.9 ounces (140 grams)

Package Contents

iPhone 4S
Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic
Dock Connector to USB Cable
USB Power Adapter
Documentation

By all outward appearances, the iPhone 4S looks and feels almost identical to the iPhone 4. The only notable exception is that the 4S has a SIM slot on the right side for world phone capability. But other than that, they are dead ringers for each other.

For that fact, I’m not going to go over the buttons, switches, display and body details. You can go read my iPhone 4 review if you’d like more info on those features. This review will focus on the main updates to the 4S, which are mostly under the hood and include:

  • Updated processor
  • Updated antenna design
  • Updated camera
  • Siri voice assistant

Processor

Let’s start with the brains behind the iPhone. The CPU has been upgraded to an A5 dual-core chip, which is said to deliver up to two times more power and up to seven times faster graphics than the iPhone 4’s single core A5 chip. I’ve been using the 4S for the past month and so far I really can’t tell THAT much of a difference in speed between it and my 4 for every day tasks.  I did some side by side testing of both phones and found that booting from power off and launching all my normal apps was only about 1-2 seconds faster on the 4S. This wasn’t something I even noticed until I did the side by side comparisons. I’ve actually never had a complaint with how fast apps launch on iOS devices, so if they are now 1 second faster, it really doesn’t make me want to jump up and down with glee.

On the graphics side of things, I purchased a couple games to do some more side by sides between the 4 and 4S. I decided on Modern Combat 3 and Infinity Blade just because they are both high end games that are very rich in graphics. It’s crazy how large mobile games have become. Modern Combat 3 requires a little over 1GB and Infinity Blade takes up almost 600MBs!

Since both phones have the same resolution displays, the games look the same at first glance. But upon closer inspection, the biggest difference that I noticed were that objects on the 4S are brighter and have more reflections. Here are a couple examples.

Modern Combat 3 on the iPhone 4. Notice how dark the soldier is.

Modern Combat 3 on the iPhone 4S. The soldier is quite a bit brighter. And yes, I had both phones set to the same brightness level when I did these comparisons.

Another example shows a screen shot of Infinity Blade on the iPhone 4.

Here’s Infinity Blade on the iPhone 4S. Notice the highlights, brighter armor and reflections?

Game play also felt a little smoother when panning around a detailed screen. I think it will really depend on the games themselves to be optimized for the 4S. You’re only going to notice improvements on high end type games though. Titles like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds, which have simple graphics will not feel or look any different on the 4S.

When it’s all said and done, the speed and graphics updates on the 4S are nice, but the improvements aren’t so great that the performance gap between the two phones really makes that much of a difference in my opinion. After playing games on the 4S and then playing the same games on the 4, I didn’t feel like the 4 was too slow.

Antenna

The iPhone 4S has a new antenna design which is supposed to improve call quality and download speeds even though the 4S isn’t a 4G phone.

“iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to transmit and receive, so call quality is better. It also doubles the maximum HSDPA data speeds to 14.4 Mbps.8 Which means faster connections, faster loading and reloading, and faster downloads.”

It’s nice to know that this new design has solved the whole death grip issue. But I’m not so sure it improves call quality and / or download speeds all that much – at least not for me. I’ve not had any issues with call quality on the previous iPhone once I switched from AT&T to Verizon and am not noticing any significant changes with the 4S.

 

 

The same is true for download speeds. I really haven’t noticed any significant difference on the 4S. Even when I have full bars and a 3G connection, updating the weather, reading news via the USA today app, checking for app store updates, downloading mail, etc all seem to be just as fast or slow as before. 3G speeds via Verizon have never been all that consistent for me in the first place. I can do speed tests using the free Speedtest.net app every hour and see wildly varying results each time.

Camera

Honestly, the reason why I decided to go ahead and splurge on the iPhone 4S purchase, was the upgraded camera from 5MP up to 8MP. Resolution isn’t the only upgrade though. The whole camera has been redesigned with a  custom lens that has a larger f/2.4 aperture to allow for better low light photos.

Here are some sample images comparing the iPhone 4 and 4S.

iPhone 4 picture

iPhone 4S picture

iPhone 4 picture

iPhone 4S picture.

Video recording has been improved from 720p up to 1080p. That’s 1280 X 720 lines of resolution vs. 1920 X 1080 progressive lines of resolution. More lines means a sharper picture. Here are some sample videos.


iPhone 4s video sample. Max the gadgeteer mascot makes a few cameo appearances. :)


iPhone 4 video sample.

If all you ever do is view your pictures and videos on the iPhone’s display or your computer’s display, the upgrade from 5 to 8 megapixels and 720p to 1080p probably won’t seem like a big deal. The increase in pixels is helpful if you ever decide to print the images or watch the videos on a larger screen though.

Siri

Besides the upgraded camera, the other feature that I was most anxious to try on the 4S was Siri. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Siri is a built in personal assistant that listens to your voice commands spoken in regular words. Here are just 2 quick examples of things you can ask:

The quoted text in each screen shot is a question that I have asked Siri. You can get Siri’s attention in several ways. If you hold the phone up to your ear when you’re not in a call, she’ll ask you what she can help you with. You can also hold down the Home button to talk to her. If you use earbuds with built in microphone, you can hold down the mic button to talk to her. Bluetooth headsets can also be used by holding down the call button for several seconds.

In addition to asking questions and getting answers like the ones shown above, you can also say things like “set the timer for 5 minutes”, “wake me up in an hour”, send a text message to Jeanne saying I’ll be late getting home”, “remind me when I get home to call Dad” and lots more.

In actual usage, I’ve found that my voice commands are recognized pretty well as long as I speak slightly slower than normal and remember to enunciate instead of mumble. Siri is fun to play around with… and that’s the problem, I seem to only use it for entertainment, just to see what she’ll say to kooky questions. I’ve spent way too much time asking things like “Do you love me?”, “what’s the meaning of life?”, “open the pod bay doors”, “are you real?”, etc. I wonder just how many “real” commands Siri responds to every day vs. silly questions. I ask this because on numerous occasions, I’ve asked a question only to be told that the network couldn’t be accessed.

After some initial testing / goofing around with Siri, I find that I almost never use this feature. I definitely do not use it at work or in public because it just seems way too dorky to talk to your phone like it’s a person. In the privacy of my car or home, it’s another matter though. But even so, I just don’t seem to use the feature much at all. I’d like to start using it to dictate news and/or reviews while I’m driving to and from work. So we’ll see…

Battery Life

So far battery life on the iPhone 4S has been somewhat disappointing. I seem to be charging my phone more often than I did with the iPhone 4. Even after updating to iOS 5.01, which was supposed to fix battery issues, I’m not seeing much of an improvement. I’m still usually able to get through a day without charging, but my old iPhone 4 was able to last at least 2 days or longer. I am almost always close to a power source, so it’s not a big deal for me, but of course I wish it was better.

Bottom line

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably already figured out the answer to the question in the first paragraph of this review: Am I glad that I spent way too much money for the iPhone 4S, or do I have buyer’s remorse? The answer is that I’m suffering from a moderate case of buyer’s remorse. It would have been different if I didn’t already have an iPhone 4 and/or I had been eligible for an upgrade through Verizon. But neither of these cases were true and I spent $649 on a 16GB iPhone 4S that has only a slightly better user experience than my perfectly fine iPhone 4. Oh well, that’s one of the down sides of being a gadget freak. It’s just too hard to resist the lure of a new device.

Those of you that don’t already have an iPhone 4 and are considering the 4S, go for it. It’s a great phone (and will be even better once they get the battery life issues sorted out). But if you already have the 4, my advice is to wait for the mythical iPhone 5. You’ll be glad you did. In the mean time, anyone want to buy a month old iPhone 4S that is in mint condition with no contract? Seriously… :)

 

Product Information

Price:$199 - $399 with contract, $649 - $849
Manufacturer:Apple
Pros:
  • Upgraded camera from 5MP to 8MP
  • End of death grip problems with the antenna
  • Speed and graphics performance boost
  • Siri
Cons:
  • Upgrades (other than camera) really don't feel vastly improved from iPhone 4
  • Battery life issue

{ 43 comments… add one }

  • Brandon November 18, 2011, 11:31 am

    Love my 4S, but I had a more dramatic upgrade from a 3GS. The only problem I’m having is an intolerable static buzz coming from the earpiece when I’m having a phone conversation. I’ll see if Apple will replace it in a couple weeks when I can make it to the Apple Store.

  • Jake November 18, 2011, 11:47 am

    I think Siri is amazing. I use it all the time. You should find a complete list of Siri commands on the web and spend some time learning them. I rarely use the keyboard anymore as Siri is able to handle almost all my requests for me now that I know what to say.

    Using Siri is less dorky than typing on a keyboard in public. You appear to be (and actually are) speaking to your personal assistant on the phone.

    Siri is a game changer and that is why Apple is pouring billions into it. And it is the right thing to do.

  • Jerry Danzig November 18, 2011, 11:59 am

    $650 for a phone??? And to think that one can buy a VERY nice laptop PC these days for under $500…

  • Andy Chen November 18, 2011, 12:18 pm

    Nice comparison screen shots, Julie! I don’t have the patience to do that!

    For me, the revised antenna was totally worth it.

  • Richard Raborn November 18, 2011, 12:19 pm

    How is the Video chat when you have wifi?

  • Richard Raborn November 18, 2011, 12:21 pm

    Charging up and updating my Kindle Fire right now. Review soon?

  • Julie November 18, 2011, 12:29 pm

    @Richard I haven’t tested video chat over wifi. I’ll have to do that and report back.

    Kindle Fire review soon :)

  • aphoid November 18, 2011, 1:03 pm

    For me, Siri is most often used as a “Speed dial” replacement. “Call Wife Cell”, “Call Dad Home”, or “Call John Smith Office” is a lot easier than dealing with the tap-tap-tapping through the app launcher, phone, favorites and/or contacts to make a phone call.

    It’s also vastly easier to create a reminder with it than it is to actually use the “Reminders” app. E.g. I use things like “when I get home, remind me to take out the trash” or “In an hour, remind me to leave work.”

    I have also used it to dictate a few text messages and emails, but that’s not as frequent.

    I really hope they open up the APIs so that third-party apps can use it.

    Some of the commands are neat, but they would be much more powerful with third-party support. For example, a command like “Navigate to 123 Main Street” is neat, except that it brings up the built-in Maps app. It would be dramatically more useful if it allowed me to bring up one of the better third-party apps with voice prompts and auto-recalculation.

    I agree that the 4S isn’t quite as compelling an upgrade if you have a 4 already. I had an upgrade available (I was switching from a Palm Pre2), and the $100 premium over the regular 4 was worth the premium to me. My wife switched carriers (and paid an ETF) to upgrade from a 4 and join the family plan, and she really likes the Siri feature. If she had been staying on her old provider, I don’t think she would have bothered though.

  • Rocco November 18, 2011, 2:32 pm

    The reason you aren’t experiencing increase in data speeds are because you’re using the verizon network.Had you been using AT&t that speed would have increased.

  • Andy Simmons November 18, 2011, 4:42 pm

    My wife just got her 4S a few days ago, and I’ve since been experiencing the envy that comes with being the one in the house with the oldest phone (which, granted, is still an iPhone 4). However, AT&T just moved my upgrade eligibility date up to early December, so I’m torn.

  • Julie November 18, 2011, 4:49 pm

    @Andy as another iPhone 4 owner like myself, are you really that tempted to upgrade to the 4S? If yes, why exactly?

  • Julie November 18, 2011, 4:54 pm

    @Rocco I used to be on the AT&T network and it pretty much sucked. Crappy call quality etc. So I switched to Verizon and have been infinitely happier.

  • Andy Simmons November 18, 2011, 5:33 pm

    @Julie, there are several reasons:

    1) after playing with Siri on my wife’s 4S, I can already tell that it’s something that I’d use on a regular basis. Being able to dictate text messages (and have them read back) in the car is fantastic, and as you mentioned, being able to just rattle off a reminder without having to completely stop whatever else you’re doing is quite useful.

    2) I enjoy taking photos, but I don’t enjoy being that guy who takes his DSLR kit everywhere. And the better my phone’s camera gets, the fewer ruined shots I end up having to delete. Any improvement in the camera is a big plus in my book.

    3) Storage. This is the first generation of iPhone that offers 64GB of storage as an option. I find myself frequently deleting apps and playlists in order to make room for other things in my iPhone’s measly 32GB of memory. Doubling the storage capacity is a big deal for me.

    4) The processor. While your screen captures are evidence that existing games look only marginally better — if better at all — on the 4S than they do on the iPhone 4, things will change. At the iPhone 4S release, Epic and Chair demonstrated Infinity Blade 2, which is optimized for the 4S, and which will likely provide a better example of what each handset is capable of. And even though high-end gaming on my phone is not a huge requirement for me, I still remember what it was like to be an iPhone 3G owner when iOS 4 was released. I doubt that Apple will let anything like that happen again, but I’m only cautiously optimistic about that, and so I’d prefer to be holding the handset less likely to get that treatment. :)

    Also, this is the second year in a row that AT&T has moved up subscribers’ upgrade eligibility dates (they did it just before the iPhone 4 launch last year). I figure that this indicates a possible pattern, and since I doubt that Apple will release the iPhone 5 in less than a year’s time from the 4S launch, I may be able to upgrade to the next iPhone model shortly after it launches as well. Who knows?

  • Julie November 18, 2011, 5:38 pm

    @Andy all good reasons… I tried to use Siri 5-6 times in a row (within an hour timespan) this afternoon to send a text message and each time got the message that I needed to try later… :(

  • Andy Simmons November 18, 2011, 5:45 pm

    @Julie yeah, I’ve heard about people having those sorts of problems with Siri; makes sense, given that all of the processing happens “in the cloud”, I guess. Of course, that begs the question of whether it’s a problem at the data center or a problem with the network. I’m hoping that living just a couple hundred miles from Apple’s giant data center is going to help minimize network and latency problems for me. :)

  • immovableobject November 18, 2011, 6:48 pm

    @ Jerry Danzig, who wrote
    “$650 for a phone??? And to think that one can buy a VERY nice laptop PC these days for under $500…”

    $650 is indeed expensive, but most people actually pay the lower carrier-subsidized price. And, yes PCs can be had for less money, but I’d like to see you pull a laptop out of your pocket to take a quick snapshot, record a voice memo, consult a map, check the weather forecast, look up an address, update your todo list, make a phone call, or listen to your music collection while out for a walk.

    With a full-featured smart phone, you pay for it’s compactness, instant access, and convenience.

  • Ken Schoenberg November 18, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Smartphones are kind of stuck for a bit, their operating systems are really lagging behind the hardware in leading edge capabilities.
    I’ve used Siri, Vlingo and a couple of others. There’s a lot more artificial than intelligence going on there. They’ve kind of meshed that old computer psychiatrist, Eliza with the same voice activation and dialing that has been around for at least 15 years.
    Pre-programmed cutesy answers about where to bury a body isn’t exactly going to change the world.
    I believe the break through is going to come in input when someone comes up with a phrase-based method of touch input.
    Voice just doesn’t work in many environments either because of noise or privacy.
    There’s certainly nothing wrong with the iPhone or any of the leading Android phones…but is any of them doing anything markedly better than last year’s phones?

  • Rocco November 18, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Personally I think that AT&T network is better but I’ll take your word for it. Although just so were clear I’m just stating that in terms of speed increase it only happens on carriers running on the GSM network (AT&T).

  • Kevin November 19, 2011, 1:00 am

    conflating pre programmed answers and eliza with the power of a distributed grammar engine like siri is just sinful.

  • Deni Tako November 19, 2011, 2:02 am

    I’m really glad to hear that I’m not the only person not in love with Siri. I find that it understands what I intend to do about 65% of the time, but that the voice recognition garbles what I want to communicate just enough to render it useless while driving, which was the primary reason I wanted to upgrade.

    Sometimes, it will be “close enough” that I’m ok with sending a text that isn’t 100% accurate, to friends and some co-workers, but not to clients or higher-ups, which are the people I’m most likely to need to respond to quickly.

    I can’t really even tell if it’s capable of “learning” from corrections I make, so I don’t know if it would be worth spending a few hours doing nothing but dictating and correcting (as with Vlingo) to help it get better at recognizing my particular speech patterns.

    The other issue is battery life – this is the WORST iPhone for that, and for me, the update that was supposed to help made it worse than it was out of the box. Now, I’m running for a charger 2 or 3 times a day, and am usually in the red by bedtime anyway.

    I’m hoping it will be fixed in another software update soon though, but it’s still WAY better than the bad proximity sensors that plagued me though no less than 5 iPhone 4’s.

  • Harold Kahn November 19, 2011, 7:41 am

    Julie – – How much would you like for the phone?

  • Andy Simmons November 19, 2011, 8:05 am

    @Deni: just as having a speakerphone conversation in the car is difficult because of road and engine noise, you can naturally expect the same to interfere with Siri’s voice recognition. Try using a good Bluetooth headset to communicate with Siri in the car (just hold whichever button you would have used to initiate voice dialing prior to Siri), and you’ll likely find that the recognition rate improves significantly.

  • Andy Simmons November 19, 2011, 8:09 am

    @Ken: seriously, if Siri was nothing more than Eliza tacked on to the same voice recognition that most phones use for voice dialing, don’t you think someone would have done this a long time ago?

    The fact is that Siri does understand natural language, and can figure out what it can do based on what you’re saying. I don’t have to say “set an alarm for 9:08″, I can just say “wake me up in an hour”. That may seem trivial now, but as Siri’s abilities grow, it will become indispensable.

  • Julie November 19, 2011, 9:11 am

    @Harold I’ll sell it for $525 (I’ll pay shipping). It’s a 16GB version, Has had a screen protector on the front and back the whole time.

  • Daniel McNutt November 19, 2011, 1:12 pm

    I know there was a lot of speculation about a redesign this version of the iPhone, but I’m surprised on how that translated into “disappointment” among the geek community. Based on previous evidence (3GS) this would have probably always been an evolutionary upgrade-contrary to rumors. I don’t think we’ll see a big change until Apple can work LTE into it’s unit (and keep a battery time in the neighborhood it is now). Also I don’t know how much Apple would change it’s handset. Generally when they refine their designs to a certain point both aesthetically and manufacturability it sticks. The Mac Pro, Macbook Pro and iMacs are cases where they have found their sweet spot and haven’t redesigned significantly in years (and why should they?).

    I have a 4 and I have played with my buddies 4s (I know how to ask Siri things better than he does :)) and it’s compelling upgrade for the camera alone, to me. However paying $600+ for the privilege is too much and maybe that price point bares some of your buyer remorse. $200 is a lot less to part with for an evolutionary update. I’m not eligible until April for an upgrade and by that time I might as well wait for what is to come next from Apple.

  • Doug Moran November 19, 2011, 1:59 pm

    I am not a big believer in voice-recognition, but I’m finding Siri incredibly helpful, most notably when I can’t or don’t want to tap stuff out on the screen. Sending text messages is a big win–even if I don’t use Siri, I use the voice-activation portion to enter the text. And when you’re in the car, it’s a huge help to just say, “Dial Kristen” instead of having to pull over and tap your way through various screens. I think you will find it more useful as you go along, Julie.

    Also, in my experience, the processor is noticeably zippier in things like Infinity Blade. IB opens much quicker, and there are no “jerks” or “hesitations” during game play, which happened frequently with the iPhone 4. And of course we have IB 2 to look forward to . . .

    Finally, I cannot say enough about *finally* having enough space. With games getting bigger and bigger–as you note!–having 64 rather than 32 GB is a huge win. Riven is 1.2 GB. Myst is over 500 MB. Infinity Blade; Epoch; Dark Meadow; all are big, big games. And if you add in your full music library plus your movies and TV shows, well . . . I was constantly having to shift stuff off my iPhone 4, whereas now I have plenty of room. Huge win there, at least for me.

    Just a different angle on it all.

  • Julie November 19, 2011, 4:28 pm

    @Daniel You’re right… I wouldn’t feel as remorseful if I would have only had to pay $200. :)

  • andix November 19, 2011, 4:49 pm

    I had static, noise and echo on the 3Gs. Sometimes. I do get that on the 4s too, maybe a bit more often. Not sure if a deal breaker. For everything else – including the camera, because I’ll always be a photographer – I’m happy.
    Come to think that because of budget constraints I had to choose between a Fujifilm X100/X10 and this, the fact that I can whip the phone out and still get some decent photos without carrying yet another bag is quite satisfactory. I’m not a fan of shameless self-promotion but there’s a gallery of iphone photos on my website, if you click on my name.
    (And I WILL get the Fujifilm eventually. :) )

  • Julie November 19, 2011, 5:18 pm

    @andix Wonderful pictures! :)

  • The Slapster November 19, 2011, 8:32 pm

    I’m on an iPhone 4 now & had thought about the upgrade even though mine’s only about a year old, so I’d have to pay a little more I believe. Mostly it’s the better camera/video draw and of course the Siri hype are what almost sold me. (My camera suffers from the blue/green “hotspot” in a lot of images, it’s almost unusable in some situations.)

    I’ve held out so far, although my Wife was on a really horribly laggy 3G and is now taunting me with her 4s. That was a HUGE leap and she couldn’t be happier. I may hold out for a 5 unless AT&T offers an early upgrade deal soon.

  • Steve November 19, 2011, 11:00 pm

    It’s cool if you prefer the Verizon network, but Rocco is right, you would have noticed the faster speeds on AT&T because the phone runs on their HSPA+ network.

  • Ken Schoenberg November 20, 2011, 8:57 am

    @Andy – It is more than Eliza and Voice Recognition, but not all that much. If you read the other comments here you’ll see a lot of people lauding Siri for being able to dial a number while they’re driving or send a text with voice. That capability has been around for a long time.

    Siri, Jeannie, Eva, Vlingo are all pretty crude…Do they show potential…yes. But, there’s a lack of depth to their responses.
    Right now they all pretty much do:

    Question/Command – Direct Response. There’s little in the way of follow-up or logical next steps.

    Rather than try to write a story here perhaps I need to get Siri back for a bit and do a full review of the major voice apps.

    So, yes…Siri isn’t bad at voice recognition…all of the apps out there are getting pretty good at that. It’s what happens after that is very rudimentary.

  • Robert Grenader November 20, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Julie: Siri.
    Siri: Yes Julie, what can I do for you?
    Julie: Is it too geeky to talk to you in public?
    Siri: Yes Julie, you look like a dork asking your phone questions. Lets go to your car for some private time.

  • Julie November 20, 2011, 5:00 pm

    @Robert ;) It feels even worse when she tells me to go away and try again later. ;)

  • Ken Schoenberg November 20, 2011, 7:44 pm

    @Julie – I get that same response with no phone around…my wife provides it on a regular basis. You get used to it after a while.

  • Deni Tako November 22, 2011, 3:21 pm

    @ Andy – sorry to be late with this reply, but was traveling for work and AFK. I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my car, so I’m already aware of the limitations of pretty much everything. I have a great BT speakerphone and headset, which I switch between while one or the other charges.

    But, even in a silent room, Siri apparently cannot distinguish between SIX and SEX, and seems to be horny, because it always seems to think that I would like to have inappropriate relationships with my clients, and asks them if sex is ok. I gotta tell you, that would NOT go over well with my clients, even if I tried to explain that it was Siri who wants them and not actually ME.

    I’ve tried wired headsets, BT & just talking in a silent room, and Siri seems to get some things right, but mangles enough that there is no real way to use it where I really need it – in my car. It’s ok for reading me messages, but she can’t distinguish enough to really get a full reply done, and I still have to pull on to the shoulder to get a professional reply completed. I have trouble with my eyes, and I can’t read a text on the screen while I’m driving, so it DOES help alot to be able to hear the messages and know which I need to respond to, so it’s worth it for that alone, but the replies really don’t work for me.

  • yadan December 24, 2011, 11:32 am

    I am currently using a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc LT15a, but I’ll be switching to the 4S in short order, and here’s why: Google.
    As you all know, Google developed Android, and all these phones work only through Google’s Android market.
    Anyone who’s ever tried opening an account with Google, tried to contact Google for support or attempted to download anything from its Android market will understand why I’m switching. Google constantly rejects valid credit cards and makes it virtually impossible to switch to others; it presents a never-ending maze of forms with cryptic items. It is one frustrating, no-exit battle after another. Despite being a person with above-average intelligence, I have still not succeeded in downloading Google Apps for Business so that I could replace the useless schedule app on the Xperia. Enough.
    One would think that a megacorporation such as Google would offer proper support as well as easy access to its products. Forget it!

    I have read many comments on the shortcomings of the 4S, but I’m convinced it cannot be that much less cost-efficient than Android’s current flagship, the Galaxy Nexus. And whatever problems there could be working with Apple’s apps, they couldn’t be as foreboding as those connected with Google, the most user-unfriendly outfit I’ve ever come across, a haven for diehard masochists.

  • yadan December 24, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Another thing I wanted to get off my chest:
    The computer/PDA/Smartphone industry has basically left business users behind in the dust; they are concerned chiefly with style, speed, memory and media, because that’s what most buyers are concerned about.
    But business users need more connectivity, easier input, more efficient schedualing and the like.

    I sympathize with those who criticize the shortcomings of the Siri voice command app. Rather than being a cute gimmick, voice command should have been by now (and even 5 years ago) a highly developed, intuitive tool for managing all PDA functions with no problems of voice recognition. Smartphone input is still primitive and cumbersome compared to what it should be at present, and scheduling is no better.
    It is sadly ironic that the best scheduling app ever developed for a PDA came out in the late 1990’s – nearly 10 years ago – for the Psion 5mx and Psion (Symbian) NetBook. Instead of getting more efficient, scheduling functions have gone downhill; they aren’t even mentioned in any of the smartphone reviews.

    All or this reminds me of the energy situation in the U.S.; Americans have been bantering about ‘alternate forms of energy’ for the past 30 or so years, but have done practically nothing about them- chiefly because they don’t really give a damn.
    Likewise, PDA manufacturers have been continuing in one limited direction since, when it comes to the serious PDA user, they too don’t really give a damn.

  • Qwert January 1, 2012, 6:45 pm

    Disappointed with the 4s. I’m in Australia and the reason I got it was because apple advertised Siri and how it can find local businesses, restaurants and shops for you. That feature isn’t available in OZ and I wish apple had’ve said that before I bought it. I feel ripped off and disappointed.

  • Andy Simmons January 1, 2012, 7:29 pm

    @Qwert: Actually, I believe that Apple did state up-front that certain features of Siri were available only in the US for now. At the very least, that information has been on the Apple website ever since the iPhone 4S was announced. From http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/siri-faq.html :

    “Siri can also assist you using these apps and services in the U.S. in English:

    * Maps

    * Local search with Yelp!”

  • Kwen February 24, 2012, 5:55 am

    From your Modern Combat screens it hightlights the ‘yellowgate’ issue. The yellow hue ‘defect’ of the iPhone 4S. The sky is nowhere near as blue as the original iPhone 4.

  • Mel March 26, 2012, 12:24 pm

    Hi Julie! I recognize the picture above as a recent pic from Columbus Regional Hospital. Are you a fellow hoosier?

  • Julie March 26, 2012, 12:32 pm

    @Mel I sure am :) Born and bred here in Columbus, IN. Do you live in Columbus too?

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