My iPhone4S after 3 weeks

I had an iPhone 3GS for 2+ years and for a short time while still at AOL, I had an iPhone4.  When I turned in my AOL iPhone4 in December, I decided to grin and bear it until the next iPhone came out.  So was my game plan of waiting worth the wait?

There is no discernable difference between iPhone4 and iPhone4S on the surface, however, it only takes a few minutes of using the phone to know there have been some important improvements.

  • The connection speed is much faster.  Loading webpages, getting email, it’s all just much faster.
  • Getting my location is much faster, so loading Google Maps, Foursquare, Facebook Places, just works so much better.
  • The camera rules.  From videos to pictures, the quality of photos I am taking now with the iPhone is as good as my point and shoot.  Take a look for yourself:

Sunset with the iPhone 3

Sunrise with the iPhone4S

Here are some of the things that have not won me over yet:

  • While everyone is fawning over Siri, I have not really used it.  I think it has tremendous potential, especially once application developers can start fully taking advantage of it.
  • iCloud works, but it does not feel like a finished Apple product.  I can’t see what photos have synced via a web page and overall managing what is being synced between my 4+ devices was not as easy as it could be.
  • I had to do a full restore on my wife’s phone because every time we loaded a photo album the app would crash.  We could not delete the photos, nor could we restore from a backup.  The full restore seems to fix thing.

Moving from iPhone3 or 3GS to iPhone4S is a no brainer, but I would definitely hold off on moving from the iPhone4 to iPhone4S.  The camera, Siri and the better speed is not worth the upgrade in my opinion.

Oh the humanity…iPhone5 is actually called iPhone4S, Why does it matter?

I have read at least a dozen different blog posts in the last hour from different sources about how Apple let us down today with iPhone4S.  Please, can we stop this?  Yesterday I wrote that Apple was going to call the next version iPhone4S, and that was just fine with me.

Of course after today’s reaction, Apple should have called the phone iPhone5 or iPhone10.  The point is version numbers of a product are always blown out of proportion.  It reminds me of the book and movie The Right Stuff, when Chuck Yeager broke Scott Crossfield’s speed record of Mach 2.0 by flying at Mach 2.44, no one cared because the “media likes a nice round number.”

Enough, let’s move past this.  The new iPhone is significant and despite what the media thinks, the phone is going to be the most popular mobile device sold in the 4th quarter. Here are my favorite features from today’s announcement:

  • Siri is going to be awesome to try.  I am skeptical that any voice recognition will work well, but the demo I got of Siri previous to today was better than any other attempt.  When I have seen people use voice recognition software in the past, they change the way they talk, to sound like a robot almost to interface with the device, but Siri is definitely different.
  • The camera rules, and the apps that go with the camera make it as good or better than point and shoot cameras.  The cold/warm start times to get the camera loaded for a picture is very impressive too.
  • More power and more speed for applications to use and for users to access information across the net.  Though it was disappointing that Apple did not deliver a 4G/LTE iPhone.
  • Most people will say the find your friends feature is lame and that Foursquare, Facebook and others have this market cornered, but the truth is that I might use this feature more for knowing where my friends and family are when they are running late or where my wife is when we go to a shopping mall.
I think there is a difference between pleasing the media versus getting consumers excited.  Apple will always focus on the latter and that should be applauded.  When people walk into the Apple store and when they see their friends using the new iPhone,  they are going to want one.

The next iPhone is going to look like iPhone4 and that is a good thing

Tomorrow, Apple is going to release the next version of the iPhone, it will be called iPhone4S, and it will have the same form factor as the current iPhone.  I am not sure why this is a surprise to anyone?

If you believe Chinese iPhone case manufacturers, they think the next iPhone will have a teardrop design, but there is tons of evidence pointing to this being incorrect.  I even wonder if the images of these cases are actually for iPodTouch.  John Gruber has a great take on the teardrop skepticism.

The guts of the phone have definitely improved, faster processor, better camera, an option for 64GBs, and support for 4th Generation (4G/LTE) networks that AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have been building out so quickly this summer.

One of the nicer features we are getting with the next version of iOS is the ability to take a picture with the volume button on the side of the phone.  I am pretty sure the teardrop design will render this feature useless.

So why is everyone going to freak out when Apple calls this an iPhone 4S, instead of 5?  The phone is going to be a significant step forward but people are caught up by the look and feel and the silly version number.  People think it’s not cool to have a new device if the outside is undistinguishable from the previous version.  It makes it harder to show it off as a status symbol.  Sometimes consumers drive me batty!  :-)

I think we are all missing the real point, we are getting a new phone that will run iOS5 which is a superior operating system to iOS4, and depending on your view an OS with tight integration with both Twitter and Facebook.  And who can forget about iCloud, Music Match and the magazine store front.  Tomorrow’s announcement is going to be huge, I just hope Tim Cook and others can fend off the criticism if the phone looks the same.