With the news of an iPhone 5 on the way it was surprising to hear Apple fans were disappointed when they heard the newest release from Apple was going to be the iPhone 4S. We figured we wanted to get a taste anyway and decided to go to our local cell phone provider to pick one up. All we have noticed is that Apple fans can’t be that disappointed as it took 2 weeks to arrive and we had to order it as there was no stock in the stores. After we received it we figured we would hook it up to our Mac Mini to provision the device for XCode and development uses on an iOS Development 101 series but that is for another post. Want to know what we think of the iPhone 4S then hop past the break to find out!
Weighing in at only 4.9 ounces this is a relatively light device as far as smartphones go. We don’t mean to sound like a wrestling announcer but the size of this device is quite quaint compared to what we have reviewed before. With a height of 4.5 inches (115.2mm), a width of 2.31 (58.6mm) inches and is only 0.37 inches (9.3mm) wide this is a sleek device encased in aluminosilicate glass which is just normal glass doped with aluminum oxides to make it stronger and more scratch-resistant than normal glass. On the right hand side is the micro-sim card slot where we can insert any carriers micro-sim card. On the left hand side is the volume up and down buttons and the silencer slider. The top of the device is home to the power button and the 3.5mm headphone jack. The bottom of the device has the 2 side speakers and the charging/sync port to connect to the device. All of this together makes a sleek device to carry around and develop on.
The software that comes packaged on the iPhone 4S is the iOS 5 and once the device is on will ask you to upgrade 5.0.1 which fixes some issues with the software and battery management. With the new iOS 5 update comes some pretty awesome features. Some of these include a new notification centre that can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screens device, as well as application management and application switching by double tapping the home button. As well, this feature also houses the volume and music controls by swiping left to right on the screen. The best feature of all for an iPhone 4S would have to be Siri. Siri is a piece of voice recognition software that is used to serve your every need. While its location based features are not fleshed out for Canada it can handle some other nifty things. For example we wanted it to remind us to wake up and set an alarm for 5am, no problem. We also wanted to know how many calories in a doughnut, no problem. This feature has made the iPhone 4S somewhat more desirable as it does not come packaged with the iOS 5 update for the iPhone 4. With all of these new features there will be advantages and new venues for developers to use when coding such as the notification centre.
With the iPhone 4S sporting the retina display just like the iPhone 4 there is only clarity to boast about. We found that comparing an older iPhone or the LG E900 Windows Phone against the iPhone 4S was like night and day. We enjoy being able to see every pixel, whether we manipulate it when developing or not, and the iPhone 4S allowed us to do this with ease. We found that the applications we developed that used small images presented within UIWebViews also showed up surprisingly well. Either the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 4S would be good for development if clarity is what your looking for.
It seems that this is not the area that the iPhone 4S is lacking. We have only seem one other camera from a recent lineup of smartphones that compares to the iPhone 4S camera capabilities and that was the HTC Titan X310e. We greatly enjoyed using the 8MP camera shooting 720p videos and images that were crystal clear. See below for some sample shots from the iPhone 4S camera.
Unlike the iPhone 4, we found that we could hold the iPhone 4S anyway we wanted and we experienced no loss of bars. We death-gripped the device and even smothered it with two hands and still received no loss of signal. Whatever was going on with the iPhone 4 it has definitely not transitioned to the 4S. Call quality was exceptional with no dropped calls or glitches whatsoever. We also found that people who sounded quieter on other smartphone did not sound so on this device as we could crank the volume up and hear them clearly on the 4S. Overall, the connectivity of the device was exceptional and the iPhone 4S is recommended for iOS development uses.
Battery life is something that users are constantly trying to combat and squeeze the last 4% of battery life out of there devices to try and finish the work day. We found that we could use the device for a whole day, have several email accounts hooked up and use Facebook and Twitter religiously throughout the day and still have more than 50% of our battery to play games on the way home from work. With a built in lithium-ion battery the talk time will last up to 8 hours on 3G and 14 hours on the EDGE network. Standby is around 8 days or 200 hours. This device, among a couple others, should be the bar for which devices strive to reach in the sense of battery power management.
With all of these desirable features rolled into one sleek device it is no wonder we had so much trouble acquiring a device for ourselves. For developers it is best to pick up an iPhone 4S over the iPhone 4 as the newest iOS updates will continue to be applied to the device as well as you get the benefit of Siri looking after you by setting reminders and the like. The iPhone 4S may not be what people were expecting for the iPhone 5 but here at Binary Wasteland we approve of this device and will wait until next year for the iPhone 5 and possibly pick one up for ourselves. Until the next review, Happy Hacking!