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iPhone 4S : Features, Review & More

In this post, I will discuss the important features of iPhone 4S. Last Tuesday, 4th Oct ’11 Apple announced the much awaited upgrade to iPhone, iPhone 4, It may look exactly like iPhone 4, but inside it is radically different with faster CPU, better camera, dual antennas, CDMA/ GSM support and a better battery. It runs on iOS 5 with more than 200 new features and to top it all a game changing feature called Siri. Well, Apple could have called it iPhone 5 to satisfy many but rather stick with their naming convention, iPhone 4S, “S” stands for speed, or who knows, may be Steve, as a tribute to him.

It is disappointing to see that Tech Press could not see the virtues of iPhone 4S as they wanted to see a phone based on rumors, based on their wish list with a different look, larger screen like any other companies / engineers like us will normally think. Sometimes I feel calling it iPhone 5 itself may satisfy manyL. As we know Apple steered by Steve is different which focus solely on user experience and he was known for cutting features his engineers proposes to make it simpler, less confusing and “it just works”. Based on the past experience of how tech press reacted at the time of iPad launch “as a larger iPhone” I know that they are wrong. Apple has sold out its pre-order quota of iPhone 4S within 12 hours of announcement and sold 1 million within 24 hours of launch. It is going to reach Apple stores by 14th and is expected to reach India by Dec 2011. But I am sure that after people play with it for one week iPhone 4S it will become of smashing hit by word of mouth and tech press will take a U turn.

There are already signs of U turn by the Tech press, now there are so many articles available in the net why Apple is sticking with 3.5” instead of 4” screen and why it is 4S not 5 etc.. 3.5” is attributed to usability, Apple wants iPhone to be one hand device so every part of the screen should be reached with thump while holding it. It won’t be possible with 4” Galaxy II. It seems Apple does not want to disappoint its users with an yearly launch of new iPhone since the contract is for 2 years. So the argument is that if somebody buy an iPhone at the launch, radically new phone will be ready when the 2 years contract expires. It is true if you stick with iPhone 3, 4,5 etc or start with 3S, 4S, then 5S . Apple is expected to stick with yearly upgrade and launch of new design iPhone at every 2 years. More over all Android users ( I bought both iPhone 4 and Google Nexus S) know that it is frustrating to see the launch of a radically new Android Phone every 3 months L

Let us see in details some of new features in iPhone 4S.

1. Better Phone Calls and download speeds

iPhone 4S is a much better for making phone calls compared to iPhone 4. It is a World Phone with support for both CDMA and GSM.
  1. Dual Antenna for better reception, so antenna gate will be thing of past.
  2. With Siri, you can talk to the phone “call home” or “call mom” to make a call. It is totally different from the existing voice control we are all familiar with. Siri uses Natural Language, English.
  3. It does not support 4G (no LTE) but supports faster download speeds with 14.4mpbs using HSDPA
  4. Additional microphone helps in noise cancellation (it is available in iPhone 4 too). So you can make clear calls even in a crowded market and it controls volume depends on the ambient noise
2. Built in new Camera, challenges the best point & shoot cameras.

It has an 8 mega pixel camera with better optics and faster performance. This coupled with faster CPU and smart software processing results in gorgeous looking pictures which challenges every point and Shoot Cameras.

The camera function is available in the lock screen itself (iOS 5 feature) so you can capture any scene immediately you take out the phone. The volume + button acts as the click button so it is similar to a point and shoot camera but much faster thanks to the dual core CPU in iPhone 4S. It allows more light to let in with larger aperture f/2.4 so photos look brighter and vibrant. The innovative backside illumination sensor helps in adjusting the exposure depending scene brightness. This helps in taking better pictures in dimly light as well as bright lighting conditions. The LED flash will kick in when it is needed. Its face recognition feature is similar to point and shoot cameras. It comes with a 5 element lens system.

You can edit the photos taken then and there in the phone itself. You can crop, rotate and enhance the image, do red eye correction. Using built in HDR iPhone 4S (it is available in iPhone 4 too) captures three photos from that one shot, each with a different exposure level. Then it layers the shots together to create a single photo that combines the best parts of each shot. The wide range of light is more accurate in an HDR photo. And iPhone saves both the original and the HDR photo in your Camera Roll. You can clearly see the difference.

Photos you have taken will be stored in Photo stream in iCloud so it is immediately available in all your devices, iPad, iPod Touch, MAC or PC. No need to copy the photos. Using Apple TV you can see it directly in your TV too using Airplay feature. If you wish, you can directly connect your phone to TV too using an HDMI cable with an adaptor.

iPhone 4S excels in recording video too with 1080P resolution. It has a built in image stabilization so that the videos will not be shaky. You can edit the videos directly in the phone using iMovie and share it with your friends directly from phone. You can play the video in a TV using Airplay.

3. Best portable gaming device

It uses faster A5 processor used in iPad2 which enables faster response and better graphics combined with retina display makes iPhone 4S the best portable gaming device. The Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita are trying hard to steal away Apple's newfound crown. The demonstration of Epic Games’ Infinity Blade 2 revealed the graphics capabilities of iPhone 4S.

 4. Siri – Now you can talk to the phone

The most important feature is Siri the phone assistant. Now you can talk to the Phone. We all know talking to something to get things done is most natural to us. I expect this will revolutionize mobile phones again like what iPhone multi touch did in 2007. Siri stands out from the existing speech recognition software we are familiar, it understands natural English language so that you can talk to your phone like you talk to your assistant. Siri always responds with a meaningful answer. You can use Siri for finding out the nearest restaurant or petrol bunk, make calls, schedule meetings, set reminders etc.. During the weekend when you come out of party if you are bit confused you can ask Siri “Where is my home?" Siri will take over from there. It is already tested by many for UK English and US English and found to be working. So let us hope it will work for Indian English too. To be fair do not expect it to be perfect, after all Apple is calling it as Siri Beta. Apple is betting on Siri the most natural interface.


You can talk to Siri as you would to a person. Say something like “Tell my wife I’m running late.” “Remind me to call the vet.” “Any good burger joints around here?” And Siri answers you. It does what you say and finds the information you need. And then it hits you. You’re actually having a conversation with your iPhone. It is smart enough to understand what you mean. Siri is aware of your location (GPS and maps), aware of your contacts (contact list ), time etc.. It gives a meaningful solution using all these knowledge. So it is a true assistant.

Thanks to Siri you can reply to very urgent mails while driving. iPhone 4S supports dictation. You can talk to the phone for sending an email instead of typing. Dictation works with third party apps too.


5. It runs on iOS 5.0

iOS 5.0 has more than 200 new features which were announced by Steve himself in June. Some of the important additions are notification center, imessage and reminders

a. Notification center

This is a much improved from the iOS 4 notification system which will pop up and annoys you. It’s the one place where you’ll see what’s up. iPhone works with your apps to let you know about missed messages, calendar invitations, friend requests, and more. New notifications appear discreetly at the top of your screen. And you can see a summary of recent notifications when you swipe down from the top of any screen

b. iMessage

It is like Blackberry Messenger service. You can send messages, including multimedia messages between any iOS devices. It does not need SMS support of your carrier and works over Wi-Fi networks. You can ever talk to your phone “Honey I am on my way” and Siri will write the message and send it to your wife!

c. Reminders

With iCloud reminders are all over your iOS devices. So it is easy to tract them. See the picture above for a view.

d. Twitter integration

You can tweet right across all the applications. With iOS 5 you can take better photos and edit it using your mobile.

6. iCloud

iCloud integration is one of the most import feature of iOS 5. iCloud enable us to sync photos, documents, music, books, apps, etc. across all the iOS devices. You can also seamlessly sync mails, contacts, calendar etc across all devices.

Photo Stream

Once you snap any Photos it will be stored in Photo stream which is in the cloud and immediately available in all iOS devices using Wi-Fi.

Documents in Cloud

“And now with iCloud, you can keep your work up to date across all your iOS devices. You don’t have to save your work or transfer any files. Your documents — with all your latest edits — automatically appear everywhere. iCloud is already built into Apple iOS apps like Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. It can also work with other iCloud-enabled apps. So you can do things like create a spreadsheet on your iPad and make edits to it on your iPhone. Or start sketching on your iPod touch and add the finishing touches on your iPad at home.” Apple says.

7. Find my Friends

This is a very interesting feature. With Find My Friends, you can choose to temporarily share your location with a group of people. It’s perfect for a weekend camping trip or a day at the amusement park. Share locations for a couple of hours — or a couple of weeks. When the trip is over, the sharing ends, too.

You can put on and off the feature of sharing your location with your friends at your wish. If you want little privacy just flip the switch to off. It allows parental control to override the settings.

8. Backup your data

iCloud backups your iOS device daily over Wifi when it is connected to a power source.

There are many other interesting features which is not discussed here. So in short I can very well say iPhone 4S is not just an improvement over iPhone 4 but a solid upgrade. If Siri works the way Apple wanted it to be, then iPhone 4 S will break all sales records.

iPod Nano 6G

Along with iPhone 4S Apple launched iPod nano 6G which can be wearable like watch (with accessories) and comes with 16 clock faces , apart from the usual iPod functionalities.

A Tribute to Steve Jobs

We all know that Steve Jobs is no more. Most of us came to know about his death through one of the devices he created, either iPhone or iPad. Bill Gates put computers in every desktop whereas Steve put computers in every one’s pocket! He is the modern day Leonardo Da Vinci (the most versatile genius ever born), Jobs made his mark on technology, business, movies, music etc.. he is the modern day Michel Angelo who combined art with technology. He touched the lives of millions of people with his unique creations. As Obama said “Steve was brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.” With his absence the World won’t be same again.