As expected, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S today. The news was underwhelming and disappointing to many who were also expecting an iPhone 5. There's also the fact that the iPhone 4S looks almost identical to the iPhone 4. However, there's more than meets the eye, as Apple made a number of changes under the hood to improve on performance, including a faster processor, a more advanced camera, and a new antenna design. In addition, Apple expanded its family to include Sprint and a 64GB model (finally!).
Processor and battery life
The iPhone 4S features Apple's A5 dual-core 1GHz processor along with a dual-core GPU. Apple says the new chipset will make the iPhone 4S twice as fast and offer graphics performance that is seven times faster than the iPhone 4's. Despite the more powerful processor, the company claims the smartphone will be able to provide 8 hours of talk time over 3G, 14 hours over 2G, 6 hours of browsing over 3G, 9 hours via Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback, and 40 hours of music playback.
The performance upgrades are indeed welcome. We're never ones to pass up more speed in a mobile device, and if Apple can make that happen without hampering battery life, then all the better. The promised times are impressive, but manufacturer promises can be just that. Though the Samsung Epic Touch 4G and Motorola Droid Bionic had rated talk times of 8 hours and 10.8 hours, respectively, they actually lasted a less stellar 7 hours each in CNET's lab tests.
During our brief demonstration of the iPhone 4S, the handset did operate smoothly and speedily. We weren't able to test it against the iPhone 4 in a side-by-side comparison to notice exactly how much of a boost the new A5 chip offers, but a change for the better is definitely there.