I read through the Apple press materials following the iPhone 4S and iCloud services launch the other day. There was a lot of disappointment out there when the phone revealed wasn’t a massive step-change forward which is probably massively unfair for example Carnegie Mellon University professor or computer science David Farber posted the following message on his Interesting People mailing list:
After yesterday’s announcement by apple I decided to explore changing phones and/or carriers. I am specifically interested in the most advanced smartphone with “4G” capability.
Having done my own research, I ended up coming away with questions rather than forming opinions.
Firstly, iCloud; I read and saw nothing that altered my initial perceptions and concerns when I wrote about the service back in June. So rather than repeating myself it is easier to link out to my earlier post.
As for the iPhone 4S itself; the updates to the device compared to the iPhone 4, felt as much about feature catch-up as about innovation. The improved camera matched features in top of the line Nokia and Samsung phones. The much-lauded speech recognition application Siri was as much about matching the voice activated features in Android software.
Unlike many online who were looking for a new thinner form factor, I was glad that the new phone kept the iPhone 4 size as there is already an unhealthy focus on size zero design at the expense of battery life, product performance and ergonomic design.
When Steve Jobs talked about the transition to Intel processors for the Macintosh product range, the rationale was mostly around a new focus on processors moving from computing power to computing power per Watt. I’d like to know what effect that Apple’s new electronics design for the iPhone 4S has on power consumption and battery life. Does the faster video transitions come at the expense of usability due to declining battery life?
Only time will tell if the aerial changes and new electronics have improved the iPhone performance in areas such as call quality and dropped calls. After the initial rush to buy from completists and early adopters the word-of-mouth around these issues are going to be important for iPhone sales.