Forget the Hype: 10 Defects of Apple iPhone 4S That You Overlooked

  on October 20 2011 11:51 AM

Apple Inc. received overwhelming positive responses for iPhone 4S but there are some technical defects the users have experienced recently.

Apple sold 4 million units of iPhone 4S during the opening weekend. The smartphone comes in either black or white and features some important upgrades that were rumored to be a part of the imaginary iPhone 5.

The main features that adorn iPhone 4S are: 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, an Apple A5 chipset, an 8-megapixel LED-flash camera with 1080p HD video recording and a secondary VGA front-facing camera for video chat.

Apple's latest smartphone also has a 3.5-inch TFT Retina multi-touch display and is loaded with Apple's latest operating system, iOS 5. In addition, the phone comes with alternating antennae for better call reception, CDMA and GSM support, a personal assistant called Siri, iCloud and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.

Despite releasing the imaginary iPhone 5, Apple released iPhone 4S that initially received overwhelming responses from the general public.

But after a week's time, iPhone 4S users were experiencing some major technical difficulties such as screen quality, Siri, camera, download speeds, fragile glass back, activation process delay, battery life, App incompatibilities, steadiness, and sneaky iPhone.

Let's take an elaborate look at the technical difficulties faced by users of iPhone 4S.

Screen Quality

Users have reported a jaundice screen in their iPhone 4S with the screen being more washed out than previous iPhone versions. The iPhone 4S users were seeing a yellowish tint in the screen that supposedly affects the whole display and gives everything a washed out appearance when compared to the iPhone 4. It seems the yellow issue is more predominant in black versions of the phone than white ones.

It was not the same problem as the yellow discoloration that appeared with the iPhone 4. According to TUAW, the yellow discoloration was caused by glue used in the manufacturing process and went away once the glue dried.

Though, it appears that the problem of iPhone 4S is somewhat different, the yellow encompass the whole screen and not in few places, which appeared on older models. The problem has already been dubbed 'Yellowgate' that echoes from Apple's Antennagate losing signals issues.

Siri

The groundbreaking application Siri is now highly criticized for its language bias and security flaws. Some users were experiencing connection issues with Siri.

Service disruptions occur when Siri gets bogged down by large volumes of voice data coming from millions of users. But Business Insider's Ellis Hamburger discovered that turning Siri off, resetting network settings and turning Siri back on seems to work.

The revolutionary voice-recognition feature is reportedly found to be highly partial and obedient to the English speakers in the United States. According to Apple, Siri can handle any simple tasks done in only five languages: U.S. English, U.K. English, Australian English, French, and German.

But to make Siri work in its full potential, one needs to master the art of American English and to locate a place, one has to be in the U.S. as it seems that Siri works best only with people who speak the American English and, that too, when they are in the U.S.

Users were also experiencing Siri's hilarious replies and not adjusting to all speech-patterns. So, Siri will still expect the person to be slow while giving commands. It often fails to perform lengthy tasks and inserts wrong contacts.

There are more of security issues with regard to Siri as it takes commands from anyone even if the phone has been locked by the user. The issue, however, has a relatively easy fix as explained by Sophos' senior technology consultant Graham Cluley: Enter 'Settings/General/Passcode Lock' on your iPhone 4S, and make sure that the 'Siri' option is set to 'Off'. That way Siri cannot be used when the smartphone is locked with a passcode.

The word Siri itself has baffled and offended the Japanese and Georgian users. In Japanese, Siri, which sound like shiri, means buttocks. In the Georgian language, it refers to a vulgar way of referring to penis. This raises serious allegation and questions about Apple's negligence to translate the word before releasing iPhone 4S.

Camera

The camera of iPhone 4S had a much faster shutter speed than the previous versions but users are still experiencing slow shutters and even stuck shutters. Restarting the phone resolves the stuck shutters.

The slow shutters issue isn't with the camera which can take great photos but with shutter itself which some users report won't open after the camera function is launched. The Huffington Post warned that the infamously-slow iPhone camera shutter appears to be victimizing more would-be photographers on the iPhone 4S.

According to a user post in Apple Support Communities, I noticed this from when I got it Friday. I was worried at first, but then I talked to the Genius Bar. The guy said my camera was a little bit more loose than normal. So I got a replacement, and the rattle is the same. Just a common trend in all iPhones I guess. No worries people.

Download Speeds

The 4S will run on AT&T's HSPA+ network, which means download speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps, and uploads reaching 5.8 Mbps. In Sprint network, the average download speeds range from 400 to 700 Kbps with peak rates up to 2 Mbps.

According to Huffington Post, AT&T customers reported widespread difficulty in activating their iPhone 4S's during the opening weekend. Reports varied as to whose fault it was -- whether the AT&T network couldn't handle the heavy load of activations, or if an Apple system issue caused the trouble. Many AT&T customers had a rocky first few days with their new iPhones.

MacRumors points to a thread on the Sprint community Web site overrun by Sprint customers complaining about slow 3G speeds with their iPhone 4Ss. Sprint has responded with a public statement denying this is the case.

Since Sprint is the latest carrier to join the iPhone fray, they are bound to have some issues early on, much like Verizon and AT&T experienced. In addition, users were experiencing dropping network and data at random.

Fragile Glass Back

iPhone 4S comes with rehashed glass slab design that has already proven both beautiful and reasonably practical. The user might need a case to both protect the rear glass and give the phone some extra grip.

Added to this, case makers were happier that iPhone 4S looks similar to iPhone 4. Hence existing iPhone 4 cases seemed to work just fine with the new model.

However, Apple had made a small but somewhat crucial design change in iPhone 4S: it moved the ambient-light sensor a few millimeters to the left, according to CNET.

The ambient-light sensor adjusts the brightness according to the ambient lighting conditions when in auto-brightness mode. When the case blocks the sensor of the new phone, the sensor thinks the phone is in a darkened room and automatically dims the screen to look less blinding and save battery life, according to CNET.

Activation Process Delay

Due to iOS 5, the activation process doesn't need a computer. But when millions of users are trying to activate their iPhone 4S on the same day, the activations remained pending or became unavailable. The servers were simply overloaded, in a repeat of issues that have plagued previous launch days.

Battery Life

The most persistent complaint from users is that the battery life of iPhone 4S is quite poor compared to its previous version. Although users are suggesting that iOS 5 has also had a negative effect on power usage on other iDevices, it is the new Apple phone that is attracting the most frustration.

According to Apple, iPhone 4S is stated to have 200 hours standby time when compared to 300 hours standby time of iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4S's jump to a faster processor and more efficient computation puts pressure on its batteries. Even though voice calling battery life has been improved, some have reported battery drain over short periods of time.

Most of the users are complaining in the Apple Support Communities regarding the battery getting drained off quickly. Another user suggested that try deleting the mail accounts, reset the phone and add the accounts back again might help. This is because some mail get struck and try connecting to the server over and over again causing the battery drain, according to user Ingo2711 in Apple Support Communities.

App Incompatibilities

There were some users complaining of apps reportedly getting crashed when running on iOS 5. Apps need to run properly on multiple iPhone models running different versions of iOS with different hardware. But an app misses to run once in a while.

If the application is worth installing, the users can be sure that the developer will step up and correct the problems in a future release, making the app fully compatible with iOS 5 on the iPhone 4S.

Steadiness

A lot has been written about the red hot battle between smartphone giants Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4S. However, the battle of wits took a turn when two were dragged to a brutal, unforgiving drop test.

The two warring smartphones were dropped thrice - first from waist-high, second time from the shoulder level, and the third was a face down drop.

Though iPhone 4S was not highly damaged after the first two drops, the glass casing of the phone was completely shattered when it was dropped face down.

While there was no clear winner in several rounds of comparisons by experts, Samsung Galaxy S2 virtually overtook iPhone 4S in the drop test.

Galaxy S2 stood the clear winner in the drop test, wrapped all around with plastic and Corning Gorilla Glass on the front. It remained scratch-less at the end of the test.

Sneaky iPhone

According to the New Scientist, the motion sensors inside an iPhone to read keystrokes doesn't recognize the vibrations of particular individual keys, but for consecutive pairs of keystrokes it can tell whether the keys are on the left or right of the keyboard and how close together they are.

Patrick Traynor and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta found 80 percent accuracy in motion sensing keystrokes from a keyboard 5 centimetres away.

This kind of eavesdropping was already possible by monitoring the sound of typing, but apps are not normally allowed to access a handset's microphone without the user's permission. Motion sensors are less well protected, in part because it was assumed they couldn't be used maliciously. That would make it easy for a hacker to hide a monitoring system inside an innocent-looking app, according to the New Scientist.

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