iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Reuters

If you count the negatives, there are a lot of reasons why Apple iPhone 4S would look unappealing. The geeks have raised many complaints about the latest iteration of Apple iPhone.

The major grouses are: (1) It doesn't sport a 1.2 dual core processor, but has only dual core 1GHz, which is going out of fashion, (2) the display size is just the same as iPhone 4 whereas competitors have gone ahead with much larger displays, (3) despite having HD recording and 8 megapixels, the camera features have not dealt a killer blow to rival handsets and (4) there is no 4G LTE, no NFC and no user replaceable battery.

But in fact, iPhone 4S has inherent strengths that make it appealing. And then there are some practical reasons why an upgrade now would make a lot of sense.

First the practicalities involved: If someone is not impressed with the new iPhone, whose major inadequacy is that it retains the shell of the previous iteration, they can wait for iPhone 5. iPhone 5, or whatever Apple calls the next device, will be a totally revamped model sporting drastic design changes. But then that phone will not arrive earlier than the second half of 2012. Probably 2012 Developer Conference in June? Not sure, but not earlier than that. After launching an almost new phone with a posse of software upgrades, will Apple undercut it just months down the line? No chance, and Apple fans would scream blue murder if it did anything to cannibalize a model.

What Does iPhone 4S Offer?

iPhone 4S is not the iPhone 5 that took shape in the rumor mill, but it's not a lesser device for that reason.
It does feature some important specs attributed to the imaginary iPhone 5, like 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, an Apple A5 chipset and an 8-megapixel camera. It also has features like a 3.5-inch TFT Retina multi-touch display and is loaded with the latest Apple operating system iOS 5.

Sporting a high-speed download packet access (HSDPA) technology, the iPhone 4S will have data download speed that is nearly twice as fast as the iPhone 4. However, missing prominently were specs like edge-to-edge design, larger display, 4G LTE and NFC.
It also comes with alternating antennae for better call reception, CDMA and GSM support, while a more prominent feature is the voice-activated personal assistant called Siri. And then, the iCloud rollout allows users to access their music, photos, apps, contacts, calendars, documents via the Web and sync them across their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC.

The Apple smartphone has a Li-Po 1,420 mAh battery, with 8 hours of talk time on 3G networks and up to 14 hours on 2G networks (GSM). Above all, it runs on iOS 5, the latest version of the famed Apple operating system now revamped with as many as 200 new features.


With a two-year contract, the iPhone 4S costs $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model. Apple-listed prices for a contract-free phone in the United States are $649 for the 16GB model, $749 for 32GB and $849 for the 64GB.

For some quick comparison, here are the prices of some of the Android OS-based rivals that are touted to offer tough challenge to iPhone 4S: Motorola Droid Bionic is available for $299 on a new two-year contract with Verizon or $599 at full retail. The Motorola Photon 4G, available on Sprint, is priced at $199 with a two-year contract.

Who Would Likely Buy?

The most likely class of people who would go for iPhone 4S is the iPhone 3GS ownership club. Some smartphone users tied with Android OS-based devices or Windows phones could also consider switching to iPhone 4S, according to analysts. Of course, some Android-based phone users already enjoy bigger screens and fancier specs, but then who knows?

According to telecom analyst, Foad Fadaghi, the demand is driven mainly by loyal Apple customers, and not by any massive exodus from Android phone owners. While the 4S might not win over non-Apple users that are waiting for unique features or design, demand from existing users is enough to make it a top selling smartphone in 2011, he told smarthouse.com.au.

There are some who think iPhone 4S doesn't necessarily pluck people out of their iPhone 4, despite the huge difference between the two phones. One big improvement in iPhone 4S is its speed. Equipped with Apple's A5 processor, the new iteration is about 70 percent faster than iPhone 4. But some say the speed is not of great significance. If you already own an iPhone 4, there is not much to interest you at all. The speed bump which will only be visible in very hardware intensive apps is not a big reason to upgrade, wrote Arba Hana on cmvlive.com.

New Sales Record?

According to pre-order estimates, iPhone 4S is racing to a sales record. Apple said it has got more than a million pre-orders for the iPhone 4S in a single day, toppling the previous record of 600,000 set by the iPhone 4 last year.

According to Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets, Apple could sell around 3 million in its first weekend, AppleInsider reported.
The early sales figures suggest Apple could surpass a previous prediction of 25 million units sold during the holiday quarter that ends with December, said analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray.

Apple will begin delivering iPhone 4S on Oct. 14.