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What You Need to Know About the iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S

Any time Apple announces an “event” about its devices, the tech media (including me!) seems to wait with bated breath. Apple is powerful like that. Yesterday’s announcement was no different. While many were expecting the highly anticipated iPhone 5, fanboys and fangirls around the world were disappointed to hear about the launch of the iPhone 4S instead. But as Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” 

The hardware may be the same, but the insides have gotten a major overhaul. Is an iPhone 4S with a faster processor, hugely upgraded camera and voice recognition not as sweet? 

For all the iPhone-toting parents out there who rely on these handy devices to do everything from stay organized to keep toddlers distracted, here are the main new features of the 4S: 

It’s Faster: The iPhone 4 comes with an A4 processor. The 4S will come with an A5 processor. In layman’s terms, the 4S will be a heck of a lot faster. Apple claims it’ll be twice as fast as the current A4 and a whopping seven times faster for processing graphics. You’ll get to those Angry Birds much faster than before and will cut seconds off the time your preschooler whines for his favorite ABC app. 

Awesome Camera: If you’re like me, you may already use your iPhone camera for those spontaneous kid shots. Well, the camera on the 4S will produce even better photos and videos than before because it jumps to an 8-megapixel camera (from 5 MP with the current model). Sharpness will be improved as well with a sensor that will capture 73 percent more light. It’s faster too and I like that double tapping the home button will bring up the camera, as opposed to now when I have to clumsily turn the phone on, get to the home page and click on the icon. By that point, I’ve missed the shot, so this new shortcut will be a welcome addition. 

Voice-Recognition: One of the biggest features of the phone is integration of a service called Siri. If you’re not already familiar with this voice-recognition software, basically it works like this: you ask it a question or tell it what to do and it listens. Inquire about the time and weather and your phone will talk back and pull up relevant information for you on the screen. You can even create reminders, add events into your calendar and get directions from the sound of your voice. Ask and you shall receive. 

iOS 5: The iPhone’s (and iPad/iPod) mobile operating system is getting a major upgrade. There are numerous new features, too many to list (200+), but some cool ones include faster text messaging, notifications all in one place, photo enhancing features, iCloud (wireless syncing and updates - no more cords!!) and much more. The great thing about this iOS version is that you can keep your iPhone 3GS or 4 and still reap the benefits by just uploading the software (coming Oct. 12th).   

Another piece of news is that the iPhone 4S will now be available to Sprint customers as well. As far as I understand, the pricing across all carriers, AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint, will be the same: 16 GB for $199; 32 GB for $299; and 64 GB for $399, each with a two-year contract. You can pre-order starting Oct. 7 and purchase starting Oct. 14th

If you have an iPhone 4 and are not sure if it’s worth upgrading, check out this very helpful chart from Engadget comparing it to the 4S: 

If you’re unimpressed with the new features and aren't yet wiilling to ready to plunk down a couple hundred dollars, but still want to satisfy that iPhone urge that's gnawing at you, get an 8 GB iPhone 4 for just $99, better yet, an iPhone 3GS for free! (Well, with a two-year contract.) Any way you swing it, the iPhone can be yours. And let me tell you, it's pretty damn cool. 






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