iPhone 4 vs iPhone 4S – October 14th, 2011

Apple announced the new iPhone today and just as I speculated, it is not a brand new phone, but an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Naturally as they did with the original 3G upgrade, Apple appended a little ‘S’ to signify the difference between devices. This ‘S’ is presumed to mean speed with the iPhone 4S being truly faster than the original iPhone 4. Among the change in processor, Apple has also increased the camera’s megapixels to 8 and upped video recording to 1080p. Lastly, the new iPhone 4S is now a dual-band world phone with two antennas. This made it possible for Apple to have one device that works on all networks.

From a sales point of view, a few things have also changed:

  • There is one device for all carriers. No more GSM and CDMA phones being different.
  • The original iPhone 4 now has a lower-priced 8GB model.
  • The new iPhone 4S now has a 64GB model.
  • The white model will be available at launch. 😉

Comparison Chart

iPhone 4 iPhone 4S
Dimensions 4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 4.8 ounces 4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 4.9 ounces
Display 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina display 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina display
Camera 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, 720p HD video recording at 30fps; front-facing VGA camera 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, 1080p HD video recording at 30fps, auto focus, face detection; front-facing VGA camera
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA; CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A Bluetooth 4.0; Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); dual-band world phone; GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA; HSPA+; CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A
Processor 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Dual-core 1GHz A5 processor with dual-core graphics
Capacity 8GB, 16GB, 32GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Location Assisted GPS, digital compass, Wi-Fi, cellular Assisted GPS, digital compass, Wi-Fi, cellular
Sensors Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Battery life 7 hours of talk time on 3G, 12.5 days of standby time; 40 hours audio playback; 10 hours video playback; 6 hours (3G)/10 hours (Wi-Fi) Internet use 8 hours of talk time over 3G, 14 hours over 2G, 40 hours audio playback, 10 hours video playback, 6 hours (3G)/9 hours (Wi-Fi)
Carrier AT&T, Verizon AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Pricing $99 for 8GB, $199.99 for 16GB, $299.99 for 32GB $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB
Colors Black, white Black, white

Full iPhone 4S specs can be found at Apple.com

My two cents

Much like I went from the original iPhone to the 3GS (skipping the 3G), I plan to now go from iPhone 4 to the iPhone 6 which using my best guess will be out next summer. This naming convention will surely cause some confusion among the consumers, but remember that the iPhone 4S is in fact the 5th version of the iPhone making whatever comes next, the 6th. Waiting this out will serve two purposes: 1. Microsoft will have more time to sell me on how much greater Windows Phone 7 is to iOS 5 and AT&T will not have me locked into any contracts, thus allowing me to jump ship if I feel the need to in order to get the next phone on Sprint or Verizon.

All-in-all, if you’re a current iPhone 4 user, there isn’t much of a need to upgrade unless you’re seriously concerned about speed. If you’re a 3GS user or you’ve never owned iPhone, now’s your chance to finally get one at a great price. You can still get the iPhone 4 starting at $99 for the new 8GB model. But keep one thing in mind if you’re buying an iPhone 4S: you could potentially kill your ability to get a subsidized upgrade in the summer if iPhone 6 comes out and you’ll be stuck with a new 2-year contract.

As for me, I’m staying away from this phone and I might stay with Windows Phone 7 if I like the new 7.5 Mango upgrade. If not, I’ll probably just find a cheap iPhone 3GS or 4 on eBay and use it until the next device comes out. To all those who will be waiting in line on October 14th, good luck!

iPhone 5 Announcement and Release Date – What We Know So Far

Touted as the most hyped-up device to be released this season, the iPhone 5 has been tantalizing consumers for months and until October 4th, it is all just speculation, rumors, hopes and dreams. Apple is famous (or infamous) for keeping consumers (fanboys) in the dark about any details of their latest gadgets and of course this is no different. In fact, unless some drunken beta testers leave their test units in local bars, we never get to hear anything about what’s on Apples horizon.

October 4th is just 4 days away and I wouldn’t be surprised if people are already starting to line up to get the next iteration of the greatest smartphone ever to be sold (in terms of sales). Any poor souls doing so should be warned that October 4th is NOT a release day, but the day of the conference in which the new device will be announced. What can we expect? Well, there are basically two camps; those that believe the next iPhone will be a brand new device altogether and those that believe it will be nothing more than an iPhone 4 upgrade.

iPhone 4S

Like with the 3G a couple years back, Apple decided to release a faster and more beefed up iPhone called the 3GS rather than re-design the entire device. The 3GS was significantly faster and provided new features like video recording and more megapixels on the camera. The release of this phone was great for those who owned the first iPhone and skipped on upgrading to the 3G because of contract restrictions.

The yearly upgrades Apple was providing whether it be a new device or an upgrade set a tone in the community—that we could expect a new iPhone every summer sometime around June. This all changed when June came and went with no official talk of a new device. Then, on the heels of an unofficial announcement about a new souped-up iPad (not an iPad 3), theories began to speculate that Apple would do the same for iPhone…essentially creating an iPhone 4S. This way, Apple will have two new devices in time for Christmas and it will also pave the way for Sprint to gear up for getting the new phone.

If Apple is going this route, that will allow them to release an all-new device in the summer of 2012.

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 teardrop
The consumers have spoken and they are saying this is what they want—an all new phone souped up and ready to move beyond the already-familiar iPhone 4 design. Rumors are abound that a possible new design would look somewhat like a teardrop as seen in this picture. There is no word on what would be under the hood at this time, but we can expect a faster device with a better camera, seamless support for iCloud and a host of other features that have been on the minds of iPhone users for years. Did anyone say Flash support?! Yeah right, probably never.

My problem with this idea is simple. Verizon just got the iPhone 4. Sprint may be on the bandwagon soon. If Apple releases a whole new device now, then Verizon users might feel a bit shafted that they jumped on the iPhone 4 so quickly just to have be made almost obsolete in short time. On the other hand, it might be possible that this was the cause of the delay. Plus, if Apple did go with an upgrade-only, then Sprint users would feel shafted come summer time if a brand new design is launched. Either way, I think someone is going to get burned on this deal.

Some around the Internet speculate that Apple really wants to release a new design because they lost so much money on those free bumper cases and they know the most money to be made revolves around accessory sales. What better way to get people to buy new cases? Of course!! Make a phone that no longer fits your old ones!

My two cents

I think in an effort to allow Verizon to have more time with iPhone 4 and let Sprint play catch-up, Apple will announce on Tuesday that the next iPhone will be nothing more than a 4S and not a brand new device. Then, next summer after all major carriers have the iPhone, Apple will launch a brand new updated device for all to have from the start. From there on out, they could continue to release phones on a yearly basis and not worry about anyone being left out…except T-Mobile! Speaking of which, they may still be absorbed by AT&T so it doesn’t really matter.

As for me, I’ve been using a Windows Phone for about 2 months now since I sold my iPhone 4 on eBay. I did this to not only have a real-world test of Windows Phone 7, but also to wait for this new iPhone…whatever it may be. I guess I’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if I’m going back to iPhone.

iPhone 5 Coming to Sprint in mid-October and With Unlimited Data

While it’s still anyone’s guess as to what kind of device we’re looking at with the proposed “iPhone 5” rumored to be making an appearance sometime next month, what is becoming clear is that the next iPhone is coming to Sprint—and most likely even T-Mobile. The best news to come from Sprint is the fact that they will be retaining their unlimited data plans with iPhone users, which will pit them against Verizon and AT&T in yet another battle for customers. If this is true, Sprint will be the only carrier left with an unrestricted, unlimited data plan for all of its customers.

The questions about the phone start with just one: Will the next iPhone be a completely brand new device called iPhone 5 or will it a simple spec upgrade, possibly being called iPhone 4S?

There are two big reasons why I believe it’ll be just a spec upgrade. The first reason is because Apple hasn’t followed through with their one-phone-per-year release model and the second reason is because they are also planning to release an upgraded iPad soon that won’t be an iPad 3. With that said, it would make sense for Apple to take the mid-upgrade step now like they did with the 3GS while holding off on a major upgrade and/or redesign until next summer. Another thought that came to mind is that maybe Apple was waiting until all the carriers had access to their phone before going forward with a brand new device. With Sprint and T-Mobile being the last ones left, this would make perfect sense not to release it until everyone has had a nice lead-in for new customers.

Sprint has admitted that even though unlimited data will be allowed initially, it may not be forever. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has acknowledged that Sprint may not be able to keep up with data demands from the added iPhone customers in the future and has implied that, should this become a reality, Sprint will wind up limiting their plans just as Verizon and AT&T have done. Just how they plan to do this is unclear. For example, AT&T and Verizon have taken this approach slightly different:

  • AT&T – They were the first to remove the unlimited data plans from their service offerings, but allowed existing plan holders to be grandfathered in. However, a few months ago, AT&T decided that grandfathered plans would be subjected to speed caps for users going over the “invisible” 2GB cap—2GB being the max for their new plans. So whereas a new customer would be charged for going over 2GB, but retain 3G speeds, an older customer wouldn’t be charged for going over, but would have to suffer losing 3G speeds.
  • Verizon – Once Verizon got the iPhone, it was no surprise that people jumped ship from AT&T. This was in part due to service quality concerns, but also Verizon still allowing unlimited data plans. This has now changed although they followed in AT&T’s footsteps by allowing existing customers to be grandfathered in. It remains to be seen whether they will implement speed caps like AT&T has.
  • T-Mobile – Although T-Mobile doesn’t currently have the iPhone, they are another carrier (besides Sprint) still offering unlimited data plans, but they have always had speed limits on these plans. This is likely to remain the same even if they get the next iPhone.

My two cents

I sold my iPhone 4 because I figured that if the new phone came out, I’d lose more value on it. In the meantime, I’ve been using an Android phone for a short period and now I’m on a Samsung focus with Windows Phone 7. I like Windows Phone 7 and from the looks of things, Samsung and Nokia are coming out with a few cool devices this October to compete with this new iPhone.

For me, I doubt I’ll jump back into another iPhone right away unless it really blows my mind. If it ends up being an iPhone 4S, I probably won’t even touch it. I’ll either stick with my Focus after upgrading to Windows Phone Mango (7.5) and wait until a newer iPhone shows up or I’ll explore other options. I’m still undecided, but let’s just say that October seems to be looking like a very interesting month in the way of technology.