This is the iPhone Steve Jobs worked on up until his untimely death in 2011. It was not enough to warrant the moniker “5”, but it is still regarded as the fifth generation of iPhone. Touted, most loudly by Apple itself, as the best iPhone ever, the 4S did bring several improvements in comparison to the regular iPhone 4, most notably Siri, the personal assistant, the speed improvement and the better camera. But was it everything Apple aficionados were dreaming of?
The greatness that never was
According to numbers, the iPhone 4S did sell four million units within a timeframe of only three days at the much publicized release. But once everybody calmed down, it seemed in retrospect that the biggest boost for the PR machinery came from the demise of the force behind the half eaten apple. The SoC dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 based Apple A5 processor and the 1 GB DDR2 RAM did bring some performance improvements, but being clocked at only 800 MHz was notably less than the speeding competition. Furthermore, the battery remained with only 1,430 mAh on the disappointing side. The biggest problem, it seems, was that, despite speed, the 4S did not really bring anything new and remarkable. Being shipped out with the “old-fashioned” iOS 5.0 – although it has been already updated to the new 6.0 – did disappoint many, because the apparently new iOS worked and felt just like its predecessor.
The Apple principle
On paper, it all sounds just like a perfect next step: a much faster processor, even a faster graphic chip, apparently the same that was found in the iPad 2; improved operating system; a truly remarkably improved camera, up to 8 megapixels, with 1080p video shooting capability at 30 frames per second, just to elaborate on the most prominent improvements. It is not like all the other features, like the retina display or up to 64 GB models are left unmentioned. The main problem is actually the competition. U until now, Apple was the forerunner, Apple did all the new and cool stuff, it was the iPhone all other smartphones wanted to be. Suddenly, the Apple moniker “Either you have an iPhone, or you don’t…” does not mean you are missing out on something.
Either you have staying power, or you don’t
At a time where almost all of the competing products offered smartphones with at least 1 GB RAM, it is an incredible faux pas to pass 512 MB as sufficient for “The most amazing iPhone yet”. Even worse, trying to explain how dual-core Apple A5 processor is better and faster than a Snapdragon or Tegra quad core processor is worse than laughable. The Apple iPhone 4S is a very good phone, but it is not the best phone on the market. Silently admitting this fact by releasing iPhone 5 less than a year later alienated many of the people who were waiting in lines to get their hands on the 4S during the prime release period. The forerunner in the smartphone market, Apple, started to stagnate with this product, the iPhone 4S, and it cost them the leadership position.