Pre-orders have begun for the Apple iPhone 4S, and there are millions of people around the world asking themselves, should I upgrade to this new model? For some, the answer is definitely "yes", but a great many other people should pass on this smartphone.
It will come with iOS 5, a new version of Apple's mobile operating system, and this is going to be packed with improvements such as iMessage and a better notification system, but an iOS 5 upgrade is going to be released next week, bringing most of these advantages to older devices.
This means that, for a great many iPhone 4 owners, upgrading to the new model makes little sense, as they will get just a handful of new features. Those who still have an iPhone 3GS, on the other hand, would see significant improvements with this device, such as a much higher-resolution display (640 x 960 verses 320 x 480), much faster processor, better camera, and more.
There are some iPhone 4 users who might consider upgrading, if they need one or more of the features that is being enhanced in the upcoming model.
The device is going to have an Apple A5 1GHz dual-core processor, up from the 1GHz single-core chip in its predecessor, so it's potentially twice as fast. However, the iPhone 4 already has outstanding performance, so there aren't many situations where more power is needed.
There is one notable exception: the new Siri voice-control system apparently requires the faster processor, as it will only be available on the iPhone 4S. Siri may cause some to upgrade, as it will allow users to send messages, schedule meetings, and place phone calls with spoken commands. It will also act as a speech-recognition system for entering text. Other new features, such as iCloud, will be available on previous models.
Another area that will see improvement with the latest device is games and video. The A5 chip is up to 7 times faster when handling graphics than the one in Apple's current smartphone.
The iPhone 4 has a 5 megapixel camera that's regarded as one of the best available. Nevertheless, many handsets running the rival Android OS have 8 megapixel cameras, and Apple has decided to follow suit. This will be able to record 1080p video at 30 fps. It will sport a backside-illuminated CMOS for better shots in low light, and it will be quicker to take pictures.
Those who use their smartphone to take pictures of fast-moving objects, such as small children, might benefit from the new camera. Also, those who want to have a 1080p HD TV and want to display video they have recorded might also like an iPhone 4S.
Waiting on the iPhone 5
Some people are holding off upgrading until the iPhone 5 is released, as they don't consider the 4S to be enough of a jump to be worth the cost. Anyone considering this option should be aware that a new model is likely to be close to a year away.
There is a theory going around that the iPhone 5 is coming relatively soon. This is based on the idea that the 4S is just a temporary placeholder until Apple can get out a "real" new model that will have 4G LTE, a bigger screen, and other enhancements. While this is a possibility, it would go against the company's previous actions -- the replacement for the iPhone 3G was the iPhone 3GS, a moderate upgrade that nevertheless remained Apple's flagship smartphone for an entire year.
Whether or not to upgrade often comes down to cost. Wireless carriers offer subsidies to their customers to lower the prices for new models, but these are generally available only every two years. Most people who bought an iPhone 4 at a subsidized price will have to pay the full cost for the new model. That pushes the price up to $650 for the 8GB version.
Those who don't currently have an iPhone can choose from a range of options and prices. The 3GS is still available from AT&T, and it is going for no money down with a two year contract. A version of the iPhone 4 with 8GB of internal storage is $100 with contract from Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T. The iPhone 4S is available from these carriers with prices starting at $200 with contract for the version with 16GB of capacity.
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