Is the iPhone 4S a good travel phone? I started to examine this question in an earlier article Click Here For Article. The question is not as simple as it appears. Time to continue investigating this new iPhone – will it be a good travel companion? Should you add it to your gear?
Current Contract Status – A moment’s pause for a review of history, which as they say, can sometimes be a bit of a teacher. Apple iPhone release history reveals a possible emerging pattern. The pattern? A major iPhone release (e.g. iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4) occurs about every two years. In between, about 1 year following a major release, Apple releases an upgrade (iPhone 3GS, and now iPhone 4S). If this pattern holds true then we should see a more major iPhone release (iPhone 5?) sometime in 2012. How does this impact decision making related to the iPhone 4S? If you are about at the end of your two year provider contract then maybe now is a good time to upgrade – you probably won’t be hit with any fees or charges for early phone upgrades. However, if you are only mid way through your two year contract, well you may want to consider waiting. You can avoid those early upgrade charges and look forward to the probability that you can snag a newly released iPhone 5 around the time that your contract is ready for renewal. Of course all of this is a bit speculative – no guarantees – but something to consider. (Then again, if money is no object – the Current Contract Status factor is a non-issue for you.)
Battery Issues – The iPhone has always been a bit power hungry and its battery life has been a bit marginal. As a result many companies have found a source of income as they develop third party power options for the iPhone. (See my related article for one of my favorite solutions Click Here .)
How does the iPhone 4S stack up on this battery life issue? Any improvement? Just a tad – and the improvement is related to talk time only. The iPhone 4 battery is rated as up to 7 hours talk for 3G and up to 14 hours talk for 2G while the iPhone 4S is stated as up to 8 hours talk on 3G and stays at up to 14 hours talk for 2G. Most other factors remain the same for both phones with data/internet at up to 6 hours, video playback up to 10 hours, and music playback up to 40 hours. Interestingly, Wi-Fi use drops from up to 10 hours on the iPhone 4 to up to 9 hours on the iPhone 4S. Makes little sense – go figure. Anyway – Battery Issues seem to be about the same across these two phones. ( And a related FYI for comparison for those of you – like me – with the iPhone 3GS which is rated as follows: 5 hours 3G talk time, 12 hours 2G, 5 hours data/internet, 9 hours Wi-Fi, 10 hours video playback, 30 hours audio playback)
Antenna Issues – You probably remember all the outcry about antenna problems when the iPhone 4 was first released. Unless you held the phone “just right” the effectiveness of the antenna was reported to be considerably diminished. The iPhone 4S now includes two antennas. The handset switches “intelligently” between these two antennas to send and receive data which is reported to improve call / connection quality.
Processor Speed / Power – The iPhone 4 sports an 800 MHz Apple A4 processor with 512MB RAM. The iPhone 3GS uses a 600MHz processor with 256 MB RAM. The iPhone 4S takes a big step forward in this department with the Apple A5 processor (believed to be 1GHz) and 512MB RAM. The A5 is a dual-core chip which should allow CPU speeds up to twice as fast as the iPhone 4 and graphics processing up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4. In other words – this little puppy should be quick (especially for those currently using the 3GS – like me.)
I don’t know about you but all these numbers are wearing me out. Time to quite for now, think about all this, and relax a bit. And I still have more research to do. I need to check out Camera Issues, Global Phone Potential, and Provider Network Issues for the iPhone 4S. I’ll be reporting on these soon. Be sure to check back.
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Meanwhile remember – Enjoy the Adventure!
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Dr.B, The PhotoTrekker
© 2011, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.