There's no denying that Apple's spoiled us. Since 2007's launch of the original iPhone, they've released a new, improved version each year; which never fails to take the smartphone world by storm.
The camera's been upgraded as well (from 5 megapixels with an f/2.8 aperture to 8 MP with an f/2.4 aperture), and this is reflected in the pictures it takes. Apple's put a lot of work into the camera software as well, and boasts that the 4S is the fastest camera in the smartphone world. Certainly, in my time with the phone, the camera's performance was in keeping with those claims.
Maximum available storage has also been increased to 64GB, placing it on par with the iPod Touch. (Note: However, I was told that the 64GB 4S is not currently available; unfortunately, there was no word as to whether that might change in the near future.)
Siri – voice control system
And then, we come to Siri — the one thing that really makes the 4S unique. Voice control systems are nothing new; however, when you add Apple's level of polish and refinement to such a system, you have the potential for something truly revolutionary. Siri is an automated voice control system that people can interact with through spoken questions or commands.
Unlike other similiar programmes, Siri doesn't require you to use a particular type of phrasing; with the result that interaction with Siri feels much more like a conversation than a sequence of queries and responses. The possibilities for such a system are virtually endless. Say you receive a text message while driving; Siri can read it out to you, and you can even dictate a reply. If you feel like eating Chinese food tonight and tell Siri so, it will pull up a list of highly-rated Chinese eateries in your area. The very best technology feels like you're being transported to the future as you use it; and Siri definitely gives you that feeling.
You would have noticed that the iPhone 4 has been mentioned on numerous occasions already in this article, and there's a good reason for that; at the time of its launch, it was widely regarded to be the best smartphone in the world. It's only been a little over a year since then, but the 4S faces much stiffer competition from rival companies. It's a crowded market right now and competition is fierce; but the most telling mark against the iPhone 4S is that it isn't substantially better than the phone it ostensibly replaces — the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4S finds itself in an unenviable situation — stuck between its illustrious predecessor and its eagerly-anticipated successor, it's unlikely to be judged entirely on its own merits. While it can be argued that that's not entirely fair, the truth remains that the technological world moves at a rapid pace; a pace that is usually set by Apple, but not this time.
To sum up, if you simply want the best iPhone in the world, you needn't look any further than the iPhone 4S.
If you don't already use a smartphone and you want to buy an iPhone, it's a toss-up between affordability and performance — the iPhone 4 is still one of the best smartphones around, and the release of the 4S has knocked its price down a bit.
Apple iPhone 4S video
However, if you already own an iPhone 4 or an equivalent smartphone, you'd probably be better off waiting for the iPhone 5. The 4S is a very, very good phone; in a world where Apple needed to make a strong statement in order to fend off its growing competition, though, the iPhone 4S just wasn't it.