Wednesday, October 05, 2011

iPhone 4S - does the S stand for "So What?"

So Apple finally announced the iPhone du jour yesterday. Am I the only one out there who feels slightly underwhelmed?

Okay - these are the features most prominently displayed on the Apple website:

  • Faster processer - nice, but I never felt my 3GS was cripplingly slow. Meh.
  • Better camera - nice, but it's still a camera in a phone, with all the limitations that come with that. Slightly more compelling but still - meh.
  • Siri - voice commands. I tried Siri before Apple bought it and never found it all that useful. A gimmick. Note to Apple: I'm saying "meh," now - is there a command for that?
  • iOS5 - this is actually the most interesting thing being trumpeted as part of the new phone. Oh wait - I can get it as a free upgrade to my current phone in a few days. More on that below.
  • iCloud - sounds like this is an iOS5 thing. See above comment.
So I'm not seeing any reason to rush right out and replace my old 3GS. The biggest complaint I have with it is that battery life sucks. As to the iOS5 update, *that* I'm looking forward to. It is free, after all.

Just so you don't have to plow through Apple's elegant but overblown features page, here's what looks interesting (and not) about the iOS5 upgrade:
  • Notification center - sounds like a way of tracking in one place all those little popup reminders and things that seem to constantly be demanding  your attention. Possibly useful - or not.
  • iMessage center - I love the text messaging feature of my iPhone. They've added it to iPod and iPad, as well as the ability to pick up conversations from one device and continue on another.  My oldest son has an iPod but no phone - now I can get him in the conversation. This could be my favorite new feature.
  • Newstand - subscriptions to magazines! Another way for Apple to sell me shit through iTunes. Meh.
  •  Reminders - I've got Google reminders already which I routinely ignore. Maybe useful to others - me: not so much. If I can connect it with my Google account (like I do with mail and contacts, I might be interested.
  • Twitter - I've already got multiple Twitter clients installed which work fine, thankyouverymuch. This ought to piss off the developers of those. Integrated with Safari, maps, photos, etc - hmm... We'll see.
  • Camera - this sounds like it has some useful new stuff, most of all the ability to start the camera from the lock screen. Couple that with...
  • Photos - some simple editing capability. I guess this make the camera hardware in the new phone more appealing. Still...
  • Safari - some minor improvement, including tabs on the iPad. Of course you could have had these with 3rd party browsers already. How Microsoft of you, Apple!
  • PC Free - now you can update without being tethered to your computer. Also: you don't need a PC to activate a new device. About time. Of course if you *do* need to sync with your PC, you can now use...
  • WiFi sync - this is another feature that sounds pretty useful. It's a pain in the ass to have physically connect to my computer to sync. I'd imagine there may still be times you'd need that hard-wired connection. Still, this should be good.
  •  Airplay mirroring - if I had Apple TV this might mean something to me. As it is, not so much.
So, ignore the line for the new phone, but get ready to grab iOS5. Since I have both an iPhone and iPad, I'm looking forward to the upgrade. I think I can live without the iPhone 4S.

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