From the Author: The Top 5 New iPhone 4S Features
|Author Paul McFedries |
The iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5 installed, so right out of the box you get access to dozens of new features (actually, Apple claims there are more than 200 new features in iOS 5, and I believe them). These include the Notification Center, Wi-Fi syncing and software updating, photo editing, reminders, Twitter integration, free text messaging over Wi-Fi, text shortcuts, private web browsing, Reader (reading web pages without ads another other distractions), Reading List (saving pages to read later), email message folders, AirPlay mirroring, Newsstand, and iCloud support.
These are all great features, but they're not unique to the iPhone 4S since iOS 5 also runs on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. So what's uniquely new about the iPhone 4S? You might think that, since the iPhone 4S looks identical to its iPhone 4 predecessor, there's nothing unique about it, but there's more to the iPhone 4S than meets the eye. Herewith, my list of the top five new features that are available only on the iPhone 4S:
• A5 microprocessor.
This Apple-designed chip sports two cores, so apps that can take advantage of this dual-core architecture will run up to two times as fast. Not only that, but the A5 chip is also specially designed to handle graphics data, and Apple says that the iPhone 4S can process graphics up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4. Gamers, start your thumbs!
• Improved camera.
The iPhone 4 camera was widely lauded for taking great shots, although most of these kudos were qualified with "for a phone." The critics might just have to drop that qualifier for the iPhone 4S, which offers tons of camera improvements. These start with the resolution, which has been beefed up to a gaudy 8 megapixels, resulting in 3264x2448 photos that will render 8"x10" prints pixel for pixel. And these are "full-well" (FW) pixels, which means they capture a higher range of light. The camera's optics are all new, as well, with a five-element lens for precise light collection, a larger f/2.4 aperture to capture more light, and a hybrid infrared (IR) filter that blocks unwelcome IR light for more accurate colors. The iPhone 4S camera is also faster, so you can capture those spur-of-the-moment shots.
• Improved video recording.
Since your iPhone is always with you, it's the ideal device for capturing the action, whatever it might be. Now the iPhone 4S just might upgrade that from "ideal" to "perfect" with its support for full 1080p HD video recording (compared to the "mere" 720p recording of the iPhone 4). Also, the improved camera optics—the FW pixels, increased aperture, custom lens, and hybrid IR filter—give your video recording more light and better colors. iPhone 4S also comes with video stabilization baked in, so your videos will only have that shaky, "handheld" look if you do it on purpose.
• Combined antenna.
The iPhone 4S comes with a combined "world phone" antenna that supports both GSM and CDMA. That means one phone for everyone, no matter which company they use as a cellular provider. It also means that the iPhone 4S will work without a hitch wherever you are in the world (provided you're within range of a cellular signal, of course). Having two built-in antennas confers other benefits as well. Call quality should improve since the iPhone 4S can switch between the two antennas to receive and transmit phone data. Even better, having two antennas effectively doubles download speeds, with the iPhone 4S now capable of up to 14.4 Mbps downloads (compared to the maximum download speed of 7.2 Mbps for the iPhone 4).
Controlling a computer with just voice commands has been a mainstream dream ever since the first Star Trek series. Mac OS X and Windows come with speech-recognition features, but few people use them because they're difficult to configure and are more often than not frustrating to use. Third-party speech recognition programs are more powerful, but they tend to be expensive and still don't work all that well. The dream of voice control remains unfulfilled on desktop machines, but on the iPhone 4S, voice control is a reality that comes in the form of the new Siri app. Siri replaces the Voice Control feature from the iPhone 3GS and 4, which was limited to dialing phone calls and controlling the Music app with voice commands. Siri is one of the slickest iPhone 4S features because it goes well beyond this by also giving you voice control over Web searching, appointments, contacts, reminders, map navigation, text messages, notes, and more.
There you have it: Five impressive new features that can only be found on the iPhone 4S. I've got mine. Have you?
The Genius is in.
You don't have to be a genius to use the iPhone 4S. But if you want to get the very most out of yours, put this savvy Portable Genius guide to work and start ramping up the pace. Want to connect your iPhone to a network? Sync your iPhone? Get the most out of the audio, photo, and video features? Use Siri voice control to send messages, schedule meetings, and call friends? You'll find cool and useful Genius tips, full-color screenshots, and pages of easy-to-access shortcuts and tools that will save you loads of time and let you enjoy your iPhone 4S to the max.
Fun, hip, and straightforward, the Portable Genius series gives forward-thinking Apple users useful information in handy, compact books that are easy to navigate and don't skimp on the essentials. Collect the whole series and make the most of your Apple digital lifestyle.