I have bought every iPhone as soon as it was released. So I may be biased when I say ‘Buy the iPhone 4S and buy the iPhone 5.” With that fair warning, let me give you an idea of what you get with the iPhone 4S.
Of course, you have heard of Siri, and watched the Apple ads “Assistant”, “Siri, Snow Today”, and “Santa”. Based on these ads you would think that Siri is the only new thing worth mentioning on the 4S. Apart from the 8 megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video, there isn’t much more. Certainly the A5 chip is much faster than the A4 chip on the iPhone 4. So the question is, is it work upgrading to a 4S just for Siri and the camera?
If you already have an iPhone 4, and wouldn’t mind jail-breaking it, there might be ways to do get Siri on the 4, but I am not sure. In any case, I am not a big fan of jailbreaking. The image stabilization that Apple claims for the 4S videos don’t really work at all. I have tried this on several iPhone 4S devices. So if you are going to upgrade, it has to be for Siri and much better camera (minus the image stabilization.)
So what can Siri do for you?
Here are some of the things I use it for:
- Creating and sending new text messages
- Responding to emails and writing new emails
- Reading web pages and emails ( go to Settings, General, Accessibility, Speak Selection -> On). Next time you select a text, you will have “Speak” as an option in addition to Copy.
- Create shopping lists in Notes
- Setting reminders and alarm
- Get funny answers when Siri cannot understand my son
- Get my son to talk clearer and more audibly by making Siri understand what he wants to say
Other things you can do
- Almost anywhere you are presented a keyboard to type, you can speak the words. You don’t have to do it in long bursts. You can pause and speak a sentence at a time, or a word at a time or a paragraph at at time. Siri is cool with all that.
- Set timers and check on how many minutes remain
- Ask things like “Who is the vice president at Google?” (I think it is integrated with WolframAlpha for that)
- Ask “Where is the nearest Jack In The Box?”
- When you are dictating emails, you can say punctuations like “comma”, “period”, “new line”, “new paragraph”.
- You can set locations for favorite places or frequent places and name them. Then you can be asked to be reminded when you get there, or leave there. This geo-fence thing is awesome. So if you ever need to be reminded to get milk when you arrive at your grocery store, this is priceless.
- Find out the time in Los Angeles or the the weather in Denver later today.
- Ask it to play music, tell a joke (although it keeps repeating the same joke), answer philosophical questions, and directions.
- It can also search the web if it cannot find the answer for you.
- Siri always needs the internet, and a decently fast one. Where I sit in my office, the reception is not very good. So Siri usually cannot take requests when I am in my office.
- There is no way to control its volume other than physically covering the speaker with your thumb. The volume controls do not apply to Siri. It is always loud. (You can turn off audio feedback completely in settings if you want, though.)
- Only integrates with out of the box Apple apps. No integration with third party apps yet.
Does the faster CPU make a difference?
You bet it does. With the 4, I could take a photo every second at 5 mega pixels. With the 4S I can take bigger photos even faster. Especially after upgrading to the iOS 5, the 4 can be a teeny big sluggish. But if you are upgrading form a 3GS, there is no question – go for the 4S. Don’t wait for the 5. Remember the disastrous wait for the 3GS in white that never came until after the 4 came out?
Obviously there is more
Do you know anything that Siri or the iPhone 4S can do that I have not mentioned here? Perhaps it can be useful to others who read this post. Please share your tips in the comments.