But what did reviewers think? Here are some highlights from hands-on first impressions.
Design: The external design is essentially the same as the iPhone 4. “Do you have an iPhone 4? Pick it up. Look at it. Turn it over. There, you’ve just done an iPhone 4S hands-on. Congratulations!,” wrote Thisismynext’s Joshua Topolsky. Apart from being .1 ounce heavier than its predecessor, CNET’s Bonnie Cha and Kent Herman couldn’t find any design differences at all.
Processor: The processor on the new iPhone is zippy, since the same A5 core processor that’s in the iPad. Most reviewers said they noticed an immediate difference. PCMag’s Dan Costa said he tried to “tax the new A5 CPU” and found that the game he played was very fluid. The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple said that the processor upgrade is “huge, because it can easily handle Apple’s more advanced technology like its voice assistant, Siri.”
Camera: The camera is another key new feature on the phone, and here Apple has definitely not disappointed, according to the first impressions. While most only had a brief amount of time playing with the new 8MP sensor, reviewers said that the camera was a definite improvement. “[The] camera really does stand out here,” Topolsky said.
One of the most exciting features of the iPhone 4S is Siri, the application which was advertised as an intelligent personal secretary on your smartphone. As Joshua Topolsky explained
The launch wasn’t really about the phone at all. It was about the software inside and possibly the kick-start of the next big revolution in how we interact with our gadgets.
That software is called Siri, but Apple would like for you to think of it as your “intelligent assistant.” And what Siri does is nothing short of amazing.
Siri can listen to your “natural language” (that is, words spoken as you would to another human, not a computer) questions or requests and respond like a digital secretary. It’s not just that Siri listens, either. The software is capable of understanding the context of what you’re talking about, so if you ask it to set an alarm on your phone, it will ask you for what time. And again, you don’t. Have. To. Talk. Really. Slowly.
If you ask Siri to schedule an appointment, it will not only check to see if it conflicts with any of your other meetings but will help you juggle the time slot until you have your day’s events mapped out. Siri will find movie theaters close to you or tell you how to get home from your current location. It can identify family members, spouses and co-workers you’re always talking to, and it knows when people’s birthdays, anniversaries or other big events are coming up.