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I was wrong about the iPhone 4s. It sucks.

Before the iPhone 4s launched, I predicted it would be the best phone ever built.

The truth, it turns out, is that the iPhone 4s kind of sucks.

There. I said it.

Here's why the iPhone 4s isn't the great phone Apple said it would be:

http://www.datamation.com/mobile-wireless/why-you-should-wait-for-the-iphone-5-1.html
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158 comments
 
Yikes! I had somehow disabled comments by accident. Sorry, folks. Comment away!
 
This comment was sent directly to me because comments were disabled:

+Art Izzard


Not sure why +Mike Elgan has disabled comments (least it appears that he has) on this post so I'll just rebut him here. It may be true that the iPhone 4s screen is tilted towards the yellow, and it may also be correct that it has a lousy camera. Other reviewers would disagree. I can't speak to it personally because I don't have a 4s.

My big beef with his article, however, is that four of his six reason that the 4s "sucks" aren't directly related to the 4s, but instead to iOS 5 & iCloud. He even acknowledges as much in the article "the battery problems appear to be caused primarily by iOS 5". I suppose you can count Siri as a 4s specific "problem". Though we all fully expect the beta software that is now Siri to appear on other iOS devices in the near future.

Certainly iOS 5 is still a work in progress, but it does show a good bit of promise. Personally I've had to forego using the Reminders.app as it sucks my iPhone 4 batter dry in a few hours. All reports are that Apple is aware of the problems and I would expect fix are forthcoming.
 
Not surprised--I simply, if mostly thru sheer ignorance, persisted in believing that Siri wasn't going to be a hit out of the park in this first go-around (even if Siri had been around before Apple bought it). Glad that I hung onto my iPhone 4. iOS5, though, doesn't seem to be affecting my battery life (as you mentioned in your article) but then again I am not a heavy iPhone user. The only thing I was coveting on the 4s was a better camera--seems it isn't if your experience is any indication.
 
I was going to say that the best iPhone for me was 3G. I'm still waiting for Apple to WOW me. iPhone 4S is a miss.
 
Shame. Hope I won't agree with you when I get mine.
 
It sounds like almost all of these are fixable in software (even the screen color). Which is something.
 
Wow +Mike Elgan interesting. I'm an Android fan but I wonder if Apple is spending more money on lawyers than on engineers and developers.
I'd much rather see Apple, Google and Microsoft compete on products than lawsuits.
I think we all know all three have "borrowed" ideas over the years.
 
How can you now doubt "both the ability of Apple to continue its winning streak, and also with the direction of Apple product design and engineering" from one phone? This seems like a giant leap. They've stumbled many times with products and I don't see why this minor product release should be any different.
 
It is weird to see Apple screw up this big. I've never owned an Apple product myself, but I still acknowledges that they have had quite a few successes, which other companies have been inspired and challenged by.
Hopefully this is just an one-off event.
 
Joke, right? Bitter Grapes? Look, iPhone is what is, changed the way interact with our phone and life. Android as well. To complain is see the glass half empty. The issue is not the phone(s), rather the carriers I have to run my Star Trek Devices on. Let's talk about the FCC and not apple.
 
Yeah, not sure what the big deal is...it still only lets you do one thing at a time. I had to switch from a Droid X for work, even with the one button and only doing one thing at a time, it seems to take longer to do stuff on the iphone then it does on the DX even though you may have more "click through" on android devices...well until ICS comes out...
 
ok, it's not perfect, but for those of us who skipped a generation with the iPhone4 and were using 3GSs, the iPhone 4S is great. Siri, well, it's ok, but voice has always been touchy so we'll see.

I think you're spot on with the camera. As a photographer, i find that it's sometimes pretty good, but usually just ok.

If youre using an iPhone 4 and don't care about siri: wait. If you're on an iPhone 3Gs upgrade would be my advice. iOS5 taxes the old hardware to the point where an upgrade is necessary
 
Definitely once upon a time iphone had set the new standards in the industry but it’s no more able to keep up the pace with industry, Samsung / Android leads all the way now
 
I liked what I read about motion blur! The author of this article assumes there is no real life use for image stabilisation... "because they say the camera has image stabilization. But this feature is undetectable in real life."

This has lost credability for me in reading the rest; I've compared an iPhone 4 (mine) against a 4S side by side recording a video and walking about a bit and then just panning round; the results are outstanding on the 4S compared to the 4...
Joke article?
Several references to things that are iOS5 not iPhone 4S features?
No realisation that the yellow tint will be the glue like in the iPhone 4 that needs time to clear?
Saying the phone is bad because of the new iOS5 apps and iCloud.

The only credible part is the Siri comment. nuff said
 
iPhone fanboys will flock here like a crazy angry mob, watchout ! :D
 
+Mike Elgan - and thats why I like your columns. Even though u are an Apple fan, you are unbiased! Kudos to you for fairly pointing out the flaws. I am an Android fan and I think Apple was in a hurry to throw in their phone to arrest their slide against Android....Guess Apple should do what they do best..go back to drawing boards and come up with better designs instead of thinking how to sue Samsung next.
 
I will say, the camera on the 4s compared to the camera on my DX is better, a LOT less shutter delay and out of the box image cropping and zooming is pretty intuitive. But I still miss the lack of any integration options other than icloud, I use gchat alot for staying in contact with coworkers, and unless I have the IMO chat client always on ( and thus being the ONLY THING my I phone is doing at the time ) I am out of luck.
 
That is an ignorant and mislead author.
 
I'm certainly not the first person to say this but I think that if you were rocking an iPhone 3GS or older making the move to the 4S is worthwhile. If you already have an iPhone 4, it's probably best to wait for the iPhone 5 to be released next year.

If you're an Apple fan-boy you had the 4, got the 4S and will get the 5 when it comes out too :-)
 
The 4s is just a incremented upgrade in terms of hardware. Even Siri a worthy feature should work on iphone 4 but not include. Seems like the marketeers are running the show from now on.
 
I agree that the iPhone 4S is not worth upgrading to from a 4; but disagree with the reasons (apart from Siri) set out in that article...
We can all have our own opinion; and I support that Android will make huge leaps while iPhone 4S does its rounds.
But I can't read an article that cannot see the advantage of the video stabilisation... I was tempted to go against my instincts and actually buy a 4S just for the effectiveness of the video camera!
 
Still waiting for the iPhone 5 here. I just didn't feel like buying an interim model.
 
+jimmy cho I'm sure what you say has a real element of truth, don't get me wrong, but consider for a second the implications on the Siri servers if 25 million people, overnight, started using them for fun. (25 million was the figure for devices running iOS5 last week I believe, since iPad is also capable)
 
+Mike Elgan Apple never claimed the camera had image stabilization for the still camera - that feature is for videos. As for the remark about fewer motion blurs, that was because of the larger aperture which lets in more light. That will help reduce motion blur since the camera can use a higher shutter speed in a similar situation.

I can tell you as a guy coming from a Droid X, the iPhone 4S (on AT&T) is a GREAT phone.
 
Interesting. I see none of that. I love the camera, love the speed, Siri, and my battery life is fine. I don't have notifications turned on for everything on the phone. :-)
 
The dual car processor helps the iPhone 4S run ios 5 better than the iPhone 4 and helps the battery life. It wouldn't be such a big deal if the iPhone had a removable battery but....... 
 
+Chris Cho That's me - I turned off all of the notifications except for those I really want to get. I don't need to be notified of EVERY Facebook or Google+ comment.
 
Why +Mike Elgan is just wrong.

There I've said it.

Dear Mike,
I've followed your writings on g+ for some time now. I applaud your google+ blog style, an furthermore look at your setup as an evolution in social media... Until I read your post just recently and was floored at the utter ignorance that it shows.

On your points to be discussed:
1. Battery life - I've used iOS 5 throughout its beta process and have it on all my iOS devices. The battery life is quite good on the iPhone 4. To counter your completely subjective view on battery life, my experience and that of my other iOS devices is it's better than on iOS 4. You'll find that most users are beating the hell out of their phone, since it's new, and finding poor battery life due to higher than normal use scenarios.
2. The camera bein just awful during motion- honestly Mr. Elgan, have you tried to use any other phone device when trying to capture sports or the like? Your points here seem to be at best to be either user error or outrageous expectations.
3. The yellow "broken" screens are historically something we see every release of the first few runs of iPhones, and furthermore we always see an improvement as the yellow hue is glue which is not cured. The yellow screen was a "feature" of the iPhone 4 and 3GS, to my recollection. Both earlier devices had their yellow screens improve with time.
4.App design- again, this is an iOS 5 feature and has nothing particularly to do with your review of the iPhone 4S. But I'll play your game. There are two applications In my recollection that have the particular theme you suggest, iCal on the Macintosh and Find My Friends. Both have other applications which fill their niche. Both are very replaceable.
5. iCloud is very confusing at times to the layperson. You very clearly show you are a layperson as you have blamed your iMac problem on iCloud, as pages.app on the iMac doesn't have iCloud yet. They are completely disconnected technologies for the time being.
6. Siri- I have no experience but it seems you feel that apple should support every technology with their technology. Yes, Siri supports iCloud, but may not support exchange services, as you are using gmail through their google.com/sync features. Furthermore it may be google's fault, as google may not support the address book fields necessary to remember that "Susan" is equal to "Wife". There is a phonetic field in iCloud's caldav server which assiss Siri.

Please allow me to stipulate all of the above opinions are derived on an iPhone 4.

 
Apple fanboy right here. I didn't get the 4S cuz I own a 4 and didn't find a point upgrading due to minor changes in the 4S. Might as well wait for the 5! 
 
I respect your opinion Mike, but I think you're way off on a few of these.
Battery life: Some are reporting poor batter life and some aren't. This tells you it's most likely a software glitch somewhere that can be fixed. See Chris Breen's MacWorld article as an example.

Camera: You have got to be kidding me. I've been taking photos with the iPhone 4S all over the place and the quality is stunning. I can't believe they're from a Phone. The video is noticeably smoother too. Is the stabilization as good as a dedicated video camera with optical image stabilization? No, it's using digital image stabilization which done right, is definitely better than without.

Siri: Again, I don't know how you're missing the boat here, but Siri is a game changer (and I hate using that term). Siri alone will sell phones because of how good it is. It's scary good. Can you live without it? Sure. But after using it for a few weeks, you won't want to. Should it be available on other handsets like the iPhone 4? Yeah, it should. I'd chalk that one up to the "beta" status along with it's limited capabilities at current, but Siri is going to change the industry again.

To me, the camera alone along with the speed improvements are worth it. I was set to buy a new high-end compact camera for an upcoming vacation, but now I've been given great pause. The camera is that good. Apple has done a great job of combining a top notch sensor, excellent optics, well-done image processing, and great software to boot. That combo is exceedingly hard to find in a phone today. For people who love to point and click wherever they go, it's definitely worth the upgrade.

Oh and speed too. I know the iPhone 4 doesn't seem slow. In fact it's very fast.... until you use an iPhone 4s for a little while and then go back to the 4. Then you notice it, here and there... the 4S has made you jaded.

iCloud is in its beginning stages and already provides some valuable resources for some people. But I don't see why anyone would upgrade to the 4S for iCloud? But for Siri, faster speed and the camera, I don't think you'll see Apple worrying about iPhone sales anytime soon. People will eat this thing up.
 
As for iOS 5, I don't find it draining my battery. Well..at least not for me.
 
I'd hope that the Messages application isn't polling for new messages all the time and the messages are pushed to the phone by the server. I doubt that that will be a source of poor battery life with iOS 5. I can't say that I've noticed a huge hit on the battery life of my iPhone 4 from iOS 5 though. I'll see how my 4S shapes up when it arrives;).
 
Quite a rant but I don't experience the problems you mention. I also have a problem with comments that start with "don't get me wrong" as a qualifier. Why wore about it? Just make your point.
 
My battery life seems to have dropped drastically on my Iphone 4 with the IOS 5.0 update. I wonder why there is such a difference in user experience?
 
+Jim Herd you re correct. It is a push service; but it does poll when you are writing a message to see if the person you are writing to is using iMessage (or maybe if they are "signed in" to iMessage) because if they aren't it can decide to send as SMS or iMessage before you finish writing.
 
Correction on comment: wore should read worry. Rest stands.
 
As far as battery life goes, my 4s has to be charged twice daily I have gone in and turned off location services on most things other than google + and my alarm clock.

Apple could get around the look of certain apps if they allowed users to customize their homescreen(s) with more than just icons, but sadly it seems the only way to get any customization is to jailbreak...
 
I'm waiting for the I Phone 5 so that I can put Android on it just like I have done with my I Phone 4. I am not bothering with the 4S though.
 
The only reason that your wife's iPhone 4 battery life would be worse is that she's using it more. The new notifications system generally is helping my battery life overall. Not seeing the problems with iCloud either and I'm a long term MobileMe user. Your conclusions seem hastily drawn at best.
 
"it should be everything the iPhone is, plus better, faster and easier to use."

It is faster isn't it? Siri does make it better and easier to use, doesn't it? If your premise is that the 4S is not a serious enough incremental upgrade, I think you'd be better off noting the lack of 4G and NFC. Otherwise, there seems to be no substantive evidence within your (respected) opinions, particularly with the camera.
 
+Sterling Phry it sounds like you need to do what my sister did. Condition the battery; draining it until it switches off twice... Then check to turn of location services for Traffic (you might have done that).
I'm guessing you mention Jailbreak but you haven't? I've seen people with JB that just have battery drain issues all day
 
The battery life has dropped on my 4, but I suspect that it's due to the constant usage of location services by everything. Also, if you set up notifications based on location services, then you're telling your phone to check its location frequently.

Currently, location services is used by (running apps): Local Weather, Reminders, Facebook, Maps, Google+

There is also a greater reliance on cloud services with iOS 5 than before. That implies a great number of data pushes. Things like cloud based email, bookmarks, calendars, and notifications require constant pings for synchronization. The same goes for Siri on the 4S.

I think the conscious choice here was to sacrifice battery life for increased capability. It does sound a little like you want to eat your cake and have it, too.
 
Thanks +Mike Elgan for this post. You definitely convinced me: I will not buy the iPhone 4S As you very well said, the global performances of the iPhone 4 are better (even with an iOS 5 demanding a little more energy of the battery).
 
You say that you " intend to exchange [your] black iPhone 4s for a white one." Why not switch to android? Or is this a contract-based thing?
 
It takes some strength to watch your idols fall, I think there's been a crack in the Reality Distortion field and Mike has peered through - Its not often the Legendary Apple lets its fans down by giving them something unfinished or that feels rushed; Its not something Jobs would've been happy about either (I'm sure some will wonder) and That is where alot of Jobs 'Loyalists' will probably start to wonder more about the future of Apple especially now when the iPhone is soo technically outclassed and (arguably) aesthetically matched by the Droid Army
 
+Mike Murphree You put android on your iphone 4? was that a complicated process? Im a bit interested in this.

+Andy Reeves I have looked over jailbreaking info for the 4s , specifically iOS5, the only thing I have really seen is there is a jailbreak for a iOS5 beta 7, but I am a bit reluctant to go full in with that right now. You probably are correct on the draining of the battery, I may work on that this weekend.
 
+Mike Elgan told you... 4s is a good-ish option only if you're really into Apple and own a 3GS. If you have a 4, just wait for 5: that will surely have a different design, great specs and no beta apps pulled out of the App Store and pushed into the device to make it look NEW and COOL... I'm sorry for those who have let Apple fool them with 4S...
 
Where shall I find a smart phone with Retina Display , Bluetooth 4.0 , Dual Antenna , Siri assistant ?
 
+Andy Reeves And Apple didn't anticipate 4 million new phones being sold... plus 21 million (?) existing Siri i<Apple> users. They should have planned for adequate infrastructure to support the feature they are marketing the hell out of as THE 4S feature.
 
+Jamison Hawk haw badly? Mine has dropped but I am using things more; like notifications (i never used to sue them but now love them) and such. I also have find my friends and the iCloud setup on push. So basically I've got alot more turned on and probably get about 6-7 hours of average usage on the meter instead of 7-8 hours...
If you drive a lot; I would recommend switching of Traffic in location services; as Traffic (I think) senses you driving and reports your speed back to (google?) for their traffic info; this used be only on Android.
 
your article worried me a bit. am still waiting on 4s to arrive and this is my first iphone. the comments are settling my unease though.
 
Amazingly the iPhone 4S is still outclassed by the Samsung Galaxy S2 which came out in Europe more than 6 months ago and costs less than half as much on contract.

This video gives a good breakdown by a seemingly objective tech blog iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S 2
 
+Sterling Phry Yeah; just be aware that there might be more going on now..
For instance; on iOS4 with no notifications and only push email; if I had my phone in my pocket at home and it had signal dropouts; no problem.
Now: Ok signal has dropped; need to engage WiFi to re-enable connectivity to iCloud and Find My Friends and Notifications server(s).
Ok Signal is back; drop Wifi and re-enable the connections over GPRS.
Battery battery battery battery... Oh look there is a PC on the network with iTunes on it that I sync to; lets have a chat with that PC so that it knows I'm here and can decide if it needs to open iTunes or update its cache of my settings; chat chat battery battery
 
+Michael Ingraham not taking Apple's side here but... Why? Why spend money when not spending money will make you more money by people upgrading to get a feature? Why not just introduce it (optionally) in iOS5.1 for example?
Business and shareholders want some payback I guess... I'm not overly bothered by it...
 
i've already commented the article itself, but it doesn't appear.
2 points:
1. There were also no big improvements between 3G and 3GS
2. Image stabilization doesn't work on moving objects! Not even on the best DSLR!
 
+Andy Reeves Since Siri's voice recognition is cloud based, getting a "server" not available response is because there isn't enough infrastructure to support the additional load due to use of Siri caused by the launch of 4S... which increased the "visibility" of Siri even for those not buying a 4S. So, Apple needs to spend the money on the back end even more so if more people upgrade their phones.
 
iPhone critics (i.e. Android fans) always say, "look at the specs," "look at no removable battery," "look at no USB port," etc.

Apple's response is always: "That's not important. What's important is the overall experience, ease of use and elegance."

OK, well, the experience of using an iPhone 4s vs an iPhone 4 is that it's harder to use, less convenient, more annoying and far more of my pictures are unusable. That's the relative user experience.
 
Best quote by +Mike Elgan

These are all nice features. But being able to turn the phone on is also a feature, one that becomes unavailable when the battery dies
 
+Mike Elgan Also worth noting that Apple and iPhone fans criticised Android for battery drain, yet now that iOS5 now has all the features that Android has (like location and message push) it is experiencing even worse battery drain.
 
+Mike Elgan So, by your own definition, you're now an Android fanboy because you have just criticized the iPhone ;-)
 
First slip? Jobs hasn't been the active CEO in months.
 
Oh yes I agree there +Michael Ingraham ...
Then again; this is not just a thing we have seen with Siri recently, nor Apple.
Google+ notifications were delayed as load became immense... I think Siri is still Beta isn't it?? (I am prepared for being wrong here)
 
This IS my first iPhone, and I feel that I have taken a technological regression. I can't prove it but I swear that there is something in the 4s ( or maybe iOS5 < - see what i did there? ) that is throttling my 3G access, I haven't had near as many odd signal issues with my DX as I have had with the 4s.
 
wooooow... but i did see it coming.. the weirdest part is that even if people complains about it (like when the 4 came out and people just "decided" to keep their 3gs) they still buy it.. fashion is what is keeping Apple on the top.. lol
 
There is nothing fashionable about 2007.
 
+Sterling Phry you made need a carrier update ;-) of course you may not and that is equally possible.
When you need to charge your batter (after conditioning it) just before you charge; go into settings -> general -> usage and see what the usage timer is.
If it is used heavily, and not for games, then anything over 6 hours is normally OK. 7 hours and above is good. especially with 3G on.
If you have used it for games; that normally kills the battery a lot quicker as they can munch CPU like nobody's business..
I am happy if I need to charge at 7hours.
(If you use the phone as a music player with the screen off; that will increase the usage while using very little battery; so expect higher numbers)
If I've used my phone solidly for playing games; I'm happy when I charge after 4.5 -> 5.5 hours usage.
 
+Andy Reeves These days, BETA has lost it's meaning. Google perfected labeling things BETA even if they were widely distributed. I think Siri falls into that category. It might be BETA, but...
 
I noticed that you said that you used Siri 80% of the time. And that if probably why it is killing your battery. It is no different on Android, using Voice Actions or a Virtual Assistant kills the battery faster than using the keyboard. Syncing to the cloud also eats up battery life. So does push notifications. So does location.

Select the services most important to you. Until we make dramatic improvements in battery technology at least. Well that is what I have been doing with my Android phone.

I am connected to data 24/7 and get push mail. I had social network notifications turned off and instead have them forward my notifications to Gmail, rather than have four or five active apps doing similar things. I update weather every 3 hours and social networks and news every 4 hours.

My battery last 12-20 hours a day before hitting 15%. A good thing is that when I gets to 15% it goes into dumb phone mode (more or less) which turns off all sync and haptic feedback, reduces lighting and leaves me with calls, SMS, MMS and GTalk. In this mode, it goes on for another 8-12 or so hours.

The iPhone 4S is a solid release. It is not magic. iPhone don't have long battery life because of some special design. They simply did less, with Apple balancing what was important to you.

Now, well you have to balance. Stop using Siri, I think you will be happy with battery life again.
 
Thanks for posting this, as I'm still trying to make my upgrade decisions, and thanks +Dudley Kenney for your response and others like it that have kept this phone in the running for me.

Having used a first gen DROID for some time and missing the beauty of the iOS interface and also being somewhat skeptical of the Motorola line altogether, I need all the help I can get.
 
I posted this on my own stream but thought it belonged here as well. A blogger shows a visual comparison between photos taken by all the previous and current iPhones, along with some good "control" snaps by Canon cameras. http://campl.us/posts/iPhone-Camera-Comparison

There is a marked difference at each stage and the 4s blows all the previous ones away. Motion blur is obviously somewhat subjective as different folks will have different tolerances for it in their photographs, depending on the subject.

I have only used other people's 4s phones so far and cannot comment further on its overall improvement over the 4. Mine will be here Monday (hopefully). :)
 
+Karl B. Hille If you are going for another Android, I would go with an HTC phone. HTC's Sense is a nice interface with plenty of additional features (well pretty much all of them are now in Android 4.0). I really would not like Android without it.
 
+Mike Elgan if your 4S is harder to use than a 4; you should take it back and have it replaced under warranty as it is obviously defective. My iPhone 4 is exactly the same dimensions and screen as the 4S, has a worse camera, slower processor and no Siri; how on God's green earth is my 4 better than a 4S ?
If you wan't to compare iOS5 to iOS4; go right ahead... Every single camera test I did came back so, so much better on the 4S; and the 4S feels so much quicker to use than my 4...
 
+Andy Reeves thanks for the tips. I know games chew through battery like no other, I have yet to really justify the paying money for games on the iPhone when I can just get the same ones for free from the android market.

+Mike Elgan If Apple want's a better overall experience then they have some work to do. Then again, the iPhone is really just another smartphone, it does what it says on the tin, even if it's not done well...
 
Yea the iFans have had their pitchforks ready for a bit now especially with the Bio fueling it so I'm actually surprised this little a turnout to defend the iPhone.

+Mike Elgan there is a phone you could recommend its called Galaxy Nexus or would that be going to far?
 
+Michael Ingraham I am no iPhone or even Apple fan. Walled gardens are not for me. But to be objective, when Google does a beta or anyone else (Apple) it is to collect data to improve it. Each use gives Apple info, on what was answered correctly or incorrectly and they can improve it.

Unfortunately I did not see the Siri adds, but I would not advertise a beta.
 
The fact that the guy thinks you need to use iCloud in order to tell Siri who your wife is, means he has either no reading comprehension or is just trolling. Same goes for practically every other point in this article (especially the camera, wtf?).
 
+Sterling Phry you're half right on the price front. But really it's a lot of hype in my opinion ... I mean; what's 69p (UK) really? A game that gives hours of enjoyment for free / 69p / £1.39 ; a few packs of sweets? A Mars bar in some petrol stations?
 
Sorry Mr. Elgan but your "Joke" is just not funny or maybe your just playing devils advocate. Nothing is perfect and if you spend enough time at it, you can find faults (real and imagined) in anything. I agree with +Christopher Klein 's assessment especially the bit about battery life. I am a multiple-cell phone user and carry Blackberry, Android, and iPhone with me daily. Out of the three, the Berry does the best but the iPhone is a close second and after using the Atrix, and Infuse, I have to say Android has the worst battery life by far.

And.., I don't remember Apple every promising an "iPhone 5" that would change the world or something. They never promised or said they would create a product even close to what the "media" or the "people" were dreaming of. They made a phone that was or is better than the last one that released and there really is no debate on that. I for one, love my iPhone 4S and love Siri and I will never be able to go backwards.
 
now is Mike's opportunity to try the Gzlaxy Nexus or SGSII. You probably wouldn't want to go back. Only issue would be leaving the "walled garden"
 
Two out of your six complaints are with iOS5, not the iPhone 4S. I'm a bit late to the party though and I'm sure someone else has already mentioned that. I mostly disagree with your points based on my experience with the phone. That said I have noticed complaints from all around about the phone which I don't experience. I suppose I'm just really lucky. Certainly not naive though, I've returned iPhones in the past because I just thought they were hunks of shit.
 
..its techincally still in Beta, and its a 300.00 per consumer cash cow of a device....STILL IN BETA!
 
Also most people would scream about iOS superiority and now mark it off as not part of the 4S
 
And also with this its Beta push. In short this post made my day. Thanks. 
 
+Eloy Sanchez ; actually what happened was this...
iOS 5 released.
iPhone users update and report that they like the new features.
Android users see these and proclaim that Apple users are calling them innovative and there is nothing innovative about them.
Apple users confused as they didn't mention innovative and just happy to have these features.
Android users call Apple users delusional for thinking that they are new features
Apple users confused more as the features are actually new to iOS
Some guy reviews the new hardware but lists faults with the iOS not the actual hardware, so faults all iOS 5 users may experience if they don't know how to use a phone.
Apple users point out the distinction between the two
Android user proclaims that Apple users said iOS 5 was superior and now don't want to associate it with the 4S
Apple user retorts that is not the case; but reviews for the OS which will have updates should not cloud the reviews for the hardware which is only an improvement.

And there is nothing Beta about "push"... iOS 2 had push... and 3 and 4... or do you mean Siri?
 
+Mike Elgan Had not +Steve Jobs passed away recently, i would have echoed the sentiments. IPhone sucks big time, but as a matter of fact every other phone sucks even more than the IPhones.
 
Wow Mike. I am surprised to hear this from you. You earned some points with me.
 
I mean people saying that buying a iPhone this early makes them beta testers having used Google who is big on beta releases I can tell you that Apple never meant anything besides SiRi to be a beta release. And just to clarify I do believe iPhone is playing catch up to Android features which is harder than design change that Android is going thru now. Also Apple unlike Android doesn't have developers changing the OS in new innovative ways they are restricted to incorporating apps. So I'm saying defense 4S came out with hype which is now being corrected. 
 
Hey +Mike Elgan I think you're getting thrown out of the iPhone fan club, but you're always welcome to come over to the "dark side" of Android! LOL
 
+Andy Reeves One thing I think people fail to realize is that the iPhone v. Android competition is relatively non-existent right now. They are all smartphones but they are now catering to different markets.

iPhones only cater to the high end market. Androids compete against low cost symbians to the high end market. At the top end, there is no high end Android 3.5-inch +/- device. Similarly, there is no Apple with a large screen or physical keyboard or that does 3D video.

All these devices actually do work. I select devices for the hardware. I like larger screens (am nearsighted and have big hands). The OS, I can pretty much learn how to use any OS and they all have calls, SMS, MMS, email, instant messaging, calendars... etc.

Basically, you have fanboys on both sides... and it is like comparing a netbook to a 11-inch laptop and to a 14-inch laptop and trying to figure out which is better among the three.

As for the iPhone 4S itself, if I was to buy a phone with a 3.5 inch screen more or less, I would go with the iPhone right now. It is the only one that size (from a reputable manufacturer) that has a dual core processor, which means it should be more future proof than a single core phone.
 
+Roberto Lim +Andy Reeves +Mike Elgan I dont think so that is entirely true, Apple & Samsung have neck to neck line of products in the range domain and priced pretty competively, also android has benefit of having cheaper implementations. So !!!!! its open source it shall be exposed / exploited / used where ever deemed necessary, a place where apple dosent have a lot of fan following, because of there closed approach on OS & market.
 
+Rohit Shrivastava The 3.5-inch Samsung is the Galaxy Ace, which is really too low end to appeal to someone looking at an iPhone 4/4S grade phone. The 4.3 to 4.5-inch Samsung Galaxy S II's or the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus will not appeal to everybody, it is big. Unless all of a sudden, screen size, or how a phone fits in our hands, does not matter to us anymore.
 
I could not disagree with you more. I've had every phone except the original, and this one is a huge leap for me. The processing power is significantly noticeable. The screen is great (I have a white 4s). The video is phenomenal. Siri has been spot on 90+% of the time (and I use it 20-30 times a day). The only thing that I agree on is battery life, which I imagine they'll address in the next update. And honestly, who cares if they throw stitching into the apps?
 
Great. And I was just informed by work that I had no choice of Android any more. Have to use either the 4S or some Blackberry deal. Had to go 4S so hopefully I don't see these issues.

Will bet that the battery has issues. Hopefully there is a way in settings to shut down some of the notification pushes to help with the battery life. There appears to be a lot of "constantly on" things with my wife's 4S that I would think would hurt the battery life.
 
+Andy Reeves It seems to have dropped about 25% but you are probably right that I am using it more. I assume the new messenger service is hurting it. I had not noticed the traffic switch and have now turned that off. Thanks for the help. I will have to keep looking in the settings for other options that I don't utilize.

Either way I still love my iPhone 4 and would not trade it for anything (except maybe the 4S).
 
3Gs was noticeably faster than the 3G and even now, the 3Gs isn't exactly a slouch.
 
Just want to point out that iOS marketshare growth slowed to a crawl in 2011 and iPhone sales would have to least quadruple to just reach parity with Android phone growth.
 
A Thousand Nations of the Droid Army Descend upon you!!! :p The Iphone is just a fashion statement now, its meaningless to boast about new advanced features as if it could really challenge the Droids
 
+Roberto Lim and +Rohit Shrivastava
Bothe have a long way to come and I agree on different markets.
I am in an extremely technical role and just prefer simplicity in iOS; many in my office do or want to switch to it.
I can imagine Android would be good for me had I not the need for this simplicity.
Prior to Galaxy Nexus iPhone had highest res screen. Still has highest DPI though I think. I love that. Slim, simple, smooth fonts. Perfect for big emails.
I don't agree with saying a 4S is worse than a 4 because I've got both side by side; it's just not true. Fan or not...
 
+Jamison Hawk glad to help any way I can.
I say I've lost 15% life for about 80% more useful features like all my apps having notifications on.
Custom vibrate alerts don't use battery but they deserve a mention as I burn battery making them ;-)
 
I'm impressed Mike, but really, before you handed out such unfettered praise of the 4S you should have used it for a few weeks first .. better late than never I suppose, anyway you get points from being able to change your mind, which is probably harder than keeping it opened in the first place and waiting to see what develops, then make up your mind.

As for those who are making excuses for Apple, please remember that the reason we keep hearing as to why people should be going with Apple instead of Android was that "it just worked", and all these "beta" problems were reasons for not going with Android and Google ... poor battery performance, apps that didn't work properly, ugly design, etc ... now that Apple is having the same issues seems that these "problems" no longer matter ... I guess it's so much "cooler" to be out of batteries on an iPhone than it is on an Android? So much cooler to manage power hungry apps on an iPhone than it is on an Android? So much cooler to figure out workarounds for misbehaving apps on an iPhone than it is on an Android? So much cooler to have ugly app UIs on an Apple than an Android .. heck, maybe Google should sue Apple for "slavishly copying" Googles' "show stopping problem" patents?
 
Could the battery problem be its dual core processor?
 
+Andy Reeves Your point about the Iphone still having the highest DPI isnt true, the LG LU6200 has more and the Samsung HD LTE (only released in korea so far) was the first 720p sAMOLED that I know of and closely matches the Retina DPI plus its Amoled which is Incredible on its own they never had a need for increased DPI, new Motorola RAZR is the slimmest phone out there now with Amoled display 1080p video, 8mp stills, IceCreamSandwich coming next year - these specs are all mindbending but if you love your iphone and it works its not like you need to change
 
+Chris Enright yeah; hard to keep up. It's mainly the DPI for my eyes reading text
Not sure on figures. 720 res is good but prefer DPI myself. Didn't notice it has been Newtown thanks for the info.
Yeah; this is filling all my needs and more ;-)
 
+Chris Enright hits the nail on the head, 'if it works for you don't change' <- ok, I paraphrased a little. If you like iPhones great, I like Androids. The main thing I'd like to see is great Apple phones, great Android phone and even great Microsoft 7 phones so there's competition to keep the innovation growing and prices down.
What I hate seeing is the companies paying lawyers to argue in court about who's idea is who's!
 
+David Landry Thanks that's my exact point. 
 
+Mike Elgan I have seen a little increase in battery usage in my 4 but not enough to not suspect your battery issues are either due to a bad phone or to the 4s (either siri or hardware wise).

As for screen, that I do very strongly suspect you got a bad phone as yellow screen has been a common complaint in the 4 (and the S is using the same screen). It seems luck of the draw if some one gets a horridly yellow screen. I'd take yours back to the apple store and see if they will replace yours.

And I wasn't that impressed with Siri when I tried it a little in the Apple store honestly. I apparently can find the commands it can't understand.

As for the direction of app design, yeah, I agree but that is more an Apple going in a direction rather than specific to the 4s problem.

And iCloud is nice if you do use Apple's ecosystem and I suspect apple isn't too interested in supporting other cloud systems as they want you to get into their ecosystem. I'm actually surprised they have some support for calendars and contact synching on the PC (and pissed that if you have a PC it will just synch your pics into a folder but you have to buy APple's crappy iphoto app if you have a mac to use Photostream. So punish the people using their computer... hrmph). But really I suspect that supporting any other system is more to try to convince you to go to their's ;).

Though I will say iCloud setup was a bit of a pain and I don't expect some one like my parents would want to even try to set it up... I'm kinda afraid that maybe I'll mess something up if I try to set it up for them and then their phone will be all wonky and they won't know what to do with it. It's definitely not a seamless setup that apple is supposed to be good at.
 
+Sean Ong I'm sorry, but the 4 was definitely a worthy upgrade over the 3G for processor speed alone (I could understand your statement if you had a 3GS or just needed basic smartphone capability).

1. Faster speed (this alone makes it so I would be really annoyed if I had to go back to my 3G. And I loved my 3G before I got the 4). This by itself is why I think it is a far worthy upgrade over the 3G (the 3G was running a processor a year old when it came out as it had the same processor as the original iPhone. And it shows in how slow it was running by the time iOS 4 came out. NOtice the 3GS is still a relevant phone where the 3G was laggy even on iOS 3).
2. A decent camera (that was one thing I thought pretty bad about the 3G even when I first got it, it had a horrid camera. Slow shutter, bad image, couldn't do any pictures that weren't well illuminated).
3. Better GPS (yes, my 4 gets a much faster and more accurate lock on my location. It was obvious to me they upgraded the GPS even though they didn't mention it. ANd it was confirmed when fixit did a teardown).
4. Better battery life (though to be fair maybe this was cause my 3G was getting old ;) as batteries do lose life eventually).
5. Better screen (though to me this was just a nice extra. It's not something I would have bought the phone for or upgraded for).

The 3G in my opinion was probably the worst upgrade of all the iPhones (though I can't say cause I haven't tried a 4S and honestly, time will tell on the 4S cause I think where it has potential is the same where the 3GS, in having such a good speed bump in processor it may stay relevant far longer than my 4 will which only had a small speed bump over the 3Gs. But unlike the 3G at least it had a speed bump.
 
It seems lots of Apple fans have hard time admitting that others are also entitled to Think Different :D 
 
Samsung Galaxy Nexus is coming, you know!
 
Everything with you Elgan is either "the most amazing device ever", or "the worst device ever". You always go to extremes, and your writing suffers from serious lapses of logic and instead is consumed with hyperbole. Don't worry about blocking me because of criticism, I'll be blocking you NOW.
 
QUALITY!
Before the iPhone 4s launched, +Mike Elgan predicted it would be the best phone ever built.
Now, he is telling us he was wrong, the iPhone 4s kind of sucks.
This represents the kind of quality that I look for in people that I want to circle.
Thumbs up, Mike :-)
 
I lolled at cult of Mac.
People assume that the 4S has 100 hours less standby time means that the battery will last less during a day of usage.
If the author really wants to think that the video stabilisation will affect the standard image then they can remain deluded.
Maybe the author can learn to read the instructions? Or how shutter speed works?
A lot of the comments point out flaws in the article. I'm glad it's been successfully summarised to:

"I got a 4S and can't read how it's supposed to work and I'm going to blame all the faults of the OS I can find on the phone. Oh and the screen's yella"

I hate Apple by the way. I only appreciate the iPhone 4 but have compared a 4 to a 4S first hand; side by side. I can confirm that, both on iOS 5; the 4S wins hands down and most of the article us horse manure.

The parts on battery life and yellow screen can be resolved by the use of the 1 year of Apple's "We'll just give you a new handset" warranty that I have come to admire.

Apart from the iPhone and the warranty; I dislike apple and most of the products since I was 8.

Un-following what is obviously link bait for revenue. 
 
im getting tons of calls and hangups by friends or people with iPhones, apparently 'is' sounds like 'Liz' and so when it gets it wrong, it just calls me everytime they ask a question containing 'is'
 
+Adrian Chen Sorry, I wasn't saying that Mike wasn't seeing battery issues. I was saying that I don't think it is due to iOS5 more than either his phone's hardware or Siri (I phrased that badly). My 4 seems to run 5 fine without too much drain on the battery (if it has any it's not enough to affect my usage of it honestly).
 
Hmm, wish you'd told me this before I purchased mine. Guess I'm stuck with it now. I'll try to send it back if it's that bad.
 
I own both and I live my 4S, I didn't dare read all the comments. Maybe you have a defective one.
 
Running iOS5 on my iPhone 4 and battery life is still excellent. I seem to recall, +Mike Elgan, that you were urging people to withhold excessive judgement of Google+ as it was still beta and early in the game. I also found many of your comments surprisingly subjective in nature. I've ordered my 4s after seeing friends use theirs, especially seeing how much they like Siri. And a photographer friend thinks quite highly of the camera.
 
Thanks Paul, I feel better about ordering mine now. I think I'll reserve my judgement until it's in my hands. I guess because it's apple I can always return it if I have any major issues with it.
 
Apple markets well. So well, in fact, that they can spin lies into what people will believe to be true. They can tell the world the iPhone 4S is awesome and people will believe that. Those people have never heard of Android and think Apple invented all technology, and deserve to one day buy a steaming turd with an Apple logo on it, because Apple showed them an ad saying the iTurd is awesome.
 
+Mike Elgan Get a Galaxy Nexus (just for a spin) and then go to https://market.android.com and try out Iris.
It's an alpha release coded in just 8 hours. Now you have a better phone and a voice assistant you can love.
To be clear this is still in Alpha but it's being quickly updated and already it has more personality than siri. So if Siri is Apple's only real reason to upgrade well I don't think it'll compare all that well as a must have. It really has become at least as it is now more of a fashion/bandwagon.

On another note it would probably be wise to not post That review on CoM, something tells me they wouldn't take it too well.
 
Yes Apple markets well (yet), but a IPhone at least is not better than an Android or windows phone. The point I'll never (never, never, even it's the last phone on earth) buy an Apple product is the deceptive business acts. Sorry but a company which dictates where and which apps I have to buy, where I have to buy music, what websites are ok, or even what programs I am able to use will collapse. Yes I'm a fan of open source products, and I'm sure open source will prevail.You neither can seal the markets in a global world nor in a company.
 
first, kudos on your honesty +Mike Elgan . second, WOW to Cult of Mac comments. I understand disagreeing and having a different user experience but damn, let's attack the writer and call him a "douche bag" among other things because he has a different opinion about something. they need to unplug and go outside more. just sayin...
 
Funny how Apple people ALWAYS have an excuse. "Oh, it's not the iPhone 4S problem, it's an iOS 5 problem, they'll definitely fix that." "Oh, it's not an antenna problem, it's the way people hold their phones problem, Mister Jobs said so." "Oh, it's not an iPhone problem that we don't have cut and paste, we don't actually need cut and paste, so it's technically not a problem." etc. etc.
 
Funny how Android fans always bring up 3 year old iOS problems whent hey run out of reasons to attack the platform...
There's excuses for a reason. Most of these problems are in iOS because they are in every device that runs iOS5 at the moment; not just the 4S...
 
I agree with +Ru Ramjee. I don't know how many people I have talked to who own iPhones, tell me all of the things it can do, assume it is the only phone on the planet with that capability, yet couldn't tell me what a Galaxy S2 is. I had a guy tell me today that Apple came out with facial recognition to unlock their phone lol... didn't know Apple made the Galaxy Nexus. You guys have to let it go, IT'S NOT YOUR COMPANY. There are better products out there... get over it already.
 
+Trevor Sharp what's better for you might not be better for someone else. There are so many different variables to take into consideration...
I had a deaf friend who studied at University with me; and I know that she likes the Face Time for signing. Before you jump in and say "but you can do that on..." what im coming to is now she has an LED strobe that can flash to alert her of an incoming call; using the LED flash on the phone; as part of the native accessibility options.
I, myself, admire the steps forward Samsung have taken with Android; and with the Galaxy Nex it's the closest I have been to going back to the Android OS... But for now; I'm sticking with iOS because it is best for my situation. Mother has the iPad as it is easy to understand; and now can message me direct just like a text message, no apps or anything required. Friends have an iPhone and the find friends thing makes it easy to see who's still at work without having to contact them (I know this is not only on iOS but it isn't inter-OS capable is my point here).
Finally; peace of mind. I've had hardware issues before with the iPhone 4 I currently have: the home button didn't click sometimes; about once a day it might miss a few presses. From my phone i made an appointment at my local Apple store; and within 10 minutes of sitting down I had a new iPhone 4 in my hands.
I like that service. That's my experience. And until I have seen otherwise; iOS is still for me.
So not everyone needs to wake up and see the light. There are people, like myself, who are fully aware of what all OS are offering; WP7 included; but have chosen iOS for a reason.
From a business perspective; the password encrypted storage is a huge plus to me (not the only os to do I know); so when it's all tied in together; I'll only consider Android for my next device when the iPhone 5 comes out and I re-evaluate at that point.

Not everyone's an iTard/iFan/iLetterInFrontIsI
 
+Delfie Melchor To be accurate about the Cult of Mac commenters, I get attacked when I praise Apple products (which is usually the case), dismissed as a deluded fanboy.
 
+Andy Reeves. I completely agree with you. Apple does some things better than anyone else. Android really has nothing close to Siri yet. What drives me crazy is the BLIND praise about everything Apple. I will give credit where credit is due. I switched from an iPhone 4 to a Galaxy S2 and overall I discovered that I had to jailbreak the iPhone to turn it into what the Galaxy comes as standard. Honestly, I was a fanboy initially too until I tried the Galaxy. Like you, I will re-evaluate when the iPhone 5 comes out. I will buy the new Nexus day 1.
E Turek
 
My wife just upgraded from the 3gs to the 4s(black). I have a 4 (black) as well as a Samsung Galaxy S android. Here is our experience comparing my old 4 black to her new 4s black:

1. Battery life is a challenge but not "horrible"; it just needs to be managed if not able to be kept on a charger. Just like the 3gs or 4, the more features you leave on, the faster it drains.

2. I took identical low-light indoor photos on the 4 and 4s and the 4s quality was WAY better. I have never had the expectation of my PHONE to take still photos moving objects, I use video function for that.

3. The 4s screen is not broken nor nauseating to look at. Side by side, trying to match the brightness exactly, there is a barely perceptible "warmer" look to it and blues do not look greenish.

4. None of the apps we use have a new "cheesy" look.

5. Though we have not tested it much, I would tend to agree here. My friends that have tested iCloud found it challenging.

6. Siri, works best for us when connected to wi-fi of course and we have had zero issues with reliability or servers being overloaded. We were using the Dragon app to convert voice to text (not always perfectly either) and would then have to copy and paste into an email etc. Siri does what Dragon does, and just as well, and then takes it to the next level by sending a SMS or email for you. If this is beta, I cant wait to see the finished release.
 
+Mike Elgan Those who criticize you for blending iOS 5 and iPhone 4S issues are clearly confused or engaging in doublespeak.

Apple has always boasted about a superior user experience, exclusively possible because of strong software and hardware integration. However, the fanboys now dismiss your criticism as merely an operating system issue.

The iPhone 4S is not distinct or separate from iOS 5 because it is a unified user experience. When a person buys an Apple product, they buy the WHOLE product, and if any single component of it does not meet expectations, the ENTIRE product did not meet expectations. This is the ugly side of integration, and you can't have it both ways.
 
1)Screen brightness OFF / 2)Push email (multiple account) turn OFF automatic,use manual /3)Notification list of app's turn OFF the list doesn't need./ 4)Background app's,close the one don't need, this simple steps can help reduce huge battery consuming
 
Are you serious? iPhone 4S sucks? Really?
 
But it's an Apple product. It must be the best in the world, that's what Apple said. They can't lie, they're too awesome. Right?
 
okay so tell me the name of the phone which can beat iphone .
 
+Fatik Owais Samsung Galaxy *, or prit-near any phone that will play a youtube video or have audible gps for free :)
 
Boring. Just another standard Apple/iPhone hater. Your points are merely anecdotes from your own personal experiences & I doubt have nothing in common with the vast majority of satisfied iPhone users. Sad. My girlfriend finally got rid of her stupid, pathetic, useless Android phone yesterday and upgraded to an iPhone & is the happiest person I've ever seen. I don't see how the two can even be compared. Android is inferior in virtually every way I can think of. iPhones aren't perfect, but I'd love to know what phone out there is better. I sincerely doubt there's one remotely close....
 
Scott, I'm sorry. People may freely choose whichever OS suits them best, but anyone who thinks that Android is useless because iOS CAN DO MORE, is an uninformed person. You simply have ZERO idea what you are talking about. You want to say you prefer iOS? Fine. I can dig that. Each to their own. But there are so many things that you can do with Android that you can't do with even a jailbroken iphone, that it makes me wonder if you have even been paying attention. Also, if you knew anything at all about Mike, you would have already known he is FAR from an apple hater. Grow up. Stop pretending you are part of Team Apple, and just use whatever makes you happy.
 
Thanks for the article. I might just get the iPhone 4 (not 4s).
 
I purchased the iPhone 4S on launch day, only to return it 1 week later. The battery life was absolutely horrendous, and was practically not even usable. Thankfully I held onto my iPhone 4, and will continue to use that until the next generation iPhone...
 
I've owned every iPhone since the 3G. The 4S is the best one I've owned to date. The camera is great, iOS 5 is great, Siri is useful, the speed is faster, and the battery is comparable to all my other iPhones.
 
Solution; update to 5.0.1, it will not fix the chunky look and feel, but everything else seems to work fine since the update (and I love Siri, though looking forward to get a female voice)
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