With the repeatedly rumoured Apple iPhone 4S now a thing of reality, T3 has asked some of the industry’s leading minds their views on the dual-core iOS 5 packing Samsung Galaxy S II challenger and iPhone 4 replacement.
Officially unveiled during Apple's October 4th 'Let's talk iPhone' event, the Apple iPhone 4S has a lot to live up to and compete with following on from the iPhone 4 and lining up against a selection of dual-core Android powerhouses. With Apple frequently splitting views here are what the industry insiders make of the iPhone 4S.
Apple iPhone 4S Reaction: The experts’ opinions
Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor, The Daily Telegraph
Apple's new iPhone 4GS does what the company needs it to: keep the phone at the very top of the smartphone tree.But what it doesn't do is put clear water between Apple and the competition - if an open-minded punter walks into a mobile retailer tomorrow, there are plenty of reasons to go for a top Google Android handset.
Next week Samsung launches the latest Nexus handset, with Google. Now more than ever, the search giant has a chance to dominate this new space. Even if they take it, Android will not have the iPhone's allure - but today, for the first time, it really feels like that crucial shift is actually possible.
Mark Mason, CEO, Mubaloo:
Beauty lies on the inside. This is certainly the message that consumers expecting a newly designed iPhone will need to bear in mind. The 4S is a clear step up from the 4, allowing it to compete with the top end Android devices on a global scale. For the gaming community, the A5 will bring unrivalled graphics performance to the 4S that brings a level of detail to games which has the ability to out rival some console games systems.
From a developer perspective, it is the new APIs and features in the Apple iOS 5 brings that truly excite. Siri for the 4S will show what is possible to bring truly innovative applications to end users, and what the new boost in processor speed is capable of handling with ease.
This will have far reaching effects into the enterprise arena, providing not just contextual, but also highly functional capabilities. With 93 per cent of Fortune 500 companies either testing or implementing iOS devices, it is clear Apple understands the potential for such an app.
Lynnette Prigmore, Head of Product - Proporta
"As with the rest of the tech world, at Proporta HQ we've been eagerly awaiting what Apple were going to announce at their event this evening. And despite having a similar form factor to the iPhone 4, we're impressed with the new features - especially Siri.
Duncan Bell, Operations Editor, T3
I'm probably not exactly sticking my neck out when I say that this iPhone 4 with knobs on is going to continue the massive success Apple has had with the iPhone to date.
The way Apple has turned the handset's camera, initially a perceived weakness, into one of its biggest selling points says it all – constant refinement, improvement and, where necessary, filching of other people's ideas, keeps the iPhone on top - but that only works because it was the best in the first place.
This incarnation's best "new" idea is, of course… Find My Friends, which appears to have been "borrowed" from no less a source than Flare Gun, the app from T3's own Adam Bunker. The whole "personal assistant" thing seems jolly clever - it should be, it's a refinement of Google's Voice Actions - but if you ever see me barking instructions at an inanimate object, just shoot me, eh?
Rich Martell, Founder and CEO, Floxx
Although words like ‘seeding’ and ‘developers’ were dropped, and the audience got a detailed breakdown of what makes the iPhone 4S so special ‘on the inside’, the sense of disappointment is evident on a lot of faces.
Siri is certainly a cool feature, and one that will no doubt increase racket in (already noises) Apple stores, but some of the other features mentioned in the keynote seem only to raise eyebrows. Cards and ‘nano watches’, for example, are cute ideas but they represent much more than that – Apple want to be the Disney of computers. This analogy was set in stone for me as the Mickey Mouse nano clock face flashed up on the giant screen.
Once upon a time, Apple users occupied a sacred space that Ben and Jerry’s, Harley Davidson and The Grateful Dead all held dear – all of these were brands that were once counter-cultural, vital, ‘for outlaws only’. Gradually, each became the property of the masses, and I can only wonder whether Apple is seeking to do the same.
Luke Peters, Editor, T3
Gasps from the UK media when the name and same case design was announced hammers home just how much people wanted a newer-looking device. However, it's more powerful, has a 1080p camera that will put the nail in the coffin of the camcorder industry and comes with the HAL-like Siri. The iPhone 4S might be an incremental upgrade but it's still the best iPhone you can buy.
David Phelan, Gadgets Editor, Time Out
So of course it's not the iPhone 5, but maybe expectations were just too high. After all, the 3G casing ran for two years. And once you use it, the differences are really apparent, with iOS 5 working at great speed and apps launching promptly. If you thought the iPhone 4 was fast, this is lightning.
It's a gentle upgrade, for sure, and the main issue will be the fact that it looks identical. Siri is very cool, and the wide aperture camera will make a real difference, as will the new camera functions. And, hey, there shouldn't be any problems with dropping calls…
Matt Hill, Deputy Editor, T3
Seven times the graphics capabilities of the iPhone 4, the same dual-core A5 chip that's in the iPad 2, 8-megapixel camera with vastly improved lens and light filters, voice-recognition beyond what anyone's seen on a handset – you have to ask what more people can ask of Apple?
Well, "make it look a bit different" seems to be the answer, as there was palpable disappointment across the internet, with the firm's shares falling 4%, during its 'Let's Talk About iPhone' event. Expectations have clearly got out of control - the iPhone 4S is more of an upgrade on the iPhone 4 than the 4 was on the 3GS.
It raises Apple's game again, only to a technical par with its competitors but, importantly and often ignored, with a consistent and ever-intuitive ecosystem that makes the most of those technical advancements.
What else were they really supposed to do? We knew iOS 5 and iCloud were imminent, and this was always an event about a new, improved phone to make the most of that. Apple has delivered, regardless of the monicker.
The iPhone 5 will have its own big day, away from the iBluster of clouds and new OSs. If Tim Cook and co had shaved off the edges of the handset and called it the iPhone 5, it would have been embraced to the world's style-tech bosom.
Damn our ever-increasing focus on aesthetics and surface details over and above anything else. Personally, I blame Apple.
David James, CEO, mxData
At mxData we believe the announcement of the iPhone 4S and a new version of the iOS will generally be well received by the industry and especially by app development companies such as ourselves. Smartphones are becoming adopted by more and more consumers, who want to access information wherever they are, and I believe the iPhone 4S will again raise the standard of smartphones allowing more of us to work, rest and play while on the move.
Developing for multiple operating systems is not straightforward, but all the leading players provide great platforms for us to develop ground breaking applications. At mxData our development teams have been busy preparing for the latest iPhone release for some months now and are really excited about the future of the industry.
More expert views and opinions to follow...
What do you make of the Apple iPhone 4S, major disappointment or welcomed overhaul? Let us know via the comments box below.