On Tuesday, Apple announced the iPhone 4S, along with a few new apps and a modest upgrade to the iPod line. Despite receiving over 200,000 pre-orders on AT&T alone, many are considering this evolutionary upgrade the iPhone a disappointing one, but I disagree for three major reasons.
1. Carrier Contracts
The iPhone 4S is a modest upgrade to the iPhone 4, and owners of the iPhone 4 don't have much of a reason to upgrade to the 4S. However, Apple is not targeting the 4S at iPhone 4 owners. Why? iPhone 4 owners will not even be eligible for a phone upgrade until later this year. iPhone 4 owners on Verizon won't be even be eligible for an upgrade until late next year. So, the iPhone 4S is not targeted to iPhone 4 owners, but iPhone 3GS owners, whose contracts expired this summer. Compared to the 3GS, the iPhone 4S is a dramatic upgrade. Apple pulled this same move in the summer of 2009, when they launched the 3GS.
The iPhone 4S introduces Siri, a voice assistant, to the iPhone that appears to be amazing. This feature alone will urge many to upgrade to this new iPhone. Apple could have only added Siri to the iPhone 4 and there would be reason to buy this new iPhone.
3. Hardware Upgrades
Although it may look the same as the iPhone 4 on the outside, the 4S includes decent hardware upgrades as well. The camera was dramatically improved, and the photos on Apple's website are stunning. The processor was also dramatically enhanced, now with dual-cores and much better graphics performance. The 4S is also a world phone that will work internationally on Verizon and Sprint (AT&T's GSM iPhone 4 already supported this).
Although it may not look promising on the outside, the iPhone 4S has plenty to offer and can easily stand up to the competing Android phones except, perhaps, in data speeds as the iPhone 4S does not have 4G LTE capability. However, this should lead to better battery life compared to 4G Android phones.
The iPhone 4S will be launched on October 14, 2011 and is available for pre-order now. iOS 5 will be launched on October 12.