After much anticipation, and well over a year since the release of the iPhone 4, Apple has unveiled their top-of-the-line iPhone, the iPhone 4S. No, it’s not the iPhone 5, which was rumored to have a larger screen, thinner and lighter form factor, and other improvements. Technology critics, consumers, and industry analysts are probably left wondering what happened to the *real* upgrade. In a day when Android is accelerating ahead with big HD displays, upcoming quad-core CPUs, and many advancements in software, it’s easy to see how the incrementally-improved iPhone 4S is not enough to compete. The iPhone 4S, in a vacuum, is a great device. It’ll surely take fantastic photos and video, will offer improved performance, and will continue to be a top-notch smartphone all-around. But here’s where it fails and disappoints:
Today, 3.5″ is just not big enough for a screen size. The market has proven that bigger is better–to a point–and that there are clear advantages to going to 4″ and beyond. In such cases, the on-screen keyboard becomes easier to use, photos are more easily sharable, and the web comes to life. Going to a bigger size also lets developers make better use of screen elements because they can make them smaller.
The iPhone 4 chassis is still one of the thinnest on the planet. It’s also durable and uses top-notch materials in its construction. But the design is dated. It’s an unassuming slab that lacks any interesting design elements. No brushed metal, no varied textures, no huge screen on the front to set it apart from the sea of other smartphones available.
Timing couldn’t be worse for the iPhone 4S. In 2012, we’re going to see a remarkable jump in hardware in the Android camp, and likewise for Windows Phone 7 towards the end of next year. If Apple keeps to their release cycle, we won’t see another iPhone until this time next year, or the summer at the earliest. By then, quad-core phones will be common, so will large, 1280×720 resolution displays.
Overall, I’m very disappointed that we didn’t see an iPhone 5 today. How about you?