iPhone 4S: What you need to know

Kevin Schaul

Apple unveiled this year’s iPhone earlier today, but is it worth the upgrade? Twin Cities Tech Corner breaks down what you need to know:

  • The iPhone 4S, as it’s called, looks almost identical to the iPhone 4. It’s faster, has a much-improved camera, and includes a digital personal assistant (really).
  • Sprint is the newest carrier of the iPhone, joining AT&T and Verizon, and making Apple’s products available on the nation’s three largest carriers.
  • The iPhone 4 and 3GS will get the iOS 5 update, also announced today, although some features may not come to the older devices.
  • Notably, iOS 5 includes a better notification-management system, an exclusive instant messaging platform and deep Twitter integration.
  • The iPhone 4S’s new camera is 8 megapixels, up from 5, and can shoot video at 1080p. Apple has dubbed it “the you-can’t-believe-it’s-on-a-phone camera.”
  • If you’re already on the iPhone 4, the update probably isn’t worth it, unless crisp photography and gaming are necessities. History indicates Apple will have a more substantial update next year, and your iPhone 4 will get most of the software updates.
  • If you’re on an older iPhone (3G or 3GS) and are happy with Apple’s ecosystem, this update makes sense. The jump to the iPhone 4 was huge, thanks to the retina display, a new form factor and speed increases. Add more speed and a better camera, and the $199 becomes well spent. Your old iPhone makes a great gift for your mother.
  • If you’ve been waiting to switch to an iPhone, don’t fall for the $99 iPhone 4; jump straight to the iPhone 4S. When next year’s update rolls around, you’ll likely pick up more from the software upgrade than iPhone 4 users.
  • Not in love with Apple’s devices? There are plenty of other great options on the market.

The iPhone 4S will be available for preorder Oct. 7, and will be in stores Oct. 14.

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