iPhone 4s: Should You Upgrade or Not?

Apple released the iOS5 upgrade for iPhone and iPad last week. It is a major upgrade and is free. I downloaded it immediately. It has some great new features, not the least of which is the the ability to sync your mobile devices without connecting to your desktop first (via iCloud).

However, I was reluctant to upgrade the phone itself. I already had an iPhone 4. Why did I need a 4s? I just wasn’t sure it was worth the investment, especially since I got most of the new bells and whistles with the iOS5 upgrade.

However, one of my daughters upgraded to the iPhone 4s on Friday. She convinced me to try it, especially after I realized that I could like get $300+ for my iPhone 4 on Ebay.com or one of the used gadget sites.

So, after speaking in Indianapolis on Saturday morning, I walked across the street to the AT&T store and bought the 64GB model in black. I didn’t have to wait in line, and they activated it for me on the spot. They also transferred my contacts to it.

After using it for the last 24 hours, I am impressed. Here are the three biggest benefits to me.

  1. A Digital Assistant. Siri, is the voice recognition software Apple has built into the 4s. (It is not available on the 4.) You can speak to it like you would a real person. You can ask it for your next appointment, the weather forecast in any city, or directions to your destination. You can even ask it for restaurant recommendations near you. I found it surprisingly accurate.

    This technology is also built into email and texting. This enables you to dictate a text message or an email message and Siri will transcribe it—supposedly. For some reason, I found this much less accurate and, frankly, not worth the effort. I am going to continue trying and see if Siri gets “smarter” with practice.

  2. A More Powerful Camera. The 4s boasts an 8 megapixel sensor. That is 60 percent more pixels than the iPhone 4 and more than enough for 90 percent of the shots I need to take. (For those rare, high-end shots, I have a Canon 60D with 18 megapixels.)

    In addition to the sensor, the 4s sports a new fifth lens, an enlarged aperture (f/2.4), face detection, and reduced motion blur (i.e., image stabilization). It also now allows for basic photo editing—crop and rotate photos, auto-enhance photos, and remove red-eye. It can also shoot gorgeous 1080p HD video.

  3. A Faster Processor. The 4s uses the dual-core A5 chip—the same one used in the iPad. It is twice as fast as the iPhone 4. Apple claims that it delivers up to two times more power and up to seven times faster graphics. In my limited use it seems much quicker and more responsive. It is delightful to use.

    Apple claims that it does all of this without negatively impacting battery life. So far, that has not been my experience. It could be that I am just using it more than I was using my previous phone. However, it may also because I too many notifications were turned on by default. I have since turned a bunch of those off and am hoping that helps.

One hitch I had was that all my contacts were duplicated. I think, however, this was a function of iCloud on iOS5 rather than an iPhone 4s problem.

I was able to eliminate this by downloading a program called Contacts Cleaner from the AppStore ($4.99) and re-syncing. There may be an easier, cheaper solution, but this is something Apple should fix. If you Google the problem, you’ll find many users complaining about it.

All in all, I am quite pleased. I am glad I upgraded to the 4s.

Should you upgrade? If you haven’t already, I would start by installing the iOS5 software. That will give you a lot of new functionally and may satisfy your need for a new Apple fix. Then you have to ask whether or not the benefits I have described are worth the upgrade to you.

Questions: Do you plan to upgrade your phone? Why or Why not? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • bungalowbob

    Honestly? I’m a gadget nut, but I have a 3GS with the updated software, and it does just fine. Makes calls, gives me calendar alerts, behaves with Evernote, etc. I don’t think I need Siri, but who knows? I’m in no hurry. I think the oldest iPhone is superior to the latest of anything else in the marketplace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1565502744 Mari Ann Lisenbe

    I switched to mac 4 yrs ago, but have been unable to switch to an iPhone because we use Sprint for our internet service as well as cell phone (via hotspot then EVO hub).

    Now that Sprint offers iPhones, I’m REALLY tempted to switch, but not sure it’s worth the cost. My EVO already has many of the features of the iPhone: voice activation  (although not intuitive like Siri), 8 mg px camera, larger screen than iPhone, hub. 

    Also, not sure if Sprint will offer an unlimited data plan, which is very important to me since our hub is our internet provider as well. 

    So, main reasons to switch would be integration with my mac…

    Will have to research  a bit more to see if it makes $$ sense.

  • http://www.wikitime.ru Arthur

    Thank for the post, Michael. Have you sold you iPhone 4 yet? Is there anyone here who would sell his /her iPhone 4 and send it to Russia? They are really expensive here ;( and I don’t quite trust ebay sellers. 

    • iPhone owner

      Hello Arthur. My name is David. Are you still looking for an iPhone 4? If so I have an black iPhone 4 32GB that I am willing to sell. The iPhone itself is in pristine condition because I have preserved the iPhone with a full body skin. I have the original box with the original charger cable and the charger itself. If you are truly interested, contact me through my email azianrolla@gmail.com. Have a nice day!

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie O’Donoghue

    I upgraded on Friday myself and I believe it was worth it for Siri alone.

    I’m also halfway through a book you may be interested in. It’s called “From the Garden to the City.” by John Dyer.

    It’s a pretty honest assessment of the impact and influence of technology in the church. The author takes a middle of the road stance so far.


  • http://www.successinministry.com Successinministry

    I would keep an eye on the battery issue if I were you. When I first bought my iphone 4 the battery drained excessively. I took it to the AT&T store and they tried to convince me that it was all of the features I was probably using and turned off all notifications, etc. Well I had to go to a conference that week and found I had to recharge twice a day…and sitting in the conference I was not using the phone because I was using my ipad. I took it back and bought another one…and I use all of the features all of the time…and can sometimes go a couple of days before I really need to charge.  The battery could be bad from the beginning…

  • http://tommylane.net tommylane

    Good article, Mike. I pre-ordered the iPhone 4s on October 7th at an AT&T store. I was told I would get it on the 14th but I got an email saying it “ships in 14-21 days.” I’m still waiting and looking forward to getting it. I ordered the 32GB. The iPhone 4 that I presently own is also 32GB. Now I’m second guessing myself as to whether I should have gotten 64GB. haha. Oh well.

    One of the main reasons I want the 4S is Siri. I’ll tell you why. I commute on a bicycle a lot and when I get a text message from someone or I hear the email ding, sometimes I pull over to see what I received and read them. Not all the time; usually when I am expecting to hear from someone important to me. With Siri, I don’t have to pull over anymore. I can do it all from my headset mic which I wear when I am riding.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    We’re looking at upgrading our iPhone 3s and 4s to the 4S in the near future. Around our area, they’re pretty hard to come by in the 16GB range.

    Siri does look amazing. I’ve heard great things about it and am looking forward to playing with it.

  • http://twitter.com/nmabry nmabry

    Siri is the reason I’d consider upgrading, and even switching from Android, to an iPhone 4s.

  • Karel Tupas

    I think Iphone 4 should upgrade. Yes, there will some features we don’t really need but there will also be a lot of features cooler than the previous. So, YES TO UPGRADE. :)

  • Hans Ville

    I’m upgrading from an iPhone 3G, I’m hoping for a much faster phone (not to mention the 32 gig vs 8). I’m not expecting much better battery life, so I don’t think I’ll be too disappointed there. My main gripe so far is WHERE IS IT? I ordered at 11:00am PDT from a local AT&T store and it still has not shipped. AT&T’s own release said they sold 200k units in the first 12 hours. I would think that could have shipped that volume by now…

  • Samantha

    Another good thing about the iPhone 4s is the graphics. Compared to the 3g it’s like putting on glasses for the first time!

  • http://www.inteliwise.com VirtualAgents

    In my opinion it is good to update my phone because technology is upgrading also as long as we can use it for the better and we can use it for a long term.

  • Tyblewski14

    How much it cost if i upgrade my iphone4 to iphone4s? And what happenthe phonebooks?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You’ll have to check the Apple website. It all depends on which model you get.

  • dheck

    I have 160 days or something like that left with my HTC EVO…. I’m ready for the iPhone 4S NOW!!!

  • Foster2forever -Penelope

    Since I have a cracked face on my iPhone, I plan to upgrade soon. My contract is up in march if my phone mAkes it that long.

  • Gary

    I didn’t upgrade to iPhone 4 as I was happy with iphone 3 I had, along with all the other antenna problems I heard about, cos I’m not normally an ‘early adopter’ I just never upgraded.
    Yesterday however I did order the new iPhone and am quite excited to see the differences for myself. I already have the new software and am looking for more relevant widgets for the notification centre, then it’ll be really useful.

  • Couponrvm

    I have the 4 and I will be getting the 4s for my wife. The reason it has poor battery life is because of Siri. That A5 chip has to work hard to process speech input. Try not using for a day to see if the battery life improves. If not, then the battery doesnt give the same capacity as the 4

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  • Jcdc1820

    Switching from Blackberry to 4s.  Can’t wait.

    • Anonymous

      CANCOM (UK) Apple Premium Reseller.

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  • Church Chair guy

    My Executive Pastor just got his first Iphone this week.  I have a Droid.  I am battling a bit of envy now.

  • http://twitter.com/thegospelwriter Wanza Leftwich, TGW

    My brother recently upgraded and I AM impressed with it. I don’t have an iPhone at all but after seeing the new one in action, it is definitely on my list to get. I love the Digital Assistant and the camera capabilities as well. The clarity is joyfully insane!

  • http://ThisMomsDelight.com Tami @ ThisMomsDelight.com

    I gave my iPhone 3GS to my daughter and got an HTC Inspire.  I don’t like it!  Should I go back to a 3GS or upgrade?  Which one do you like best?

  • Chris Anderson

    We have have the iPhone 4 ,3Gs? 16GB and 32GB, in stock for sale at  affordable prices.

    i Phone 3G 8GB Cost……..US$250i Phone 3G 16GB Cost…….US$300i Phone 3Gs 16GB Cost……US$350i Phone 3Gs 32GB Cost……US$400i Phone 4G 16GB Cost…….US$480i Phone 4G 32GB Cost…….US$530i Phone 4s 32GB Cost…….US$690i Phone 4s 64GB Cost…….US$770

    Contact us for the Full details,and also for other Mobile Phones/ iPads in stock.
    1. Complete accessories(Well packed and sealed in original company box)2. Unlocked / sim free.3. Brand new (original manufacturer) box – no copies4. All phones have English language as default5. All material (software, manual) – car chargers – home chargers – usb data cables -holsters/belt clips – wireless headsets(blue-tooth) -leather and non-leather carrying cases – batteries.

    Contact us Via: lms414@gmail.com

  • Christian Hernandez

    From a teenagers point of view, I would upgrade even though the cost is expensive. The phone gives me more enhanced pictures to take with friends, faster connection and the Siris I think, is to just show off the phones more technological improvements. Yes it helps while drving or to help you remember but I can’t drive nor can do I have to remember meetings for work. I would only use the Siris to look up information on the Internet but that’s way better than having to turn on a computer or going onto Safari and typing it in. I’m actually trading my iPhone in to upgrade to a 4s. (It’s a deal that’s going on right now) This better be worth it.

  • Macamaniac007

    You upgrade because of simple math.  You sell your iPhone 4 on eBay for $280 like I did and then you purchase the 4S for $199 and you still have enough for the tax, the cost of placing it on eBay and a new case.  New phone, no investment but a little bit of time to put on eBay and pack and ship.  Then when the iPhone whatever comes out, you can sell your 4S for about $280 and buy the iPhone whatever with no additional expenditure.  You can keep this process going until they start releasing new iPhones every 4 months…

  • Sarah g

    I bought my iPhone 4 in August 2011 and I paid 600$ to buy it right out. But I’m still on a tab. Im vey interested in Siri… I want to upgrade to iPhone 4s. Do you think its worth it? Or should I wait for iPhone 5? I haven’t heard anything about that yet…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’d definitely wait for iPhone 5. We have to be close.

      • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

        I agree. I got my iPhone 4 in November, 2010. I’d love to have Siri, but plan to wait until my AT&T contract expires and jump to Sprint with the iPhone 5, whatever it may be.

        There is no technical reason Siri hasn’t been ported to the iPhone 4.