When the iPhone 4 was released last year, I was incredibly eager to get one. I didn’t even have my 3GS for more than eight or nine months, but after seeing the design and new features on the iPhone 4, I was sold. When pre-orders became available, I tried to grab one, but the constant system crashes – for both Apple and AT&T — wouldn’t allow me. On launch day, I was at the 5th Avenue Apple Store in NYC bright and early with my colleague, Daniel. The iPhone 4S became available for pre-order last night at midnight. I was in Hollywood partying until 4:00 a.m.
I really like my iPhone 4. The design is still best in class, and it is stupid easy to use. Battery life is good enough that I can unplug it in the morning, and confidently go until late night without worrying about finding a power source. If any of you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll also know that I love the iPhone 4′s camera and the photo options I have via the wealth of photo-editing apps out there. When it comes to design, ease-of-use, battery life and ecosystem, it is really tough to beat the iPhone 4. So why am I on the fence about buying the souped-up version, the iPhone 4S?
To be clear, I am not in the camp that cried, “iPhone 4S? It sucks. Lame, Apple! Where is the iPhone 5?” I can definitely understand the sentiment, but lame? Sucks? Apple dropped the ball? Give me a break. Apple took an already amazing phone and made it even better, but with the banter and complaints I’ve seen all over the web, you’d think that Apple actually owed us something new and failed to deliver. Of course, the Internet also seems to be afflicted with serious, short-term memory, because this sentiment echoes the whining about the 3GS, and how there were no distinguishing factors between it and the 3G. Boo-hoo.
The real hold-up for me are contractual and financial ones. If money were no object, I would definitely upgrade. No question. But because I’m only halfway through a two-year contract, and I can’t justify the cost of an out-of-contract model, the decision became tougher. The iPhone 4S definitely has enticing features: the 8MP camera and new optics are a curious dream for me, and coupled with the A5 processor, I can only imagine the possibilities. I’m also lusting after a 64GB model, something I’d been wanting since the 3G model was launched.
Friends and family have been asking me all week, “Should I get the iPhone 4S?” My answers generally include the following points:
- If you’re using the iPhone 3G/3GS, definitely
- If you are up for a contract renewal, sure
- If you’ll wake up at 3 a.m. with night terrors because you’re the type that always needs the latest and greatest, go for it
- If you wipe your ass with C-Notes and you want the iPhone 4S, why not?
Basically, if a friend or loved one has the current iPhone 4, is in the middle of a contract and has no real reason to upgrade, I can’t recommend the iPhone 4S. After a few days of consideration, I realized that the real pull for me is the 4S’s new camera, but with the money I’d have to spend to upgrade early or buy out of contract, I might as well put it toward an actual camera. In fact, a new DSLR will be more likely to find its way into my home than an iPhone 4S.
If you were to ask me whether you should upgrade, as a current iPhone 4 owner, I say this: if your phone works just fine now, and you were happy with it before the iPhone 4S announcement, you can find better things to do with your life than try to justify why you absolutely need a dual-core processor and Siri.