I just upgraded to the 4S and have to admit, as usual, Apple did a fantastic job at improving an already good product, not only it’s specs, but in general usability. As a user of the vanilla 4, I didn’t see much point in paying much for the incremental improvements, the same way that I skipped the 3GS. Yet luckily for me, there was a special deal from Softbank which, if I understood it correctly, allowed me to switch with all my former contract annulled, which unbelievably made it cheaper to upgrade than to stay with the 4! Hopefully such deals are the way ahead, as 2-year contracts are way too long for anyone who wants to keep up with the fast-paced advances in the mobile device space.
So, what’s changed? Well, it is a lot faster, web-browsing and the general user interface are probably twice as fast, which makes it smoother to use, a similar feeling I got going from iPhone 3G to 4, or from 4 to my iPad 2 (which has pretty much the same internals as the 4S). The camera is also far faster and from what I’ve seen and heard, ‘takes better pictures’. For me this is great, as it will give me a very nice file to work with, straight from my most convenient device. I’ve already found that the iPhone 4 has much better processing than any compact camera I’ve used, so hopefully this should increase the quality it can capture, certainly in terms of detail (8MP) and dynamic range, with its superior filters. I’ll also have 1080p video, which just in terms of detail is generally much better than 720p, which looks comparatively murky on today’s high-resolution displays.
Once I got my iPad 2, I realised that the bigger screen makes a lot of apps more fun and manageable than on a little iPhone, but there are still a lot of things that suit a phone-like device better. One is Hipstamatic, a retro-camera app that makes for some very creative results and is a lot of fun to use. It’s the fun that makes the difference, the wealth of features and focus on realism making for a lot of samey results and too much attention being paid to technological advances, forgetting that photography is an art as much as a science.
So whilst I have a new smart phone, I see it as just as much a new camera and I intend to retro the photos from it as much as I can (sometimes, anyway!), which funnily enough is the possibility I’m most excited about. You, know, maybe I’ll fire up the ZX Spectrum emulator in it, too, it should be a lot smoother than on my old phone!
Here are a few recent snaps from my ‘4’…