iPhone 4S: Gizmodo Australia's First Impressions

Is Apple's iPhone 4S the next coming of the smartphone, or just another smartphone model? It's too early to tell — but here's my early impressions from a couple of hours of testing. More: - iPhone 4S Launch Day: What Did The Queue Look Like? - Video: iPhone 4S: Siri Australian Accent Test

The queues this morning for iPhone 4S were certainly restrained compared to the chaos of the midnight launch for iPhone 4, although the fact that it could be pre-ordered from both Apple and the three carriers for home delivery, combined with the 8am Friday sell time — right before work for most people — and the wide dispersal of units almost certainly had a role to play in the smaller turnout of folks. You can see all of that stuff as it happened in the photo gallery posted earlier.

So what's the iPhone 4S like to actually use? Just to be clear, I'm not putting a review here. That would be daft; I've only had a couple of hours of hands-on time (thanks again to Optus and Vodafone) with the phone after all.

Not shockingly, there's not too much I can say about the physical form factor of the phone that any iPhone 4 user wouldn't be able to tell you. It's a stunning 3 grams heavier, but honestly, nobody's ever going to pick that when switching between models — or if they can, they've clearly got a job waiting for them in drug distribution somewhere in Colombia.

It's slightly heavier! I might drop it! Or not.

That's the external side of the phone however, and my mother always told me that it's what's inside that counts. The improved processor, so far, is doing a good job of basic smartphone tasks; it certainly feels nippy, and while that's about as meaningless a term as I could throw in there, I've just not had enough time to elucidate any further.

This is a fast smartphone, but then that's not entirely unique; I'll put some time in over the next week or so to really get a proper feel for whether Apple's managed the kind of optimisation I wrote about earlier in the week, or if it's just another dual core smartphone in a big pile of them.

The camera is good so far — focus is quick and I can all too easily sneak up behind Kotaku Editor Mark Serells and take pictures of the inside of his ears. I'll save you the visuals, and clearly this needs deeper testing. The camera that is, not the inside of his ears.

Siri, can we talk?

And then there's Siri. Siri is fairly clever; the range of inputs it can take in at once is evidence of some interesting language processing going on behind the scenes, but at the same time it's annoying that the location services only work in the States, and as my video hands-on showed, it's not always good at picking up accents properly. Ask Siri where the nearest hospital is while you're bleeding to death, and it'll apologise for not being able to do that unless you happen to be in the US.

I'm waiting to quiz Apple about the limitations of Siri and when we might expect to see location aware Siri in Australia; that'll reveal more about whether Siri really will be an indispensable companion or just a sidenote to the iPhone 4S.

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Comments

    You spent most of that video testing Siri against the US voice, obviously it's not going to work as well. :/ Why not more testing on the actual AU settings?

      More to come on the Siri front -- this is just early testing. There's an odd range of stuff that only works with the US testing in place, and some Au-specific stuff...

        Apple responded to another Australian blog a while ago saying that as soon as Yelp comes to Australia, they will at least add Yelp support for us here.

        (Yelp, if you remember, is doing a deal with Sensis.)

      He spent most of the time f'n around.

      The AI translation seems ok and considering it is server based its potential for expansion is unlimited.

      You have the data cost to consider if you spend your day asking your phone if it loves you or who its daddy is.

      All in all the video is moronic. Glenn off the little intelligence it provided.

    So pretty much don't buy. Gotcha.

    Android here I come.

      evilsync- More specifically, Gingerbread with TouchWiz UI. The standard Gingerbread UI (you can experience that on the Nexus) is terrible. But on the GS2 or even the HTC Sense UI, It becomes brilliant. Hopefully ICS will address that.

      Owners of the iPhone 4S- congratulations. Hopefully Siri will not tell you off when you swear at it:P

        Really? I've not used an aftermarket Android UI that hasn't made me hate the device yet.

    No comment on data speeds with HSPA+?

    /Has no idea if we even have that over here

      .... it doesn't have HSPA+

        it does. as does telstra

    can't wait for Android ICS + Nexus Prime :)

    I'll give it an 1 hour before people who purchased this phone realise that voice recognition is gimmicky and useless.

      +1

      I admire the technology and work done to make it so seamless... but really, in practical world the only time I can see this being useful is while driving...

      I wouldn't say it's... useless. It's just a novelty. It was a gimmick on Android and it's a gimmick on IOS. Like most people with Facetime, they'd try it out for the first week to be dazzled but after the phone becomes another device in their routine instead of "MY BRAND NEW PHONE!" they'll start neglecting it and Siri would likely fade back into obscurity.

    The next person to complain why this article hasn't got [insert feature here], is going to receive a Galaxy S2 where the sun don't shine. Sideways.

    How many times does Alex have to point out it's just a first impression from a couple of hours of play???

      For free? or is this another $2 Samsung deal?.. and is it locked to Vodafone?

      :)

    your basically buying the same product (same as iphone 4) for a software feature that is a gimmick...

    also.... i didn't realise that my iphone 4 is so bad at running ios that the iphone 4S needs "double" the power to run the same apps??

    yes i have an iphone 4, and i do like it... but recently i am having cravings for mango!

      Thats why you dont buy it. This phone was released for people who had their iPhone 3Gs contracts expired. Let me guess, you dont actually have an iPhone, you're just a troll.

    voice recognition isn't the future, this is an apple fail. I'm sure though there is an iphone5 on the way in less than 12months.

    id like to hear about the Telstra ones. running on next g, these new models now have the blue tick for rural coverage.
    i'd like to see a 4 and a 4s be put to the test to see if they really do have stronger antennas.

    Got to love the Android fanboys voicing their what ever you call it.

      It's a full-time occupation for some of them. They need something else to do besides flashing ROMs!

        I'm an Android fanboy who spends way too much time flashing ROMs, but that made me laugh...!

        Nice call :)

    I'm guessing the location searches limited to the US is because Siri's data source for those searches is Yelp (or at least it appears to be based on o'seas demo vids).

    Once Yelp! is launched here (still supposed to be by the end of the year??) it may change, or mabye not since it's going to be a partnership with Telstra/Sensis.

    I've had the old Siri app on my iPhone for ages and it was crippled here too as all of the data sources it used were US only (Yelp, Open Table, etc...).

      And in case anyone is curious about the old Siri app, you get this message when opening it now:

      "I've been replaced! The new Siri is even smarter and better looking than me, and waiting for you on the iPhone 4S. I'll be leaving for home Oct 15th. Until then... how can I help you?"

    My first impression is that its not here, but still in Hong Kong

    I love the iPhone4S, it proved the point perfectly that Apple's customer base really are just mindless morons that will line up for whatever new device they through out into the market. i bet if in 3 months time Apple deleted another app from the appstore and released in on a iPhone4S2 with an 8.1megapixel camera all the morons would line up again with their $1000 held in the air waiting for someone save them

      Yeah totally. Android fans never do this, or is just that no one cares because a new 'best ever android phone' is released every week?

        owned LOL..... the only thing wrong with that statement is that people don't line up for Android phones. How could they line up every week. It's not cost viable. At least apple only does it once a year.

          They only line up for Android phones when someones giving them away. Android fanboys are the most stingiest tight assed geeks ever to walk the planet. They hate Apple because they don't have any money, and have to buy lame cut priced Samsung crap, then come to the forums and troll EVERY Apple story, just to feel like a big man. I pity them really. Must be such a sad existence.

            So I loaded iOS 5 on my 3GS yesterday and loved the updates, so today I sat with a self-confessed Android fan and I asked him "what has android got that iOS doesn't now?"

            Everything he showed me I had an app for, and while there were a few little gems we both liked on each really it boiled down to developers. Where he had a feature that was in the android OS I had an app to match it, or it already existed and he didn't know about it.
            One thing he did show me was a video app like VLC that plays lots of formats, and the ability to easily view file structures in shared network devices, both of which you can do in apps, but you have to find them :) I can't do either and rely on AirVideo and iFiles.
            He did convince me to jailbreak my apple TV so It works though :) his video set-up is great.

            "They only line up for Android phones when someones giving them away. Android fanboys are the most stingiest tight assed geeks ever to walk the planet. They hate Apple because they don’t have any money, and have to buy lame cut priced Samsung crap, then come to the forums and troll EVERY Apple story, just to feel like a big man. I pity them really. Must be such a sad existence."

            Anyone ever told you you're not a nice person?

    iPhone4s has revolutionised music videos because artists are now filming their entire music video on the iPhone:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6RrjdzmGUQ

    iOS 5 is a huge disappointment.

    Here I was half-believing the hype that we might finally get a useful lock screen that can display your appointments & tasks etc at a glance. But no, the lock screen remains a useless picture.

    My phone contract expires in Feb 2012 and ridding myself of this useless infuriating half-assed Apple device that can't come soon enough.

    My next phone will most likely be Android based, or maybe even Windows Phone 7.5.

      Have you considered jailbreaking your iphone? Would save you getting a new phone and give you the lock screen you've been dreaming of... Just another option to consider

    A little disappointing on the Siri front re: local businesses, possibly a major oversight in Apples marketing plan. Will be interested to hear Apples response (if any) to this.

    Would like to see your next Siri review include scheduling meetings, sending and replying to text messages, setting reminders, sending emails or taking dictation as outlined on the apple website.

    Thanks

      I'm guessing Apple will use the fallback of Siri having a BETA tag & the footnote on their site saying "features may vary by area." .. which to be honest is the first time I've seen of this mentioned.

    Desperately need a new phone, I have had enough of my iPhone 3G but the price of iPhone 4S puts me right off when I can get a competing platform which is arguably better, for less than $600.

    As soon as there are a few comparisons between the two I will make up my mind.

    look at a number of bizarre items the AI-powered / voice-recognizing “intelligent assistant” lays on you on the new iPhone 4S. Siri says some crazy stuff - http://liveoncampus.com/wire/show/3114606?utm_source=Blogs&utm_medium=Seeding&utm_campaign=Ritu

      The thing is they made is server based. Of all the moronic questions asked. They all hit a central server and can be addressed over time.

      Siri is a good idea and could develop into a next mobile platform m$ and google copy.

      Centralizing it makes upgrades and tracking easy. Push's the data cost to the users but the intelligence is only limited to the cloud servers nearly unlimited expansion not a phones memory.

    Loving this phone!
    By far the best phone I have ever purchased.

    Looks same as iPhone4 just white and improved software. I will recommend Galaxy s2.

    just updated my iphone4, nothing too exciting, still going for a nokia windows phone once it's here

      re:"still going for a nokia windows phone once it’s here"

      Yeah good luck with that. I will wait for you to try your little experiment with an Android phone then come screaming back. Many have tried and all have come back.

    I pre ordered from apple this time thinking it would be faster but no big time fail it still in hong kong.

    If your from Australia the siri is a wasted feature for at least another year, the only real useful upgrade is the amazing camera. You can't really say the dual core chip was needed because my old iphone 4 ran smooth as silk.
    As for the android fans, i think this is a year for them to make there mark with nexus prime also wp7. 5 will have a good year.
    Ip5 will have another of work to do and without jobs I feel it will fail even though jobs made a 4 year plan.
    Over all looks like a good done for 3gs upgrade and if you have an ip4 you won't be missing out on much.

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