Mac Musings

Everyone Wins with Today's iPhone Announcements

Dan Knight - 2011.10.04 (updated) - Tip Jar

As far as I can tell, almost everyone comes out a winner with Apple's announcement of the iPhone 4S earlier today.

  • Sprint users will have the choice of an iPhone 4 or 4S (but not the 3GS) starting on October 14, and rumor has it that Sprint will be the only US carrier to offer an unlimited data plan to iPhone users.
  • Those waiting for a dual-core iPhone will have it on October 14 when the A5-based iPhone 4S ships.
  • Those waiting for an iPhone with built-in Siri capability will have it in the iPhone 4S on October 14.
  • Those who may want to switch between GSM and CDMA networks/carriers will have the iPhone 4S on October 14, the first iPhone to support both protocols.
  • Those who need more than 32 GB of storage can buy a 64 GB iPhone 4S on October 14.
  • Those who want a better built-in camera will get an 8 MP camera in the iPhone 4S, one that apparently has an improved sensor as well.
  • Those waiting for a cheaper iPhone 4 can order the 8 GB model today for $99 - half the cost of the previous entry-level iPhone 4 (albeit with half as much flash memory). You still have to choose either a CDMA or GSM model, but you get the Retina Display and FaceTime, two very nice features the iPhone 3GS doesn't have.
  • Those waiting for a free iPhone can choose the 8 GB iPhone 3GS, which is still an AT&T exclusive in the States.
  • Those waiting for 4G support may find Apple's implementation of 3G on the iPhone 4S satisfactory. Apple claims that improved antenna technology doubles 3G throughput vs. earlier 3G iPhones.

And current iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 users will be able to upgrade to iOS 5 on October 12, giving them most of the new software features of the iPhone 4S with a free update. That plus Apple's free iCloud service will let you sync photos between your iDevices and iPhoto on your Mac, install future iOS updates with no need to use iTunes, and integrate Twitter with almost everything, to name just three of 200+ new features in iOS 5.

AT&T and Sprint will be the big winners here in the US, as both will have the $99 iPhone 4, and the $199 to $399 iPhone 4S - and AT&T will also have the no-cost (if you sign a two-year contract) iPhone 3GS. Verizon will gain its first iPhone below the $199 mark - the $99 8 GB iPhone 4 - which should help it as well.

Carriers and users around the world won't have to choose CDMA or GSM. If they choose the iPhone 4S, they get both, which also means a world phone that you can use when you travel overseas.

The only losers? Low-end Android smartphones. Who would want one of those when they can get a free iPhone 3GS or a $99 iPhone 4?

Well, there are the open source purists, the technical specification geeks, and the Apple haters, but outside of those three camps, almost everyone who compares the two platforms agrees that the iPhone simply provides a more consistent user experience.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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