Although I never considered myself one of ‘those people’, I got my hands on the new iPhone 4S the day it came out – Friday, October 14th. There was no line late in the day at the AT&T store, but still a bit of a party atmosphere. We were served popcorn and cotton candy while a DJ spun off to the side. What a strange phenomenon.
Having owned the iPhone 4, the successor is a bit underwhelming. It’s awesome, for sure, but the differences are subtle compared to the huge leap between the 3GS and the 4. But hey, that’s why it’s called the iPhone 4S – the fact that it’s just an upgraded version is right there in the product name.
The camera is higher resolution (8 vs 5 megapixels), but the quality difference wasn’t very noticeable. The images are still pretty noisy, although the low light performance did seem quite a bit better. I will do some side-by-side comparisons with the iPhone 4. Stay tuned for that.
I haven’t had a chance to use it with a group of people, but the face detection feature is still nice for one person – if a face is detected a green square shows up briefly, separate from the blue focusing square. I’m not really much of a video person, so I didn’t try out the new 1080p recording ability.
My favorite new feature is not unique to the iPhone 4S but rather a part of iOS 5, which was released the Wednesday before the 4S came out. If your phone is in standby and you double-tap the home button, you get a camera button on the screen that takes you straight to the app – it’s wonderful. Before multitasking in iOS 4, I had the phone programmed to bring up the camera app whenever I double-tapped the home button and I was really sad when they took that ability away. Now it’s back, and better.
Another new iOS 5 feature is being able to press the up-volume button to take the photo. I’ve been using it, but not too often. Depending on how I’m holding the phone, it’s usually easier for me to press the button on the screen. I wouldn’t have guessed that – I thought I’d always use the volume button now that it’s an option.
Finally, in addition to turning HDR on and off, you now have the choice of a rule of thirds grid, which I’ve now left turned on all the time. Again, it’s part of iOS 5 and not unique to the iPhone 4S.
22 Photos from the First Weekend
Here are 22 of my favorite photos from the weekend. All are straight from the camera – no cropping or editing of any kind. If you’re so inclined, see them at full resolution here.