Two days ago I happened upon a new iPhone 4S as a replacement for my current 4 model. On the same day, I had an opportunity to go to Madison Square Garden and watch a Duran Duran concert where I was able to put this state of the art phone through its paces. I found it ironic that Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of the group said he was first in the Garden 30 years ago – and that was around the time I was introduced to PCs and programming in general. Now, here I was using the new phone as a camera in what has to be one of the harshest environments ever in which to shoot photos and videos. It was impressive – these shots haven’t been retouched or altered at all. Videos are at the bottom of this post.
You gotta love when a 30 year old band breaks out the Twitter wall!
On the way to the concert I put Siri through its paces. I asked it for restaurants near Madison Square Garden. It replied that it couldn’t search near businesses. So then I tried searching near the address. Again, it couldn’t help. I then went to my Zagat app and laughed out loud when one of the ways you could choose the price range of a restaurant was “My friends have a trust fund.” But before I got through the tedious, mind-bending process of using this app to find a restaurant on the lower west side, I thought the heck with it (censored – my kids are getting old enough to read my blog.), let’s try the Google app. On the first shot I got a list of restaurants near Madison Square garden and put an end to my embarrassment in front of my friends and wife.
This also by the way is probably a great explanation as to why Google bought Zagat – with an awesome voice-based search interface, Zagat data can be very useful. The current mobile app is painful to use.
Once we got to the Garden I realized the battery drain was significant on my device – perhaps because it was backing up to iCloud? I wasn’t sure but I was concerned. When we finished eating and went into the concert I realized I had no signal at all. My friend had an iPhone 4 also on AT&T and she had 2 bars – me nothing. And as typical in such cases my battery was draining very fast as it tried to communicate with a tower. I had to go into airplane mode and also turned off iCloud sync so I could have enough battery for the trip home.
Siri was a disappointment but later I have found it is OK at reading and sending text messages as well as emails in a pinch. The accuracy could be better – but I am sure it will improve. Surprisingly, this is an instance where Google has technology which is much better than Apple – aren’t we used to seeing Apple leapfrog others?
On the way back from the concert I encountered this sign on the train allowing for travelers to see the next few train departures via their phones – pretty amazing tech – simple but helpful. Just send a text to 266266 with the locations you are looking for. For example “GCS to Rye.” No more paper schedules are needed to try to figure out when the next train is.
The other benefit of the 4S is the increased processor speed and there is indeed a slight increase in performance when you surf the web, download, etc. Nothing incredible mind you – I still find myself waiting for pages to load – even on super-fast WiFi.
Should you upgrade your 4 to a 4S – the answer is yes if you spend lots of time in a car and you think you will benefit from Siri being able to help you perform some tasks while you drive. Moreover, if you take lots of pictures, the camera is better and the quality of video is far better. Then there is the stability control which helps improve the quality of videos – and in my testing, photos as well.
But it isn’t a must have. On an AT&T network your speed will be dramatically improved according to the specs I have read but in reality, unless you are on a cell tower with lots of capacity and few other users, you may not ever see these download speeds.
The latest rumor is an iPhone which works on 4G will be out next year and it better or the company will fall further behind Android. For many, it may just be worth waiting.
Here are the Google results for the above search – got it on the first shot
Although Siri isn’t perfect you can get interesting market info allowing you to compare market caps and see how the market is doing
You can even look at a Honda Accord if you like
If you are interested in what a water molecule looks like, you are out of luck
Duran Duran View to a Kill
Duran Duran Planet Earth
Duran Duran Is There Something I Should Know?
Duran Duran Hungry Like a Wolf
Duran Duran The Reflex