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Friday, December 1, 2023

iPhone 4S: What we didn’t get

The iPhone 4S is here! But never mind iOS 5, an upgraded camera, and dual-core processor — where’s our bigger screen? Where’s our new design? Where the chuffin’ heck is our iPhone 5?

Whenever the euphoric glow of an exciting new gadget begins to fade, our thoughts inevitably turn to what’s missing. After this Apple announcement, that euphoric glow faded faster than usual — it’s been 15 months since the iPhone 4 was released, so we were hoping for more than a few updates in a physically identical phone.

So let’s take a look at what we didn’t get, and ask whether Apple has dropped the ball in the scrum with Android and Windows Phone.

iPhone 5

The major disappointment: we didn’t get an iPhone 5. After more than a year’s wait, we were gagging for a whole new iPhone, in a cool new case, stuffed with new features. Instead we got a few minor upgrades and some software we already knew about, wrapped in the same old iPhone case. It’s not even thinner! Poor show, Apple.

Bigger screen

Rumours abounded of a 4.3-inch iPhone, for extra space when browsing the Web and more room for games and videos. But it was not to be.

No buttons

This is more a case of what we did get: that physical home button. Sure, a circular button or wheel below the screen is a defining design note on Apple devices since the first iPod way back in 2001, but get rid of it and shazam! More space for a bigger screen. Buttons are so last year.

Curved back

The iPhone’s flat back is unpopular with some, preferring the curved shape of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, which nestle in the palm like a sleeping kitten.


The iPhone 4S can be used on 3G phone networks pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s not 4G though, which is bad news for anyone hoping for next-generation speeds. We don’t have 4G here in the UK yet though, so it’s no skin off our chin.


This is another one we’re not too fussed about, as near-field communication isn’t really a thing here in the UK. In theory it could be used to pay for things by waving your phone over a till or smart card reader, but Apple doesn’t seem too keen.

iPad sharing

One of the cleverest things about the ill-fated HP TouchPad was its ability to share stuff with the Pre phone by simply waving them at each other. We’d hoped for something similar between the iPhone and iPad, as a bonus for Apple acolytes who collect different bits of Apple kit.

Facebook iPad app

As a side note, we’ve been kept waiting far too long for an official Facebook iPad app. There were rumours it would be unveiled at the Apple event, but no sign.

What do you think?

Are you in love with the iPhone 4S, or has Apple missed out a vital function? Now we admit, it’s a darn good smart phone; there’s nothing particularly egregious missing. But we can’t help feeling disappointed with the new phone.

After such a long wait, the 4S doesn’t seem exciting enough any more — it has the same 3.5-inch screen the iPhone’s had since it launched in 2007, for example — and the competition is hotting up. You can get Android phones in every shape and size and at all different prices, the Ice Cream Sandwich update is just round the corner, and when Nokia gets its act in gear, Windows Phone is likely to become a serious smart phone contender.

Is this Android’s chance to leave Apple at the lights? Or is the iPhone 4S the perfect phone? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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