iPhone 4S Australian buying guide

Apple has finally unveiled the next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 4S. Should you buy it? When can you buy it? How much does it cost? Find out all that and more!

Apple's iPhone 4S

Apple's iPhone 4S

Technology giant Apple recently unveiled the company's latest iPhone — the iPhone 4S. Featuring an identical physical design to the previous iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S (like the iPhone 3GS before it) is betting on faster performance, a better camera and a new voice recognition service to win over consumers.

For full details on all the iPhone 4S's new features, read our iPhone 4S preview.

Siri: FAQs about the iPhone 4S personal assistant.

Not interested in the iPhone 4S? Why not check out our guide to the best iPhone 4S alternatives.

Feature: Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Apple iPhone 4S

Along with a dual-core CPU and a dual-core GPU, the iPhone 4S also includes a new 8-megapixel camera with backside-illuminated sensor and a brand-new voice recognition service called Siri.

Who, what, when, where, how? We've got all the Australian details below.

Why I want an iPhone 4S?

The iPhone 4S now has a dual-core A5 processor, along with a dual-core GPU. According to Apple, this makes graphics performance up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4 and directly benefits games. It should also improve performance when switching between apps, opening and closing apps and using the camera.

The iPhone 4S gets an improved camera — it jumps from 5-megapixels to 8-megapixels and now has a backlight illuminated CMOS sensor that claims better performance in low light situations. The 4S camera can now record 1080p video (up from 720p on the iPhone 4) and also has a new image signal processor for image stabilisation and face recognition. Apple was also keen to point out its speed at the launch: the company says the camera app takes 1.1 seconds to be ready for a photo and then just half a second between successive photos.

The iPhone 4S gets an exclusive software feature called Siri voice control. It's a voice assistant that lets you talk to perform tasks, such as asking for the weather forecast, getting driving or walking directions through Google Maps, making a calendar appointment or setting your alarm. It will originally be a beta release, but Apple says the software will improve as it learns your voice. In good news for Aussies, Siri will work with Australian English in addition to US and UK English.

The iPhone 4S is now a world phone meaning it can roam on all global networks including US CDMA. Previously, the iPhone 4 came in two separate models (GSM and CDMA). If you regularly travel to the US this means you can purchase a pre-paid micro-SIM in the US to use in your iPhone 4S, therefore avoiding expensive global roaming charges.

Why I don't want an iPhone 4S

At the end of the day, the iPhone 4S is iPhone 4 with a few upgraded components. It has the same “retina” display, the same glass back and the same square design with sharp edges as its predecessor. Apple has not changed any physical aspects of the design and is banking on upgraded internals to sell the iPhone 4S. While this isn't a new thing — the company did the same from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS — it's definitely not as appealing as an all-new design would have been.

The 3.5in screen in particular could have used an upgrade. Alongside some strong competition in the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation (both with 4.3in sized screens), the iPhone 4S looks rather small. The sharp edges of the iPhone 4 and 4S are also a little uncomfortable to hold without a case: a new design would certainly have been refreshing.

If you currently own an iPhone 4, there is little incentive to upgrade to the iPhone 4S. The faster processor and improved graphics performance are nice, but not essential. Siri, the iPhone 4S's voice recognition software that's been described as a "personal assistant" looks impressive on paper, but it would need to be used on a daily basis to justify the upgrade. The upgraded camera is again an improvement but not compelling enough to ditch a perfectly good iPhone 4.

Read onto page two for Australian availability, pricing and plan details.

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