Launched a day before the death of the iconic Apple Inc founder and former CEO and Chairman, the late Steve Jobs, the iPhone 4S, Apple’s latest i-kid has generated a lot of buzz lately.
From the impressive sold out pre-orders (over 4 million sold todate) to the magical personal virtual assistant, Siri, the iPhone 4S has got everyone talking.
My attention is not focused entirely on the hype surrounding the 4S but rather whether the hype is really worth it. What actually roused my itchy fingers is that this wonder device is retailing locally in Kenya at an incredible price. Forget the hype being fronted by Western media and other Silicon Valley media outlets, of course its normal (very normal) for Apple products to generate a lot of buzz and cause a lot of ripples, this phone is either really that good or blatantly overrated.
Yes the iPhone remains the smartphone industry’s gold standard but is a retail price of Ksh 125,000 locally really worth it? Even though this is a small amount bearing in mind that the Blackberry Porsche, Research In Motion’s newest kid on its fleet of top of the range smartphones that will retail at an equivalent of Ksh 200,000, it is still very pricey. With the current biting economic conditions, Ksh 125,000 ain’t a small amount by any standards. What makes the iPhone 4S really that pricey?
Actually the iPhone 4S has a lot in common with it’s sister and predecessor, the iPhone 4. It is, in real sense, an upgrade of the iPhone 4. Infact, apart from the ardent and loyal Apple fanboys, the device was widely downplayed by tech bloggers the day it launched. The only thing that exclusively sets it apart from the iPhone 4 is the incredible and magical personal virtual assistant, Siri. So much that Apple, a day ago, announced that Siri won’t be supported on older iPhones and other old i-devices like the iPad and the iPod touch. This speaks volumes, bringing Siri to the iPhone 4 will mean that there’s really no hurry to acquire the new iPhone since consumers can wait a little bit for the launch of the iPhone 5 next year. Siri actually requires an active data connection in order to function. This for a Kenyan user will be very costly considering that there ain’t much of internet hotspots in areas out of Mombasa and Nairobi and data services are charged per usage (i.e per MB) disregarding the package that Orange Kenya offers for the iPhone.
The 4S boasts of a dual core ARM Cortex Processor with 1 Ghz A5 chip. It is a world phone i.e supports both conventional GSM and CDMA networks. It has two antennas to overcome the “death grip” issue (or antennagate as Apple likes to call it). It comes with an added option of going for the 64 Gb internal storage model unlike the previous iPhone versions which only had the 16 Gb and 32 Gb. For Kenyan radio addicts, not unless you do live internet streaming, the iPhone 4S does not support radio. Of course its biggest strength is the camera. An upgrade from that of the iPhone 4 in terms of pixelage, the 8MP camera that supports 1080p of HD video is something that will appeal to many. Another plus is that it runs on the newest iOS version, iOS 5 which offers many capabilities like the iCloud.
On the flip side of it, the iPhone 4S like other iPhones before it does not support flash (a good move since flash on mobile devices drains the battery a lot. Infact with effect from two days ago Adobe has ceased development for mobile flash). It ONLY has 512 Mb, peanuts for such a device considering that it’s Android competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and the newly unveiled Samsung Galaxy Nexus which have twice that. The 4S also lacks LTE support. This won’t be an issue for any Kenyan user since 4G is yet to roll out anywhere in East Africa but for the techies out there LTE support is a big plus. Most high end Android devices have had LTE support for a while now. With such a big internal storage, not having an sd card slot should not be an issue. There have been battery issues widely reported. Though Apple has issued statements saying this has to do with the iOS 5 software and not the hardware of the device, anywhere in Kenya battery life is a big issue. Siri with all her famed prowess will have a rough time understanding Kenyan accents.
Even though in my opinion the Samsung Galaxy S 2 (nothing much is known of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus as of now apart from the specs) comes top in the specifications war, it retails at Ksh 59,999 locally. This though still dear, is a nice bargain when compared to the exorbitant price with which retailers are tagging the iPhone 4S locally. Then again, Apple is a big brand with a big name worldwide so the 4S will still sell out whether I write here that it is expensive or not.
Overpriced or just the normal i-hype? You can answer that.
Apple has released iOS 5.0.1 to fix the battery issue and improve voice recognition for Australian users.