iPhone 4S Teardown Reveals Numerous Subtle Differences Between It, Older iPhone 4

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News Posted: Mon, Oct 17 2011 4:37 PM
The iPhone 4S has been criticised by some for being little more than a speed bump. Device sales have been incredibly strong—buyers clearly aren't concerned about this issue—but evidence also suggests that there've been more changes than are externally visible. The phone's dual-band antenna and updated camera are both different, while the CPU is reportedly based on the Cortex A-9 as opposed to the A4's Cortex-A8 heritage.

This last would help explain why preliminary performance tests indicate that the iPhone 4S dominates every other phone and tablet save for the iPad 2. Moving to a dual-core accounts for some of the boost; the Cortex-A9 architecture delivers the rest. The 4S also uses DDR2 instead of DDR, a different baseband processor. The Qualcomm MDM6610 is what guarantees the phone's compatibility with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon.

The 4S keeps the same 512MB of RAM as the iPhone 4, which iSuppli believes is a testament to the memory efficiency of iOS. Certainly there's little evidence to suggest that iOS devices are memory starved; the iPhad family outperforms tablets and smartphones with double its RAM.

The huge number of pre-orders and activations suggests that analysts who decried the phone as a disappointing update were giving voice to their own frustration at having mistakenly predicted the iPhone 5 rather than actually voicing public sentiment. Siri, iOS 5, and the performance boosts the new phone offers are apparently more than enough reason to spur consumers to update—even if the talking heads weren't particularly impressed.
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AKwyn replied on Mon, Oct 17 2011 7:01 PM

Yup, with an upgraded camera, more processing power then ever before and unique voice command applications. It's very likely that the iPhone 4S will be a very hot seller; I mean it's no iPhone 5 but if it's making people leave their iPhone 4S for something that's marginally better then what they have then it's an instant success.


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So not worth an upgrade if you already own the 4! Alot of us were severely disappointed with the 4S and not upgrading. I refuse to pay $300+ for a new phone and have it look exactly the same, not going to happen.

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the iPhad family outperforms tablets and smartphones with double its RAM.

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Inspector replied on Mon, Oct 17 2011 9:46 PM

Well im taking my vacation from them :). My sister getting the 4s but meh. Props to apple?...

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gloriad1 replied on Tue, Oct 18 2011 6:17 AM

No way, Josey! I will never buy one and if I got it for free, that is the only way that you'll see me carry one around.

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gazd1 replied on Tue, Oct 18 2011 6:28 AM

The iPhone 4S is only for the loyal Apple fan crew that will always buy their products no matter what its got. I personally thought like "gloriad1" & that is I would only have one if I got it for free.

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Glad they did more than just change the model number on the thing and make it compatible with Sprint. I will continue to be in the Android camp myself though.

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Some are saying the 4S is having problems with the screen. I would be happy with a regular 4.

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