The iPhone 4S is here. Apple has officially announced 2011's new addition to the iPhone series, and as expected it's yet another seriously desirable - and seriously expensive - hunk of glass and transistors. But does it have what it takes to hold its own against what Android has to offer over the next 6 months, the next 12 months?
What the iPhone 4S has
3.5in 960x640 pixel display
Dual core 1GHz A5 processor
8mm thick body
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What Androids of 2012 are heading for
1.5GHz dual core processors
Ice Cream Sandwich Android OS
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The iPhone 4 design is already terribly familiar but Apple has chosen to largely keep it the same for the new iPhone 4S. There's no massive redesign, but it's still one of the slimmest phones available, and manufactured using entirely premium materials.
We expect that the big hitters of Android will, similarly, stick to their guns for the next wave of Androids. We've already seen that the Samsung-made Google Nexus Prime looks fairly similar to the Google Nexus S before it - but with an even more ginormous 4.6in screen.
Are we disappointed? A tiny bit - everyone would prefer something new and shiny rather than mostly-old and shiny, right? But this is no bad decision on Apple's part. The old design was hanging around up until now in the form of the "budget" 3GS model, so at least now we're iPhone 4-style all the way.
Apple has chosen to mostly stick to its guns with the iPhone 4S, rejecting the "bigger, better, more bad-ass" strategy adopted by Samsung and HTC over its last few generations of Android phones. It has stuck with the sub-4in display for the iPhone 4S, and we're glad.
Do you remember when the HTC Desire first came out, back in March 2010? Back then a 3.7in screen seemed huge, but now it is dwarfed by today's 4.3in and larger flagship phones. It points towards a kind of body dysmorphia in Android handsets, which never seem to feel they're big enough.
Android phones may be larger, but they're still not sharper. At 326dpi, the iPhone 4S, and indeed the iPhone 4, remain more pixel-dense than any Android phone out there. At the 4.3in standard of flagship Androids, a phone would have to adopt a borderline ridiculous 1280x800 pixel resolution to beat the standard set by the iPhone. Handsets will meet this standard - the first one, the Google Nexus Prime, is set to be unveiled within the next couple of weeks. It's a good time for smartphone screens - but the iPhone series is losing its lead.