Pining for the metaphorical fjords

Today is Wednesday, October 12, 2011. The day iOS 5 is released upon the Apple faithful—a group still smarting from the passing of Steve Jobs just seven days prior. Will I upgrade my stalwart 3GS to the Siri-fied new operating system? Well, not if my main goal is to get Siri, since it laughs at my device and its ancient, 2009 internals. (“Siri, where can I find a good burger near this location?” “I sense you have no A5, so shut up and go fix me a turkey pot pie!”) The issue is whether I want to forgo, for now, my jailbroken goodies in exchange for iOS 5 shininess. Granted, a workable jailbreak method will probably be available before I’m even done writing this column, but I want to know Infinifolders is just a restore away before I go down the road less traveled yet again. Which I suppose makes it rather well traveled. Hmm.

Anyway, while iOS appears to be a rather sweet update—if for wireless syncing and updating alone—the real object of my desire won’t appear for two more days: The iPhone 4S. And when I say appear, I don’t mean in my own hands. Possibly in your hands. And most decidedly in some German hands that actually got their handsets yesterday. It’s true. Even though my 3GS now 28 months old, on its second battery, constantly butting up against its 32GB max capacity and limping along at 802.11g speeds, I was not one of the million or so folks to pony up for a pre-order.

Why? Because iPhones are ‘spensive, man.

So, yes, the only reason I will not have an iPhone 4S to review for your reading pleasure six weeks after you’ve forgotten all the reviews you’ve already read, is that I’m cheap. Or broke. Or doing six grand worth of siding work to my house. Responsibility blows.

While the 4S met with a semi-collective “meh” upon its announcement last week, the pre-sales data obviously indicates a lot of pent-up demand for a new iPhone model. Mainly, I’m sure, from fellow 3GS owners who were only halfway through their mandatory 2-year sentence with AT&T when the 4 rolled out in 2010. A lot of folks seemed disappointed that the 4S wasn’t called a 5 and didn’t come in a new, teardrop shape that had leaked earlier this past summer. Personally, I’m glad the 4S has the same case design as the 4 as I was not entirely impressed with the supposed iPhone 5 chassis. The symmetrical design of the double-glass front/back and the metal frame is just too nice a design to chuck after a year.

Of course, what I really want is speed. That dual core A5 chip, under-clocked though it may be in this implementation, is still a nice bit of kit. I already think Infinity Blade plays quite well on my 3GS, so I can only imagine what it’ll be like with the 4S’s graphic horsepower and Retina display. I want 802.11n so I can, at long last, have an all-N household network and not living some sort of WiFi time warp when Justin Bieber was a phenom. On second thought…

Naturally, I want the Facebook app to crash in record time.

I also want the camera. I have three kids. Which, activity-wise, equates to 36 adults or 192 gerbils. Grabbing my Nikon D80 or Canon HF100 at a moment’s notice often means the moment is gone. And the slow startup speed of the 3GS camera makes it of little help, too. While an 8-megapixel senor is nice, I suppose, I’m more geeked about the f/2.4 aperture lens with five elements, the 1080p video, face detection and A5-powered video stabilization. On a frickin’ phone, cha cha. No, the iPhone 4S won’t replace my stand-alone gear, but I won’t feel so bad about leaving said gear behind when I don’t feel like being a photo nerd. Or viewed as the neighborhood perv down at the park. And even though it took Apple five revisions to do so, the volume-as-shutter-button feature is a welcome addition.

But the 4S will, like all my Apple-related longings at the moment, have to wait. After all, I can’t just upgrade my 3GS and leave my wife behind. Although she could make do with the 16GB instead of the 64GB version I require. Yes, require. But that’s still a chunk of cash that won’t be completely offset by selling our current phones on eBay. And, of course, I also need a new Mac. And an iPad. Although I am waiting for the iPad 3 to come out before taking the plunge, but that’s a project and topic for another column. But until I decide to stop writing those COBRA checks, my 4S shall remain, as Debbie Gibson once opined, only in my dreams.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • Jason_Fox
    • 8 years ago

    Update — My 3GS has the old boot rom, so I’ll be able to use Dev Team’s iOS 5 jailbreak untethered. I sense a new column for next week.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    Not impressed with the iPhone4S.

    • dashbarron
    • 8 years ago

    Enjoyed the article and opinions on the matter from our resident Macolyte.

    • --k
    • 8 years ago

    I have a feeling the iPhone 5 will be out sooner rather than later. The LTE support chip that works with A5 processor is supposedly expected within a few months (~6 months) so I can see a new iPhone coming out around June of next year. Even in the fast paced world of smartphone, 7 months is too short of a shelf life.

    As for Siri, I’m guessing that the incompatibility with <4S iPhones is marketing based, rather than any technical limitation. As an example, Vlingo has similar capabilities, and most of the VR/search legwork is done on the cloud. I don’t see why Siri would necessitate a fast processor if they are using the same methods.

    • jonbanh
    • 8 years ago

    most idiotic title ever

      • ET3D
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe not ever, but certainly the text is unrelated to the title. Pining for the fjords has specific connotations, and when the article started with a mention of Steve Jobs I though that would be the subject, but unfortunately the rest was unrelated.

      • Jason_Fox
      • 8 years ago

      Guessing you’re not Monty Python fans.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        I am. and I got it. these guys are plebs

    • The Dark One
    • 8 years ago

    You know, Jason, that WP7 phones will be able to upgrade to Mango… 😉

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      DON’T YOU DARE TALK ABOUT THAT M$ TRASH IN AN APPLE BLOG!!!!!!!! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!??!

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    Jailbreak is done, some of the userspace apps (Activator in particular) need some tweaking and version bumps out to Cydia, just waiting for most everyone to get the update and backup SHSHs.

    • KoolAidMan
    • 8 years ago

    You don’t need to imagine, Anand already posted preliminary benchmarks: [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/4951/iphone-4s-preliminary-benchmarks-800mhz-a5-slightly-slower-gpu-than-ipad-2[/url<] tldr - Holy shit fast, smokes everything else out there, let alone an iPhone 3GS

    • ltcommander.data
    • 8 years ago

    I thought the bigger cost of smartphone ownership was the voice and data plans rather than the phone itself?

      • blitzy
      • 8 years ago

      yeah i thought that was the beauty of being in the states, small up front cost and you get a new handset every couple of years since you’ll be paying for calls and data regardless.

      • demani
      • 8 years ago

      Old meme: the truth of the matter is that the cost would be indentical here since he already has a data plan for the 3Gs. ANd for people looking to move to a smartphone, the cost is the data plan (since they already have a voice plan; and how many people go from no cell straight to cell phone? a very slim minority). So the cost is more closely tracked to the $360 (over 2 years) data plan minimum cost, or $600 (also 2 years) that is more common. Unless you already have one-then the cost difference is exactly the purchase price and activation fee.

    • tone21705
    • 8 years ago

    When I receive my 4S on Friday (hopefully) it will be faster than my 3GS and my primary laptop. Sad.

    • ChrisG683
    • 8 years ago

    I am really upset that the iPhone 4 only supports 802.11n on the 2.4 GHz band, when my 802.11n network at home is 5 GHz network :(. I’m not getting the iPhone 4S, but hopefully they update the hardware to support 5 GHz.

      • zdw
      • 8 years ago

      It’s an antenna issue – not enough places to put them when you take the GSM/CDMA antennas into account.

      The iPads have dual band 2.4/5Ghz WiFi, if that would work for you.

        • travbrad
        • 8 years ago

        Is the iPad a phone now? Seems like a strange recommendation if they are looking for a phone.

        If someone is looking at android phones I wouldn’t recommend a chromebook.

          • trackerben
          • 8 years ago

          With the 3G iPad2 and its A2DP bluetooth you can make and receive calls (with notification) with a 2.1 headset on your merged contacts, using free voip like Viber or Skype which also allow metered bridging to carrier numbers. Not as conveniently and purposefully-tasked as a small phone, but its more than useable in a pinch.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I’m running a jailbroken iOS5 GM right now on my iPhone 4. You can JB iOS5 just fine…

      • demani
      • 8 years ago

      But it is tethered, correct?

    • Vulk
    • 8 years ago

    Seriously get a real insurance company instead of COBRA. You’re killing yourself.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Choices are something most people don’t have. In most states pre-existing conditions make it impossible to get the coverage you need.

      If you have kids or are over 40 you need medical insurance even if it costs you as much as a new car.

      • Jason_Fox
      • 8 years ago

      Well, duh. If I didn’t have Type-I diabetes I would.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        move to canada

          • bill94el
          • 8 years ago

          L. O. L.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Eww, COBRA checks. I remember the last time I needed to COBRA insurance, and it was not a pleasant thought. That was 2007 – I’m sure it’s only worse now.

    • JohnC
    • 8 years ago

    Eh… I upgraded mine since I was eligible for a “discounted” upgrade (or whatever AT&T calls it). Would I still upgrade it if I were ineligible and had to pay higher price? Probably, because I can (luckily) afford it. If someone can’t currently upgrade due to monetary reasons – well, then they should simply wait until they can, as simple as that. Don’t really see any issues here worthy of lengthy discussions or multi-paragraph blog posts…

      • no51
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Would I still upgrade it if I were ineligible and had to pay higher price? Probably, because I can (luckily) afford it.[/quote<] sounds like you're apple's target demographic.

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    I might buy my first iPhone…. shock…. horror…..

    I kept putting it off because my nokia’s always had faster processors and better cameras… now it’s almost not worth the bother of symbian fail.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      but…. wp7 is, by all accounts, and every review a great OS. I expect the camera domination to continue. You’re right that there are no dual core windows phones right now, but they’re on their way.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        I managed to get my hands on a Pre3; that’ll have to hold me for a year or so until the current dust settles….

        • Vulk
        • 8 years ago

        Huh? When did he mention dual core windows phones? And is there a Nokia WP7 phone NOW?

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    So…. the price stunned you just as you were wakin’ up?

      • Dposcorp
      • 8 years ago

      Breakfast Club reference FTW!

      Edit: not intended as a reply

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