Tuesday, October 4, 2011

iPhone 4S, such as it is

I'd hoped for something cool from Apple's event today, such as an iPhone 5 at 5 inches, to compete with the new Kindle Fire. But the event just ended, and the results are as follows: a new, white iPod Touch, a bit cheaper. And an iPhone 4S, which is a bit faster, has a slightly better camera (8MP), and has some voice-command technology which didn't really command my attention.

In short, an evolutionary upgrade. Some might call it "lame".

They used time enough though, an hour and 40 minutes, including using time to tell us about iPhoto's ability to make postcards from your photos. There were reports that some bloggers in the audience heard noises of "Angry Birds" being played around in the audience. Sigh.

Of course there's iOS 5 coming out soon, which will have some kool features, but we've known about those since June, so one wonders what else they have been doing in Cupertino.

For people like me who already have an iPhone 4, I don't think many now are chomping the bit to update to the 4S, unless they have lots of money and are early-adopter types. For those who don't have one, I can recommend it, the 4 and the 4S by extension, is a great handheld computer, so-called "phone".

More data here.


TC [Girl] said...

Hey there...

Just read this. Glad they, finally, let Sprint into the game...although it won't matter much to me, for quite some time. :-(

I didn't know that AT&T had "world" phones! COOL! That would be good to have...if a person traveled a lot.

Funny: remember the last article that I just posted for you re: the iPhone percentage of 28%? It seems that that must have been a bit "inflated" 'cuz this article is only putting it at 18%!! I thought that was interesting! Quite a diff!

Timo Lehtinen said...

In short, an evolutionary upgrade. Some might call it "lame".

An evolutionary upgrade? Lame? You can not be serious.

I consider this one of the most significant events in the history of computing. Much more important than the introduction of the iPhone (or iPad) in the first place. Not to mention the Mac.

For the first time it is possible to – regardless of where you are – ask spoken questions from a central computer and have it immediately respond back with the answer.

The fact that both the voice recognition and the computing of the answer are done centrally opens up infinite possibilities. As Wolfram Alpha progresses, so will this service. And WA is only one of the many back-ends Siri derives (and will derive) answers from.

This is what we have been waiting for 27 years, or ever since nearly all research on AI was halted due to the introduction of the idiotic idea known as the WIMP interface.

With the iPhone 4S, WIMP is finally gone, and we have a ubiquitous gadget that can relay our spoken commands to an infinitely powerful central computer.

This is more significant than Google Search. This will be remembered as the watershed event in personal computing.

eolake said...

You're right. *If* it really works well, you're right.
It would just surprise and stun me if it really works right, based on anything and everything I've experienced with voice commands.
But if it does...

Bruce said...

I agree that iPhone 4 owners do not have a lot to be excited about. But they didn't have much to complain about either! iPhones are not new and hot anymore, they are mature. It took Apple 6 years to get the iMac to the state we know it today. With the iPhone it looks like they did the same thing in three years.

The iPhone camera has an ƒ2.4 lens and does HD video. The iPhone is eating away at the low end point and shoot camera market, which is very significant.

I think the camera manufacturers know now that their low end camera business will basically disappear before 2020. They are all coming out with small removable lens cameras that they can sell to people who use their cell phone cameras most of the time.

The iPhone 3GS is free with a plan in the US. That's very significant for other phone manufacturers.

With this lineup, Apple will sell a ton of phones, and the people who buy them will be happy with them.

Timo Lehtinen said...

You're right. *If* it really works well, you're right.

I'm sure there will be issues. But because it is a centralized service (like Google) they can (1) allocate as much computing power to the voice recognition as needed, and (2) keep improving the vocabulary, the inference engine, and the services from here to eternity.

Already the fact that they have announced support for other languages than English means the technology is solid. And they never really need to "upgrade" the handset part of the software, just continue to improve the backend.

Google will probably be able to respond to this fairly quickly, but Microsoft/Nokia do not know what hit them. If I had shares of those companies, I would sell them about right now.

eolake said...

Bruce, Timo,
All good points.

I admit, in the midst of the poor live coverage I followed yesterday, lines and sites breaking all the time due to the strain, I missed that the Siri computation is on servers, that may make a big difference, at least when the connection is good and stable.
I wonder how fast it will develop. Understanding speech is not easy, and for example, computer translation has not, so far as I know, developed all that impressively over a decade.

Timo Lehtinen said...

According to Stephen Fry, Siri works very well.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks, will check it aht.

TC [Girl] said...

3-Day Sales Report of this new phone!

TC [Girl] said...

Just read this. Thought that was quite interesting...including the very last point: "T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest carrier, has a data network that isn't compatible with the iPhone." (Which, if I'm not mistaken, is also AT&T's, now!)

TC [Girl] said...

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