Al­lur­ing iphone hits the spot

The Press - The Box - - FRONT PAGE - GER­ARD CAMP­BELL

Ap­ple iphone 4S About $ for the hand­set only, but prices vary by mem­ory size and plan.

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Ap­ple’s iphone is some­thing of a phe­nom­e­non.

Not only is it a smart­phone that Ap­ple fans covet with a pas­sion, but it’s a de­vice that even peo­ple who know lit­tle about gad­gets and tech­nol­ogy want to own.

I have used iphones in the past, but have never been a com­mit­ted Ap­ple fa­natic, de­spite own­ing an ipod Touch for years.

I also don’t gush about every­thing that Ap­ple does, nor do I rave about the lat­est fea­tures to ap­pear in itunes.

How­ever, af­ter spend­ing time with the iphone 4S that was re­leased a few weeks ago, I am quite im­pressed and would quite hap­pily re­place my cur­rent smart­phone with an iphone.

The 4S feels solid in the hand. Its heart is the new dual-core A5 chip: the brains of the iphone 4S, and Ap­ple sug­gests the 4S of­fers dou­ble the per­for­mance of the iphone 4.

The 3.5-inch screen (with a res­o­lu­tion of 960 by 640 pix­els) is bight and re­spon­sive.

The big­gest ad­di­tion to the 4S, how­ever, is Siri, Ap­ple’s ‘‘lan­guage recog­ni­tion’’ as­sis­tant.

While it isn’t of­fi­cially sup­ported in New Zealand, I was im­pressed, af­ter be­ing ini­tially scep­ti­cal, with how well the Siri lan­guage recog­ni­tion re­sponded most of the time us­ing my ‘‘Nu Zi­land’’ ac­cent, when the Siri is ac­tu­ally set to Aus­tralian English.

The Siri can send text mes­sages, through imes­sage, and you can dic­tate notes to it and phrase ques­tions in mul­ti­ple ways. Ask­ing Siri, ‘‘What is the tem­per­a­ture now?’’, she replied (I had se­lected an Aus­tralian wo­man’s ac­cent), ‘‘It’s 18 de­grees in Can­ter­bury, New Zealand’’.

Siri re­fused, how­ever, to of­fer an opinion on whether she liked me: ‘‘I do not have an opinion on that,’’ she replied calmly.

What you can’t use Siri for is to search for busi­nesses in your area. A ques­tion ask­ing where the near­est In­dian restau­rant was gar­nered the re­sponse that this util­ity was avail­able only within the US. Ap­ple hasn’t in­di­cated when other ter­ri­to­ries will get this ser­vice.

The 4S has dual an­ten­nas, mean­ing call qual­ity should re­main con­stant wher­ever you are and I have to say call qual­ity was great: clear and crisp (I was us­ing the 2de­grees mo­bile net­work, so ex­pe­ri­ences may dif­fer, de­pend­ing on car­rier).

I did no­tice, how­ever, that it got quite hot af­ter a bit of use.

The eight-megapixel cam­era is one of the best smart­phone cam­eras I’ve used – cer­tainly bet­ter than the usual point-and-click cam­era we use for fam­ily pho­tos. It also has fa­cial recog­ni­tion and users can do ba­sic photo edit­ing on the fly us­ing the pre­in­stalled edit­ing soft­ware, and then up­load pho­tos to a so­cial net­work site. Cap­tured video (1080p res­o­lu­tion) is clear and crisp.

The 4S also of­fers icloud, which means that data stored on the phone (pho­tos, con­tacts, ap­point­ments, mu­sic) can be synced to de­vices with­out the need to plug in ca­bles and cords.

While the Phone 4S might not have been the iphone 5 that Ap­ple fans were hop­ing for, if you own an older model iphone and have been sit­ting on the fence about up­grad­ing, the 4S might just be the cat­a­lyst to make the move.

As for me, af­ter my time with the Phone 4S, I am pre­pared to join the con­verted.

Phone 4S: Ap­ple’s ‘‘lan­guage recog­ni­tion’’ as­sis­tant Siri isn’t of­fi­cially sup­ported here, but it picked my ‘‘Nu Zi­land’’ ac­cent when set to Aus­tralian English.

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