Despite my earlier thoughts, I did buy an iPhone 4s in Sydney last Friday.  (My iPhone 4s pre-review is here)

So, after almost a solid week using it, here are my cut to the chase, black and white, observations:

What’s it like? FAST (and awesome).
What’s Siri like to use? Entertaining (see Siri quotes here), and super useful even with the limitations of no location search outside the US. Speech recognition is AMAZING!  Very intelligent.  This is no standard dictate only app, it’s very smart.  Things like What’s the weather like and What’s the weather forecast in Wellington tomorrow all work seamlessly.  Oh, and yes, you can dictate to it too (which is handy when driving).
Other stuff? Well iOS5 rocks – love iMessage integration of text and data messaging. iCloud will take smartphone convenience to the next level for many users (especially the ones that don’t back up!)
Camera This is a point and shoot camera killer.I am not that interested in 8 vs 5MP, but the speed of focus, and between shot time (under a second) and the fast lens (this means it lets more light in, so brighter pics) is SUCH a pleasant surprise.  Add in iCloud integration, and I take a pic, and 10 seconds later it’s on my home PC and also my iPad (as soon as I am in Wifi range that is).If I was CEO of Canon et al, I’d be worried. (Just like Hallmark cards should be)
Should I get one if I have an iPhone 4? Well, probably you don’t NEED one.  But do you WANT one?
Actually, upgrade to iOS5 1st, then decide if Siri+camera+speed is what you are after.
Should I get one if I have a 3Gs or earlier? Or don’t have an iPhone? If you want a smart phone, IMHO, the iPhone 4s is the best on the planet as of today’s date.
 NZ issues
  • We can’t buy them yet (even from Apple).
  • Siri will work, but not with location based stuff (yet).
  • It’s BLOODY expensive (relative to other countries that offer large carrier subsidies).
iOS5 Just like lots of the cool stuff about the iPhone 4 was iOS4, iOS5 rocks.   In my view it’s the most significant upgrade since they added multi-tasking.    Ironically the issue for many when upgrade the iOS is things like oh, I lost my music coz my PC crashed last year or My app settings got lost coz I forgot to back them up, and the ONE thing that will stop that from happening again is the very OS they are upgrading it to.  iOS5 + iCloud allows for truly PC-less backups/OS upgrades etc.
More on back ups etc To show you how cool iCloud/iOS5 is, my friend in Sydney had already migrated to iCloud on his iPhone 4, and upgraded that to iOS5.  On Saturday he goes into a store, gets an iPhone 4s, tethers to my iPhone (ie on WiFi) and withing 60 minutes has ALL his apps (in folders), settings, contacts, the WORKS on his phone.  No PC, no iTunes, nothing, just a WiFi connection and a “yes, please download my stuff” clicked once.  Apple are onto a winner here.   My acid test is could I give it to my mum to use, and the answer is yes, it’s that simple.
What don’t I like? Minor gripe is despite same basic form factor (shape and size) as the iPhone 4, the side controls (mute switch and volume controls) are are few mm lower than on the iPhone 4.  This means buying a new case OR putting up with every so slightly mis-aligned holes.  Not a major, but annoying.  FYI, all others line up (camera, dock,headphones etc)

Some observations on buying one:

  • It was SUPER easy.  Apple know how to make stuff work, including retail sales.
  • It was SUPER quick – 15 minutes queue @ 1.30pm on Friday 14th October (the 1st day of sale) for the Sydney main store on George St
  • Staff very helpful
  • Apple staff rock!

Black and White Version: The 4s is an awesome phone.  Like the iPad 1>2 upgrade it is more incremental, but Siri and the camera are super nice additions, and the speed is REALLY amazing.  iOS5 + iCloud ROCKS!

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