Apple will be putting the iPhone 5S on sale later this year and at this point, consumers may consider whether they should buy the new phone or choose older models instead. While Apple hasn’t set the release date in stone, it’s quite obvious that the company will be offering us something interesting. With its enhanced software and hardware features, the phone already draws attention for millions of potential users even before its release date.
The current iPhone 5 ushered a new era in iOS ecosystem with its larger 4-inch display, 4G LTE data connectivity and aluminum-based design. The upcoming iPhone 5S may not bring us drastically enhanced capabilities and there’s a very good chance that the phone won’t kill off both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.
While the phone is visibly aging, the iPhone 4S is still a viable option for certain type of consumers, especially those who rarely run hardware-intensive apps. In fact, the iPhone 4S is still good enough to run many games in Apple App Store. That said, users should consider whether they really need to purchase the rather costly iPhone 5S for their daily activities. Here are things to consider about the iPhone 4S before buying the iPhone 5S;
- Good design: While it’s not known how the iPhone 5S would look like, reports suggest that the phone will be visually an incremental improvement over the current iPhone 5S. Apple applied the same concept with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It is likely that iPhone 5S will use the same 4-inch display, so it won’t be a monstrosity like those huge 1080p Android models. To maintain one-handed usability, Apple may keep the iPhone 5S at a reasonable size. Even if Apple decides to increase the display size, the iPhone 5S could be taller instead of wider.
- On the other hand, the iPhone 4S still looks reasonably decent in, although the glass backing is more susceptible to cracking. The iPhone 4S still uses the older 30-pin dock and this means that newer accessories won’t work with the phone. Accessories manufacturers are more likely to provide new models for top-of-the-line phone models, but there are still plenty of accessories available for the iPhone 4S. However, if you don’t use anything more than an earphone, the iPhone 4S is still considered as adequate.
- Lower price: There’s no word how much Apple will sell the iPhone 5S, but it should be consistent with the typical pricing of new iPad and iPhone models. It’s likely that the 16GB variant of the iPhone 5S will be available for $199.99, $299.99 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB; all with 2-year of new contract agreement. Apple typically maintains three iPhone models in the market, so the company will retain the iPhone 4S and discontinue the iPhone 4 instead. Something that shoppers remember is that the upfront cost the iPhone 4S will be quite cheap and the more expensive component is the data plan. Although the iPhone 5S will offer plenty of attractive features, consumers should consider whether or not the $200 price with 2-year contract will make it worth having.
- Acceptable camera: It is rumored that the iPhone 5S will have a killer camera, which is paired with a dual-LED flash. Its photography solution should be a direct improvement over the current iPhone 5, which is focused in delivering excellent photographs in low-light situation. Whatever the reason may be, the camera of the iPhone 5S is better than the iPhone 4S’. However, this could be a minor consideration for those who rarely take photos and record videos. So, before settling for the newer iPhone 5S, users should consider whether they would do photography-related tasks. The iPhone 4S comes with the decent f/2.4 aperture, which allow more light in dimmer situations to keep motion blurs at bay. The wider aperture compared to its predecessor means that users can restrict depth of field to isolate subjects from their background.
- Decent performance: It is rumored that the iPhone 5S will be equipped with significantly enhanced processor, probably the newer A7 chip or the older A6X. Either way, the phone still offers better performance than the iPhone 4S. Phone users who use third-party apps and games at least moderately need to care about processing capability. Newer processors don’t only offer better performance, but sometimes also improved battery life. Despite using the older A5 dual-core processor, iPhone 4S shouldn’t have problem opening, running and closing most apps. Casual games should run very smoothly. Not everyone in the smartphone market is power user and the iPhone 4S is still a device that people can pick up easily and start using.
- Reasonable data connectivity: The iPhone 5S already offers the 4G LTE connection and although the iPhone 4S uses only HSPA connection, it still handles most webpages in seconds. Users can still download apps and songs relatively quickly. Many have also found that subscribing to the slower HSPA connection is more manageable financially, since most 4G LTE plans offer more limited amount of data at higher prices. The 4G LTE data connectivity requires more power to operate, but the iPhone 5S may compensate that with the ultra-thin, energy-efficient Sharp’s IGZO display. In the end, users should choose whether the costs needed to obtain 4G connectivity and improved display technology, match their situations and daily requirements.
- Support for iOS 7: The iOS 7 is likely to be the stock software for the iPhone 5S and it will also arrive for iPhone 4S users in the fall. Nevertheless, we won’t see the full capability of the iOS 7 on the older iPhone 4S. As an example, iPhone 4S won’t benefit from the AirDrop features or the ability to access filters using the Camera app. It means, we won’t see filter preview before the photos are taken. Again, this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for iPhone 4S owners who rarely use the camera. Excluded features are related to hardware components availability. As an example, the iPhone 4S will not get the added security provided by fingerprint reader, since it doesn’t have the required hardware. Users who don’t need all the new software enhancements provided by the iOS 7 should be fine with the older iPhone 4S.
- Sufficient storage: The Phone 5S may arrive in four storage variants, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. Users can only get iPhone 4S with 16GB of internal storage, but this should be enough for those who rarely bring large multimedia files with them. Whatever the case may be, the iPhone 5S will deliver more storage options, but with 16GB of internal storage, the iPhone 4S will be remarkably cheaper for budget-conscious individuals.
Despite the above advantages, the iPhone 5S is still a smarter for buyers who prioritize more on longevity. While Apple does an excellent job keeping its devices updated with latest software solution, eventually the iPhone 4S will be too far behind the rapid technological development in the smartphone industry. At some point, the iPhone 4S will no longer be supported and for power users, its usability will soon come to an end. Nevertheless, for average users with basic requirements, like voice calling, text messaging and casual gaming, the iPhone 4S still provides values that extend beyond Apple’s official support. While the iPhone 4S may not get the iOS 8, there’s still a possibility that it will receive support until the arrival of the iOS 9.0.