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The first time we heard the news that Apple was coming out with the next iPhone, we were as giddy as schoolchildren.  We all hoped that that it was going to be a game changing iPhone 5.  But, alas, it was not meant to be.  Instead, and with much fanfare, we got the iPhone 4S and we could only help but ask – is it just an iPhone 4 with a few more bells and whistles? Would it truly be worth the long wait in line?. Was the 4s destined to be revolutionary or evolutionary?  This is a brief look at the 3 most noticeable upgrades found in the iPhone 4S.

Software

Maybe the most noticeable of the iPhone 4S upgrades can be found in its speed and power.  The 4S features a dual-core A5 chip found in the iPad 2, which makes opening apps, loading the browser, scrolling through home screens and countless other procedures much faster and smoother.  Apple states that the iPhone 4S is twice as fast as the iPhone 4, and exhibits seven times its graphical prowess.

Siri

One remarkable distinction between the iPhone 4 and the 4S is the addition of  your very own “personal assistant” named Siri.  When it works, it is an amazing feat of technology. You can simply tell Siri to contact a friend and tell her you’re running late.  Tell Siri, “I’m feeling like Indian food,” and she will tell you where the nearest place serving Sag Paneer is located.  However, the caveat is “when it works.”  When Siri cannot understand a particular command, area or specific person, she will tell you humorously, if not annoyingly after a while, that she can’t process the info.  Certainly this will be fixed in the future, but it would be wonderful if it worked flawlessly now.  See this article for another take on Siri.

iCloud

Another cool aspect of the iPhone 4S is that it has basically made MobileMe a stock feature.  All Apple products from now on will have access to iCloud. This means that it no longer matters which device you use, you have access to any piece of information you’re looking for, whether it’s an mp3, a photo, app or document.  It’s truly remarkable, until you stumble upon some of its unwieldy aspects. The most frustrating of these is the fact that MobileMe has already created a user ID that iCloud doesn’t recognize. Furthermore, if you have an email address through Yahoo or Gmail, it won’t recognize them because they don’t have a me.com address. All new technology comes with learning curves, but the fact that we think Apple should be above these frustrations makes them even more, well, frustrating.

Ultimately, the iPhone 4S was predestined to be a huge seller worldwide – but are its upgrades worth the wait?  The answer mostly depends on the type of user you are. If you have to have the most cutting-edge product available, with improved hardware, camera, voice controls and iCloud, it may be something to consider.   If the iPhone or other mobile phone you’re using gets you where you want to go, its good to know that the iPhone 4S is more of an evolution than revolution – but its pretty cool none-the-less.