iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 4s: Early Look at What to Expect

Next year, many iPhone 4s owners will come out of two year contracts, looking for a brand new smartphone. At least some of those iPhone 4s users will be thinking about another iPhone, perhaps, Apple’s rumored 2014 iPhone. Currently, that phone is dubbed iPhone 6 and here, we take a look at how we expect the iPhone 6 to compare to Apple’s aging iPhone 4s.

In October of 2011, Apple debuted the iPhone 4s, its follow up to the iPhone 4 and a device that ushered in iOS 5 in addition to Siri, the virtual assistant that remains prevalent on Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. And while the iPhone 4s might be old, it’s surprisingly still on shelves, serving as a budget option for those that don’t want to pay $99 for a plastic iPhone 5c or $199.99 or more for the iPhone 5s, Apple’s flagship.

There will be those that weigh the iPhone 4s in 2014 and beyond. It possesses a great design, a good camera, and useful software. Not to mention an extremely affordable price. And there are also those that bought the phone right when it came out that will be coming off contract in 2014, looking to buy into a brand new smartphone, one with newer hardware and better software.

Further, many of those searching for a new device will likely be looking at or at least thinking about Apple’s 2014 iPhone, the device that will replace the iPhone 5s on shelves. A new iPhone is inevitable, Apple releases one every year, and already, we’ve heard a bit about what’s to come next, after the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

A launch is still months away, at least, and rumors are still scarce. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make some predictions and take a look at how we expect the iPhone 4s and iPhone 6 will stack up against one another. Here, we do just that.

Release Date

The iPhone 4s was first released in October of 2011 and since then, it has endured two smartphone launches. After the iPhone 5 arrived, it dropped down to $99 on-contract and served as the middle ground for iPhone buyers, sandwiched between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4. When the iPhone 5s launched, the iPhone 4s surprisingly stuck around and it currently is on sale, through Apple, for free on-contract.

The important thing to note is that the iPhone 4s will more than likely be on sale at Apple all the way up until the iPhone 6 arrives. Apple has a tendency to keep its lineup intact up until a new smartphone launch which means that for the next few months, the iPhone 4s is going to be a tempting option for those on a budget.

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The iPhone 6 release date rumors span 2014.

The iPhone 6 release date rumors span 2014.

Given that it survived the axe with the iPhone 5s, and given that it should have another iOS update in store, it could be that Apple keeps it around, even after the iPhone 6 emerges. Phones are typically killed off once their software support runs out so it could be that the iPhone 4s sticks around for quite some time.

Those thinking about an iPhone 4s right now are going to have to fight temptation for quite some time as the iPhone 6 launch date and release date are both months away. Rumors currently point to summer or fall with one report suggesting that we could see the iPhone 6 as early as May. At this point, we expect summer or fall as those have proven to be Apple’s go to seasons for an iPhone launch. Anything prior to those would be a shock to us.

Design

The iPhone 4s kept the same design as the iPhone 4. ‘S’ model iPhones always keep the designs of their predecessors so Apple’s reluctance to change things up came as a surprise to no one.

Apple’s iPhone 4s features a plastic front panel combined with a glass back panel and a metal band around the side. In its time, the iPhone 4s was one of the more elegant phones around. However, companies have since moved to more premium form factors including the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 designs, both of which are comprised of aluminum and glass.

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The iPhone 4s measures in at a slim 9.3mm thin but it’s much heavier than flagships devices of today thanks to a frame that weighs a solid 140 grams. By comparison, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s weigh in at 112 grams.

The size of the iPhone 4s, it’s smaller than the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s, makes it easy to grasp with one hand or put inside of a jean pocket.

iPhone 6 design rumors are scarce, something that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at all. We’re still in the early days and typically, design rumors, at least credible ones, don’t emerge until the months right before the iPhone release. What we do know is that there is a clear pattern to Apple’s designs. Not only does Apple offer a redesign every two years, but it also continues to tweak and improve the iPhone year-after-year.

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So, we expect the iPhone 6 to not only feature a design different than the iPhone 4s but the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s as well. We don’t expect the company to take a step backwards with the quality of the design either which means that we expect the iPhone 6 design to improve on the designs before it. That means slimmer and certainly lighter than the iPhone 4s.

The iPhone 6 will almost certainly feature a larger display than the 3.5 Retina Display on the iPhone 4s which means that we expect the iPhone 6, overall, to be larger than the iPhone 4s. To those who follow the industry, this may seem like low-hanging fruit but for those that follow year-to-year, this is good information to be armed with heading into the next year.

Display

Apple’s iPhone 4s followed in the footsteps of the iPhone 4 display as well. It features a 3.5-inch Retina Display that offers 326 pixels-per-inch and 960 x 640 resolution. It does not, however, feature 16:9 aspect ratio which means that users still get the black bars that appear when watching video content on sites like YouTube.  The iPhone 5 was the first to introduce true widescreen content to the iPhone.

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While nothing is set in stone, all indications are that the iPhone 6 will feature a larger display than even the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 which means that we should see a display size larger than the iPhone 4s’ screen.

As we’ve pointed out numerous times over, reports have indicated that the iPhone 6 will finally introduce a much larger screen than the one found on the iPhone 4s. Thus far, iPhone 6 rumors have centered around a 4.5-inch to 5-inch display though a specific size has yet to be decided upon, likely because Apple is currently testing several different sizes.

NPD DisplaySearch, which accurately predicted the iPad 3′s Retina Display, claims that Apple is working on two different display sizes including a 4.7-inch 1280 × 720 display and a 5.7-inch 1920 × 1080 display. Respected KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo believes Apple is planning an iPhone 6 with a 4.5-inch to 5-inch display in 2014. Kuo accurately predicted many of the iPhone 5s features ahead of the launch. NPD and Kuo are not alone.

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Several other reports, including one from the The Wall Street Journal, backed those rumors insiting that Apple is indeed testing larger iPhone display sizes and that one could arrive in 2014.

The sources, and sheer volume of these large iPhone rumors, make it hard to ignore and at this point, we imagine that the iPhone 6 will indeed up the ante, in both quality and size. Look for the iPhone 6’s display to make the iPhone 4s display look both old and small.

Specs

When the iPhone 4s first arrived back in 2011, its hardware specifications were some of the best around. They have, unsurprisingly, begun to show their age. The Apple A5 processor on the iPhone 4s has since been replaced by newer chips including the 64-bit A7 processor found on the iPhone 5s. The 8MP camera sensor, which was once considered one of the best around, simply is no match for the cameras found on the iPhone 5s or even the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4s still features high quality battery life that Apple customers have become familiar with.

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Consumers should expect the iPhone 6 to come with more powerful specs than the iPhone 4s. Apple always upgrades its smartphones, year-after-year, and anything less would be viewed as a disappointment.

This means a better processor, probably 64-bit in nature, something that will help with performance. It means a better camera than the one found on the iPhone 5s and certainly the camera on the iPhone 4s. And it also means fantastic battery life, something that has carried over from iPhone to iPhone. We also expect Apple to retain the TouchID fingerprint reader that is embedded in the home button for added security and convenience. The iPhone 4s features a standard home button.

These features will become more fleshed out as time goes on but at this point, there is no reason to suspect anything other than a more powerful, better equipped iPhone 6.

Software

The iPhone 4s currently runs iOS 7, Apple’s most current operating system. iOS 7 was the first iOS update to drastically overhaul the look and feel of the software while also adding new features. Apple tends to keep its devices upgraded for three years before killing off support which means that the iPhone 4s will likely get an update to iOS 8 next year.

iOS 8 remains a bit of a mystery though we expect it to include the usual feature upgrades and the same look that Apple debuted with iOS 7. iOS 7 will serve as the foundation for many iOS updates to come.

We also expect it to be the software that arrives alongside the iPhone 6. Apple’s new iPhones always come with new iOS software on board and it’s hard to see that changing in 2014. Apple also tends to include software tweaks or additions that are unique to an iPhone and we could certainly see something similar on the iPhone 6, perhaps relating to its large screen.

Apple is also known for cutting features from its software updates for older devices meaning the iOS 8 update on the iPhone 6 will almost certainly be a richer version of iOS software. That, and the fact that the iPhone 6 will likely get three years of support, are something that smartphone shoppers need to think about before signing on for a new device.

Carriers

The iPhone 4s is available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. It’s also available on a handful of smaller carriers including the United States’ fifth largest carrier, U.S. Cellular. In other words, there are a lot of options. The catch is that the device doesn’t feature 4G LTE data speeds and instead, relies on HSPA+ as its fastest network. LTE, overall, tends to be much faster than HSPA+. The only network that can come close is T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42 network.

Apple’s iPhone 6 will certainly feature 4G LTE and it’s likely going to arrive on every single carrier that offers the iPhone 4s. So, not only will it have the faster network speeds but it will have the same kind of choice as well.

Price

Back in the day, the iPhone 4s was the top dog, commanding a $199.99 on-contract commitment. Nowadays, the device is as cheap as it gets as Apple, and carriers, offer it for free on-contract.

iPhone 6 Price

The newer iPhone 6 is going to be more expensive than the iPhone 4s, it’s just a matter of by how much. Apple has stayed consistent with its $199.99 starting price point but there is chatter about the company potentially increasing the price tag by up to $100 due to the new technology on board. Large high-resolution displays are not cheap.

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At the very least, we expect a $200 price difference. At the most, we could see a $300 price difference though it would be surprising to see Apple bump the overall price of the iPhone up $100. $50 or so seems more likely.

Comments

  1. Larry says

    Adam your such a idiot spammer what’s the point ip 5s vs 4s??? Ur a watse of a writer my 4 year old son can do better than u please quit with your topics it desperate

    • David says

      This person clearly doesn’t even understand how to write proper English lol I thought your article was very useful and informative! Thank you!

      • Larry says

        Niether do you idiot!! Besides iPhone 5s/4s were crap anyways get a real phone!! Sony Xperia Z1 read the specs on this new phone!! Apple will never come close!! Apple is out dated safari is so 1980’s

  2. Nina says

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  4. steve says

    Why would anyone by an iPhone? Wow, Apple is going to add LTE, which has been an option in Android for over 2.5 years. Now their talking about adding some DPI, good idea they haven’t changed the screen since the iPhone 4. Oh I forgot, you can go with an A7 chip, big deal the A7 is 2 years old and Android is all the way to A15, but Apple is happy with a chip that’s less than my A9,100$ HP tablet? When I upgraded my 4s to the Note 2, I was amazed how much better it was. And the things you can do with Android oh my god. Custom ROMs, custom kernels, overclocking and undervolting. The thing is amazing. Not to forget emulation. I love hooking my phone to the TV and playing every old console all the way up to the PlayStation 2. You can use an Xbox remote, PlayStation remote, or a Wii remote to control. The things my Android does that I couldn’t do with iPhone is unreal.

    • Sony Xperia Z1 says

      Ip5s vs ip4s both pieces of shit, problem solved!! Get a real phone!! With real features

    • Xperia Z1 says

      EXACT!!! All the $$$$$$$ apple greeds and same old crap just a colorful me UI?? At least android you have more options and not charged like apple does with there out dated App Store Google Sony Xperia Z1 and read all the specs and features, that’s just to start of android devices on OS!! Will apple do what my Z1 does?? Nope!! Maybe iPhone 1000??

  5. bnelms says

    The comments here are a little lacking. Iphone is the original. Iphone all day baby. We dont want a big screen. Some of us like the sleek iphone. If you want a pad get an ipad.

    • Xperia Z1 says

      One main laugh on apple!! They say every year the fastest iPhone yet?? Why the same old 1 gb ram?? My Z1 is 2 gb ram I think apple should say the slowest yes and going ohhhh the a7 big deal ahhh yawn

  6. c says

    im having second thoughts about getting the new iphone. thanks for each one of your opinions. i would hate to spend money on something not up to par

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