Later this year, Apple is going to be putting a new iPhone on sale, an iPhone that is likely going to be called iPhone 5S. Either right now, at that point, or at some time down the road, buyers might look into whether or not to buy the new iPhone 5S or one of Apple’s older iPhones, particularly the iPhone 4S. Before the iPhone 5S launch, there are some things that prospective buyers will want to know.
While we still don’t have a date set in stone, it’s painfully obvious that Apple will be releasing a new smartphone sometime this year. That smartphone is likely to be in the form of an iPhone 5S, an incremental ‘S’ iPhone model that is said to be coming with new hardware and software features, features that will likely draw the attention of millions of consumers.
Read: iPhone 5S Rumor Roundup.
The device will replace the current iPhone model, the iPhone 5, which ushered in a new era of Apple’s iPhone with its aluminum design, 4G LTE data speeds and larger display. And while the iPhone 5S is coming to replace the iPhone 5 as Apple’s flagship, it likely won’t replace the iPhone 5 completely, even if rumors suggest that Apple will be killing off the current iPhone.
There is also a very good chance that it won’t kill off Apple’s iPhone 4S, the predecessor of the iPhone 5, and a device that is currently being sold through the Apple Store for $99 on-contract.
Despite its age, the iPhone 4S remains a viable option for many smartphone shoppers, shoppers who don’t necessarily need the latest hardware or software and are content with a device that does the job.
While it’s not confirmed, we believe consumers around the world will be faced with not one, not two, but three iPhones later on this fall. That said, there will be many consumers who will be trying to decide which device to get in the build up to the iPhone 5S launch. More specifically, many consumers will be weighing whether to buy the new iPhone model, the iPhone 5S, or the older iPhone model, the iPhone 4S.
For those that are indeed weighing that decision, here are some things to consider before latching on to one of these devices.
While we still don’t know what the iPhone 5S will look like exactly, rumors suggest that the device will be coming with a design that is similar to the iPhone 5, much in the same way the iPhone 4S resembled the iPhone 4. This means a few different things that buyers need to be aware of.
First, it means it will likely have a 4-inch display. The iPhone 4S was the last iPhone to sport a 3.5-inch display which means that the iPhone 5S will have a larger display. It does not, however, mean that the device is going to be a monstrosity.
As we saw with the iPhone 5, Apple was able to keep the device at a very reasonable size, even with the screen size increase. Instead of bulking up in width, the iPhone 5 is a bit taller than the iPhone 4S, something that allows for the display to fit into the form factor quit nicely. Specifically, the iPhone 5 measures in at 7.1mm thin and 112 grams heavy while the iPhone 4S and its smaller display is 9.3mm thin with a weight of 140 grams. So, we should see an iPhone 5S that is much lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4S.
It should also include an aluminum back with its design, rather than the glass found on the iPhone 4S, glass that is susceptible to cracking. In addition, while the iPhone 4S comes with a 30-pin dock standard, the iPhone 5S will come with the Lightning standard. This is important because it means that old chargers won’t work with the iPhone 5S and it also means that the iPhone 4S is at risk of missing out on new accessories. Accessory makers will be focused on providing top-of-the-line accessories to the current standard while the 30-pin dock standard will likely see far less support.
There is still no word about how much the iPhone 5S will cost but given that Apple has stayed consistent with its iPhone and iPad pricing, there is no reason to believe that the company will increase or decrease the $199.99 price point that we’ve seen for its 16GB iPhone.
So, buyers should expect the iPhone 5S to arrive with three different price points, at least, with $199.99, $299.99 and $399.99 being the asking price at Apple and through carriers.
Those who are looking to spend far less than that will likely find the iPhone 4S price to be much cheaper. Apple typically keeps three iPhone models around, keeping its flagship at $199.99 while dropping the other two models to much cheaper price points. Currently, the iPhone 4S sits at $99 while the iPhone 4 is free on-contract.
Buyers should expect the iPhone 5 to drop to $99 with the iPhone 4S moving to free in just a few weeks. Apple is rumored to be announcing the iPhone 5S in September.
Something that buyers will need to keep in mind though is the fact that the overall cost for these devices will be expensive. While the iPhone 4S’ up front cost will be cheap, buyers will still need to pay into a data plan, a data plan that could cost quite a bit of money.
With the discounted price tag being one of the most attractive features of the iPhone 4S, buyers will need to weigh whether or not that $200 will be worth not having all of the upgrades that are afforded to iPhone 5S owners.
iPhone 5S rumors suggest that the next iPhone will have a killer camera, something that is not surprising given the lack of a redesign and given that iPhones always see their cameras improve. Apple is going to need some killer features to help sell the incremental iPhone 5S and a stellar camera will certainly help with that.
Rumors suggest that we could see a 12-13MP camera on the back alongside a pill-shaped dual-LED flash. The camera is thought to be an improvement over the iPhone 5’s and could be heavily focused on delivering high quality photos in low-light environments.
Whatever the case may be, the iPhone 5S will have a better camera than the iPhone 4S’. Even if it kept the iPhone 5 camera sensor, it would still be better than the iPhone 4S camera.
Something that those who take lots of photos and video need to think about before settling on the iPhone 4S now, or after the iPhone 5S launch.
Another rumored iPhone 5S upgrade is a new processor. It’s not clear what chip Apple will be putting inside the iPhone 5S, rumors suggest either the A6X or a new A7, but either way, the processor should help to provide better overall performance on the iPhone 5S.
Geeks and average smartphone users alike should care about processing power, thanks to the performance upgrades that next-generation chips bring. We’ve seen improvements as far as gaming performance is concerned. Games look and run better than ever. We’ve seen chips bring battery life enhancements. And new processors also mean faster speeds for multitasking, scrolling and opening applications.
The iPhone 5S’ processor is guaranteed to trump the iPhone 4S’ A5 chip and that should translate into improved gaming, good battery life, and a snappier user experience overall.
Those looking for speed and performance will want to heavily consider the iPhone 5S.
In all likelihood, the iPhone 5S will come in three storage variants. A 16GB model, a 32GB model and a 64GB model. There is a chance that Apple could add a 128GB model for power users or simply drop the 16GB model and add a 128GB option, but at this point, it’s not clear. Instead, buyers should expect the expected.
Currently, the iPhone 4S is only available in 16GB form and we can’t help but think that that won’t change with the arrival of the iPhone 5S. There is a possibility that we could see it drop to 8GB like the iPhone 4, but given app and file sizes, Apple may opt to keep it at 16GB.
Whatever the case may be, there will be less of a selection when it comes to the iPhone 4S. Count on that.
The iPhone 4S is available on a host of carriers in the U.S., including the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Smaller regional carriers also sell Apple’s aging smartphone. And despite its age, we expect the iPhone 4S to remain available on many of these carriers, even after the iPhone 5S launch.
Apple’s iPhone 5S should come to many of the same carriers though there is a very good chance that it will be coming to U.S. Cellular as well. Whether or not the iPhone 4S makes it to the nation’s fifth largest carrier is up for debate, but besides that, we expect there to be no other major differences between the carriers.
One of the biggest things that consumers will need to consider between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 4S is the fact that the iPhone 4S does not come equipped with 4G LTE data speeds. In the past, this may have been something that consumers could give up thanks to awful battery life, lack of coverage and unreliable networks.
However, those days are over. Apple’s iPhone 5, like other 4G LTE phones, gets great battery life. 4G LTE is also now widespread across the country and is being utilized by all five of the nation’s largest carriers.
The iPhone 5S will certainly have 4G LTE data support and it’s possible that it could have better battery life than the iPhone 5. Rumors of a Sharp IGZO display have helped to fuel that possibility.
iPhone 4S users unfortunately will never have access to data speeds that can rival home Wi-Fi networks as it doesn’t have support for LTE. For a device like the iPhone, which is made to be portable, passing up on LTE is going to be tough.
Believe us. Once you start using LTE, it’s virtually impossible to go back to anything else.
iOS 7 will be stock on the iPhone 5S. Apple launches new software with new hardware every year. It will also be coming to the iPhone 4S in the fall. However, it won’t be the full iOS 7 update that comes with the iPhone 5S.
When iOS 7 arrives, iPhone 4S owners won’t get the benefit of AirDrop or the ability to view photo filters within the Camera application. That means that users won’t be able to get a preview of a filter before the photo is taken. Those aren’t going to be deal breakers, but it’s something that prospective iPhone 4S buyers need to think about, especially given that future updates may exclude far more.
The iPhone 5S on the other hand will be afforded all that iOS 7 has to offer, and more. We say more, because there are rumors that it will come with a fingerprint reader on board for added security, something that will likely tie into iOS 7 and the lock screen. It’s also possible that it will get other unique features though those aren’t yet know.
Those that don’t need all of the software features of iOS 7 will be fine with the iPhone 4S. But those that want the full package will need to think about buying the iPhone 5S so as not to miss out on any features.
Finally, the last and maybe most important thing that buyers need to think about is longevity. Apple does a fantastic job of keeping its phones up-to-date with new software for years after their release but every iPhones life comes to an end at some point.
Given that the iPhone 4S is closing in on the two year mark, next year’s iOS 8 update will likely be its last major update, meaning users who buy now won’t get the same type of software support that iPhone 5S users get.
Furthermore, because its old, and Apple will need to sell devices, we will likely see iOS 8 for the iPhone 4S stripped of several features while the iPhone 5S, like the iPhone 5 and iOS 7, should get most of the new software.
Given that the iPhone 5S will likely be $200 more, it’s something that contract signers need to consider. Yes, the iPhone 4S will still get lengthy support, up until iOS 9 comes out, but the iPhone 5S will get support for two more years. And that may be worth the extra money.