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iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S: 7 Things Buyers Need to Know



While smartphone shoppers have been inundated with iPhone 5S rumors, many shoppers are likely still looking at two of Apple’s current iPhones including the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S. Both devices remain solid choices though there are some things that potential buyers need to know about the battle between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S before settling on one.

In October of 2011, Apple delivered its iPhone 4S, a model that kept the same design as the previous iPhone, the iPhone 4, but delivered several enhancements including Siri.

The iPhone 5 remains a solid smartphone option.

The iPhone 5 remains a solid smartphone option.

The device, while old, remains a stalwart in Apple’s iPhone lineup, and has become particularly attractive after Apple’s price drop which saw the device move from $199.99 to $99.99 after the arrival of the iPhone 5 last September.

Apple’s iPhone 5 replaced the iPhone 4S as the company’s flagship smartphone while bringing a larger 4-inch display, a new design that incorporated aluminum, and 4G LTE data speeds. The iPhone 5 remains Apple’s current generation smartphone and to this day, it remains one of the best smartphone options on the market, across all carriers.

The Apple rumor mill has been hard at work suggesting that a new iPhone is on the way. The device is thought to be another ‘S’ iPhone model, the iPhone 5S to be exact. Rumors suggest that the company will be using it to replace the iPhone 5 though that doesn’t mean that the iPhone 5, or the iPhone 4S, will go away.

In fact, both devices should remain extremely attractive to buyers once the 2013 iPhone arrives on shelves. Of course, with a new iPhone in the mix and a new piece of software in iOS 7 on the way, there are some things that consumers must consider before deciding on the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S as their next smartphone.

Here, we take a look at seven of the most important things buyers need to know before picking one of them up.

iPhone 5S Release is Coming

With no major iPhone or iPad release so far this year, case makers and app makers are turning to Android.

The iPhone 5S is coming to replace the iPhone 5 as the company’s flagship.

The first thing that potential iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S buyers need to know is that a brand new iPhone is coming to shelves in the near future. The device, said to be the iPhone 5S, is expected to feature the same design as the iPhone 5 but contain a number of upgrades including an improved processor and a better camera.

It’s also thought to have a fingerprint reader on board and should come with unique software that sets it apart from the iPhone 5. That unique software is, as of yet, unknown, though there is suspicion that it could have something to do with the fingerprint reader and or the camera with slow-motion and 120 fps video being mentioned as possibilities.

With the iPhone 5S rumored for a late September release, prospective iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S buyers would be wise to wait a few weeks, just to see what Apple has up its sleeve. If not for the improved hardware and software, but for the price cuts on both the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S.

iPhone 5 Price Drop

Buyers dead set on the iPhone 5 would be smart to wait a few weeks for the arrival of the iPhone 5S.

For one, the iPhone 5S is said to keep the same design, display size, LTE data speeds that the iPhone 5 has though it should come with improved performance and unique features. For those that don’t need that extra oomph, there is another reason to wait for the iPhone 5S, an iPhone 5 price drop through Apple.

Apple typically drops the price of its older generation by $100 on-contract when the new iPhone arrives. That should translate into a $99 price tag for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 will remain a solid option, even with the arrival of the iPhone 5S, and it will be even more attractive with a price tag that is $100 less than the iPhone 5S’.

Buyers should also expect retailers to host some significant deals on the iPhone 5 as they look to entice buyers uninterested in Apple’s new 2013 iPhone model.

iPhone 4S Price Drop

Those who might be leaning toward the iPhone 4S would be wise to do the same. Apple typically keeps an arsenal of three iPhone models on tap and we should see the iPhone 4S move from its current $99 price point down to the low price of free, a price point currently occupied by the iPhone 4.


The iPhone 4S should become free after the iPhone 5S launch.

That means that buyers will simply need to sign up for a new two-year contract to get the old, but still capable iPhone 4S. Of course, it won’t come with the bells and whistles of either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S, but it still has a Retina Display, good camera, solid battery life and a design that is durable, especially when inside a case.

iOS 7 Coming to Both, Sort of

Prospective iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S buyers should know that the new iOS 7 is coming to both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, meaning, both devices will get Apple’s new operating system. However, the iOS updates will not be created equal.

While the iPhone 5 will be the beneficiary of all of the currently known iOS 7 features including AirDrop and Filters in Camera, the iPhone 4S will not be receiving the full update.

iPhone 4S owners unfortunately won’t get iOS 7’s 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. All the rest of iOS 7, at this point, seems like it will be intact.

Obviously, those may not be deal breakers for some shoppers but it’s an indication that the iPhone 4S will continually see less iOS features than the newer iPhone 5.


Speaking on that, the iPhone 5 will, guaranteed, have more longevity than the iPhone 4S. Apple typically keeps its iPhones updated with new software for three years and since the iPhone 4S came out in 2011, iOS 7 will be its second major iOS update. That likely means that next year’s iOS 8 will be its last update.

The iPhone 5 on the other hand should have a longer lifespan thanks to it coming out in 2012. It should see iOS 7, iOS 8 and one more version of iOS, likely dubbed iOS 9.

This is something to consider, especially for those that are looking to sign up with a new contract may want to think about the fact that the iPhone 4S is nearing the end of its life.


The iPhone 5 not only brought LTE, a larger screen and a new design to the table, but it also brought the new Lightning dock connection standard. The iPhone 4S on the other hand uses the old 30-pin dock standard.

This is important because it means that the iPhone 5 is future-proof when it comes to accessories, meaning, it will more than likely work with most, if not all Apple iPhone accessories for years to come.

The iPhone 5 features a different docking standard.

The iPhone 5 features a different docking standard.

The iPhone 4S owners unfortunately may not see newer accessories become available, thanks to the older standard, and will instead have to rely on the support of aging docks.

There still should be a nice collection of 30-pin accessories on the market but there is always the chance that a new, impressive accessory may not be compatible with the iPhone 4S.


Finally, buyers must know that the iPhone 4S doesn’t support 4G LTE. Instead, the device relies on HSDPA and HSPA+ speeds along with 3G. For many users this won’t be a big deal, well, that is until they try 4G LTE with the iPhone 5.

Carriers like AT&T and Verizon offer LTE in hundreds of markets and it has quickly become the standard for just about every new smartphone. And for good reason. LTE can be described as having a Wi-Fi connection on-the-go. It’s much faster than anything the iPhone 4S can pull down and while it can be a battery hog, Apple has made sure that the iPhone 5 has good battery life.

It’s a trade-off that consumers need to take a look at as LTE is the future of mobile service and the iPhone 4S unfortunately will never officially have access to those speeds.



  1. Edwan01

    07/23/2013 at 3:50 pm

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  2. IOU812

    07/23/2013 at 7:24 pm

    First of all why compare these two ?? The 4s was more stable the 5 was not and one has LTE and a bigger screen BIG deal!! Enough said!!

    • prox

      07/24/2013 at 8:15 am

      why wouldn’t you compare a current device to a previous device? given, the changes were not significant, a comparison is still fair.

      • IOU812

        07/25/2013 at 4:00 pm

        I had both devices and my luck on the 4s was better the iPhone 5 supposably LTE ?? Ya??? My 4 s was faster

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