8 Talking Points About the iPhone 4S


The Apple announcement has come and gone. The waves of excitement and disappointment have peaked and troughed. The important thing now is that you've got to be able to hold your own in conversations about this new device, even if you don't really care one way or the other. Lord knows, everyone from your grandma to your dental hygienist are going to be talking about it.

We feel your pain. So, here are eight talking points you can mix and match in your next iPhone (4(S)) conversation.

  • "It's the same form factor as the iPhone 4. You could just slap a new sticker on the back if you want a cheaper upgrade."
  • "It might be the same form factor as the iPhone 4, but it's a totally different machine inside. It's got an A5 processor -- that's the chip in the iPad 2 -- but it's still got an 8-hour battery life, so it's not sacrificing anything."
  • "I love my iPhone 4. I don't see anything significant about the 4S. Who needs that extra speed? I don't play games and everything seems to run plenty fast. I'm more limited by mobile bandwidth than anything else."
  • "The must-upgrade feature is the new camera, which not only has a wider aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8, but shoots 1080P HD video."
  • "Apple is masterful at managing expectations. They could have called it an iPhone 5, but they knew that it was a nice upgrade, but not a mindblower. Now people will end up being way more impressed with the actual phone than they thought because they'll be comparing it to an iPhone 4 instead of a hypothetical iPhone 5."
  • "I'm disappointed there was no iPhone 5. Apple should have sent a message that radical innovation would continue in the Tim Cook era. Instead we get a so-so event and Apple's stock dips."
  • "I don't know what to make of this voice control 'Siri' thing. It seems cool, but I feel like I thought Dragon Dictate was cool before I tried it, too."
  • "This voice control thing Siri is going to be a gamechanger. Apple already blew up user interface design with the mouse and then the touchscreen. This is going to be like that. Huge. Huge."

Image: Reuters.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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