On iPhone 4S

Of course I write this now with 20/20 hindsight, but I genuinely didn’t think there would be an “iPhone 5” this time around.

The iPhone 4 was launched as a whole new redesign, rather than a spec boost. The new phone, a la the 3GS, is an internal upgrade, not a cosmetic one. And the iPhone 4 design is a classic, so why change it? It’s still the classiest looking phone on the market. And I write this as a longtime and very happy Android user.

Apple doesn’t ditch classic designs prematurely. Take the legendary aluminium Powerbook (G4). My wife had one of these, and several years later, I bought a MacBook Pro that was the same design, albeit a bit thinner. Also see the white iBook and the polycarbonite MacBook — essentially the same classic style.

Can you think of a phone on the market right now that is better looking than the iPhone 4?

*taps finger* (okay, maybe the new Nexus Prime, due in a few days…)

So with no reason to change the exterior, Apple has reserved the “5” moniker for its next big overhaul. And you can guarantee, the “iPhone 5” when it comes, will be the sexiest handset available. That’s Apple.

So what about the new iPhone? I think it’s pretty cool. I have no idea how good the implementation of Siri voice recognition is. But voice is the future for vehicle use, and I’m sure Apple’s implementation is excellent. Likewise, any improvement on the iPhone 4’s genuinely brilliant camera, must be awesome.

Faster processors and vastly improved graphical performance are par-the-course for an iPhone rev, and the 4S doesn’t miss the target. And while I prefer Samsung’s Super AMOLED screens for their punchy vibrance, the iPhone’s crisp Retina Display is by far the best for reading Instapaper.

All in all it’s a great phone and a decent upgrade. But for me at least, Apple still comes up short on one key factor — a 3.5″ screen is a little too small. I’m not sure what the sweet-spot is. My HTC Desire had a 3.7″ screen, and my current handset, a Samsung Galaxy SII, has a pretty hefty 4.3″ screen. The Goldilocks in me reckons 4″ would be just about right.

To make me move from Android (at least on my personal phone), Apple has to budge on the screen dimensions. 3.5 is just too dinky. I know that Apple will fiercely protect its Retina Display resolution, so we may have to wait for the right screen to be manufactured, and for Apple to eek out the issues with multiple iPhone screen sizes, but it has to happen eventually. Because once you’ve gone big, you can’t go back…