Not so long ago, when you wanted to buy a new iPhone, the choice came down to one thing: how much storage would you get and, as a result, how much would you pay? Then the iPhone came to Verizon and you had to decide not only how much storage you would buy, but also what carrier you wanted.
With the introduction of the iPhone 5, deciding which iPhone to buy has gotten a whole lot more complicated. Instead of just having to choose between two storage capacities and two phone companies, there are now three capacities and three companies——AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. And, to keep things in groups of three, there are now three different iPhone models to choose from: the iPhone 5, 4S, and 4.
While the iPhone 4S and 4 are the same models that have been available since 2010, familiarity doesn't necessarily make choosing between the three iPhones easier. So, if you're faced with the choice of which iPhone to buy, here are some tips that may make that decision a little easier.
Why Buy the iPhone 5
- It's the latest & greatest - Since the 5 is the newest model, when you have it you're on the cutting edge of iPhone technology. This generally means that all aspects of the iPhone 5 are superior to its predecessors. It does, also, have all the basic features of the iPhone 4S, like Siri and FaceTime.
- Larger screen - While the iPhone 5 still has a Retina Display, it has a much larger screen. Unlike the 4S's 3.5-inch screen, the 5 has a 4-inch screen running at 1136x640 pixels.
- Faster processor - The iPhone 5's Apple A6 processor is, according to Apple, about twice as fast as the A5 processor in the $s.
- Better camera & video - While the 5's camera is 8 megapixels, just like the 4S's, it has a number of other improvements. Because it's made with different components, the iPhone 5's main camera takes richer, more true-to-life photos and does better in low-light situations. It also supports panoramic photos via a software feature in iOS 6. The back camera can now take 720p HD video.
- Faster top data speeds - The iPhone 5 offers 4G LTE cellular networking, which is much, much faster than the 3G networking available in the 4S.
- New Dock Connector - Lightning, Apple's new Dock Connector, debuts on the iPhone 5. This is a smaller, more flexible version of the original Dock Connector.
- New Earbuds - The iPhone 5 comes with Apple's new EarPods, redesigned earbuds that are designed to fit better in the ears and deliver higher-quality sound.
- Price - The only real con is the price. Since it's the latest and greatest, the 5 is the most expensive, with prices running US$199-$399 when you sign a two-year contract.
Why Buy the iPhone 4S
- Siri - Want to take advantage of the impressive and useful voice recognition features offered by Siri? You'll need an iPhone 4S because Siri doesn't run on earlier models.
- Fast processor - The iPhone 4S's A5 processor is about twice as fast the processor in the iPhone 4 (though not as fast as the processor in the iPhone 5), so you'll go faster and get better graphics performance.
- Better camera & video - Here you'll get an 8 megapixel camera that can record 1080p HD video, as opposed to the iPhone 4's 5 megapixel/720p HD camera.
- Better battery - The 4S's better is a bit better than the 4's; expect to get about an extra hour of talk time from the new phone.
- Price - The iPhone 4S costs just $99 with a two-year contract.
- 16 GB only - The iPhone 4S offers just 16 GB storage capacity, so you may have to pick and choose what you sync to your phone.
- Smaller screen - The iPhone 4S's screen is 0.5 inches smaller than the 5's and runs at about half the resolution.
- Slower wireless data - The iPhone 5's 4G LTE networking is much, much faster than the 4S's 3G.
- Slower processor - The iPhone 4S's processor is about half as fast as the processor in the 5.
Why Choose the iPhone 4
- Price - One of the major attractions of the iPhone 4 is its price: with a two-year contract, you'll get a great phone for free.
- FaceTime - As noted above, the iPhone 4 offers support for FaceTime video calls.
- Retina Display - Same here; you'll get the beautiful Retina Display screen on the iPhone 4.
- No Siri - You won't be telling your iPhone 4 to do anything (or at least it won't respond to you); the 4 doesn't support Siri.
- 8 GB only - The free iPhone 4 is limited to 8 GB storage capacity, so you'll be limited in what content you can sync to your phone if you've got a large iTunes library.
- Lesser camera - While the iPhone 4's 5 megapixel camera, which also records 720p HD video, is good, it's a far cry from the upgraded camera in the 4S or 5.