Apple iPhone 4S Stories October 17, 2011

The iPhone 4’s design was heavily criticized over the use of chemically strengthened glass for its enclosure. The pundits typically highlight a zero percent probability of the device landing on the “right” side in an unfortunate event of slipping out of your sweaty hands onto the pavement. Whichever way you look at it, both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have questionable droppability compared to other handsets using chassis engineered around the usual metal + plastic combo.

The folks over at SquareTrade took an iPhone 4S for a spin and pitted it against Samsung’s Galaxy S II to see which one survives a waist high and shoulder high drop. As you can see in the above clip, Apple’s latest and greatest handset was pretty badly damaged from the outside, just like its predecessor. It did, however, fare pretty well landing on its stainless steel band. Dropped face down, however, the iPhone 4S’s screen completely shattered. Samsung’s device didn’t suffer nearly as much damage (note that being light weight is probably a factor).

In addition, the plastic back on the Samsung device has gotta be more prone to surviving the shock of a sudden impact compared to glass. By the way, if you’re concerned about your iPhone’s droppability, head over to 9to5Toys and get yourself a great case. SquareTrade is an independent warranty provider cover nearly everything – excluding, of course, intentional damage shown in the clip. Hop over to their web site for more information.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber summed up nicely the problem with the iPhone 4’s easily breakable all-glass design. For those who don’t recall Gruber’s comment, here’s a thought he shared shortly after the device had gone on sale in the summer of 2010:

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Apple iPhone 4S Stories October 5, 2011

Talk about speeds and feeds.

Underwhelmed with Apple’s new iPhone 4S, but obviously viewing it as a potential threat, Samsung is luring undecided or perhaps disappointed fans into considering the Galaxy S II smartphone. The company has issued an email to customers, attaching a convenient comparison table that pits the features of the iPhone 4S against its own Galaxy S II device. On closer inspection, however, some of the entries in Samsung’s table raise eyebrows.

For example, Samsung is downplaying the importance of Siri by describing it as the ‘voice activation’ feature and comparing Siri to Vlingo, a free download from Android Market. While Vlingo is billed as the best personal assistant on Android, it isn’t as comprehensive or deeply integrated as Sir, which surprises with its conversational attitude and artificial intelligence features allowing it to learn from past interactions with the user.

Also, the Cameras section in Samsung’s tablet ignores the iPhone 4S’s enhanced camera system, which is based on Sony’s lens and the improved sensor from Omnivision. The iPhone 4S’s back camera has a fifth lens, the larger f/2.4 aperture, the backside illumination sensor, as well as face detection and video stabilization capabilities, none of which Samsung bothered to mention. Instead, they tout their admittedly superb Super AMOLED Plus display which is “preferred 2 to 1 against other leading displays by Strategy Analytics”, a 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz dual-core processor (versus the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S) and, of course, 4G networking supporting WiMax, HSPA+ 42 or HSPA+ 21 MBps.

Apple’s handset sports HSPA 14.4Mbps networking that marketing chief Phil Schiller said could file as 4G, but underscored Apple won’t follow in the footsteps of its rivals by misusing the term “4G”. Perhaps Apple’s decision was influenced by a new bill to force carriers to disclose real 4G speeds?

Samsung’s table also underscores the openness of Android allowing for multiple app stores, music stores and online services. Finally, they are still referring to the Galaxy SII as the thinnest smartphone despite losing out the title to iPhone 4 in the U.K., per last month’s ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority.

Go past the fold for the full speeds and feeds chart and Samsung’s email message in its entirety.

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