The iPhone 4S may be Apple's next mobile masterpiece, but as with any technology things aren't always perfect when a new product is introduced into the wild. Several reports from users have pointed to a variety of problems with the iPhone 4S, although most of these should be resolved over time. It's the early adopters that take the brunt of launch week issues.
Some would say it's a fair price to pay for getting the latest and greatest iPhone before anyone else. Regardless, Apple sold four million iPhone 4S units in the first weekend. Those who are waiting for the dust to settle might be interested in exactly what problems 4S owners are experiencing and how long they will linger. Here are the top 5 problems, issues and complaints revolving around the iPhone 4S launch.
1. Activation process delayed
Thanks to iOS 5, the activation process no longer requires a computer. This is convenient, except when millions of customers across the country are trying to activate their iPhone 4S on the same day. Many users had activations that were pending or were told directly that "iPhone activations are unavailable at this time." The servers were simply overloaded, in a repeat of issues that have plagued previous launch days. If you haven't already picked up your iPhone 4S, you're unlikely to experience this problem going forward.
2. Siri personal assistant can't connect to servers
Apple heralded the arrival of Siri as one of the main iPhone 4S exclusives, a product that will forever change how we interact with mobile devices. One of the keys to Siri's intelligence is its link to remote servers that help process large volumes of voice data from users. It's no surprise that with millions of iPhone 4S users looking to try the service that Siri's servers are also being taxed to the limit. Apple considers Siri to be in a beta phase, however they are sure to ramp up capacity as more iPhone 4S owners come online. There's no doubt these hiccups are temporary.
3. Slow cellular data download speeds
Sprint has already been accused of not being able to handle the data demands of iPhone 4S users on its network, and the company has already responded with a public statement denying this is the case. Since Sprint is the latest carrier to join the iPhone fray, they are bound to have some issues early on, much like Verizon and AT&T experienced. Again, getting the iPhone 4 and 4S on the Sprint network will be a learning experience for their engineers, and over time service will improve.
Another issue is the fact that US carriers have not deployed technology to take full advantage of the improved HSDPA download speeds on the iPhone 4S. Sprint and Verizon are CDMA networks using different technology altogether. Although in theory AT&T should be capable of offering HSDPA speeds up to the advertised 14.4 Mbps, the reality is that their network is engineered to provide 1.7 Mbps during typical usage. Although T-Mobile is currently building a faster HSDPA network, the iPhone 4S is not compatible with these frequencies. This means that for the time being the iPhone 4S will only provide faster download speeds in Europe and Asia.
4. Shorter than expected battery life
The jump to a faster processor in the iPhone 4S and more intense computation required for features of iOS 5 will tend to drain batteries quicker. Standby times on the latest model have even been advertised as 100 hours less than on the iPhone 4. Although this sounds ominous, this leaves another 200 hours of standby time remaining, and voice calling battery life has actually been improved. Still, some users are reporting surprising battery drain over short periods of time. Before you rush to Apple for a warranty exchange, they will probably recommend a complete restore to factory settings. There are tricks you can try to extend your iPhone battery life, but if you're still concerned Apple can determine whether or not the battery in your iPhone 4S is defective. Overall, reports indicate the iPhone 4S has slightly shorter battery life than the iPhone 4.
5. App incompatibilities with iOS 5
Some apps have been reported to crash when running on iOS 5. Developers have to keep up with Apple and multiple firmware updates all of the time. Apps need to run properly on multiple iPhone models running different versions of iOS with different hardware. Most of the time these requirements are invisible to the user, but every once in a while an app misses the boat. If the application is worth installing you can be sure that the developer will step up and correct the problems in a future release, making the app fully compatible with iOS 5 on the iPhone 4S. If you already paid for an app you can always redownload or install updates for free.