So I finally got my hands on the new iPhone 4s! Being a multimedia designer, and working on an iMac all day long, it comes as a surprise that I was never a follower of the Apple empire of products. I was quite content with my old Blackberry smartphone. Up until last Friday, I was probably one of the very last designers out there who hadn’t yet migrated over to the iPhone!

So anyway, I thought it’d be a good idea to answer some of the things people have been asking me…

How’s the transition to your very first iPhone been?

The transition from the Blackberry to iPhone 4s has been relatively straightforward. The sleek and intuitive user interface takes only moments to understand.

The strangest part of all is coming from a phone with a keypad full of buttons and a small screen, to a phone with a huge screen and basically just one button! I was quite weary of the efficiency of typing on a touch screen, and was worried that it’d be hard to adapt to. However it’s only been a few days and I’m already getting the hang of it pretty quickly.

What are the obvious differences you noticed?

Besides the layout and organization of the menus and settings and inclusion of a lot more applications, the most significant difference would have to be speed. iOS5 and the A5 chip definitely make the iPhone 4s a much faster performing phone. Compared with my slow, memory-draining old phone, I definitely experienced a huge improvement when web browsing, running apps, viewing images, taking photos and doing other tasks. I no longer needed to wait for all my media folders to load, or worry about having too many apps open simultaneously.

The app store has also been amazing. The number of apps available for download out there is what attracted me to the iPhone in the first place. Having access to this huge library of useful tools, games, and other random apps will be sure to keep me entertained for months to come.  There isn’t anywhere near as much variety of different apps created and used on other devices. My personal favourites are probably the photography effect apps like: Instagram, Pixlromatic and Incredibooth.

My entire web browsing experience has also improved, as I no longer have to struggle with click zooming and panning around to see broken pages that were not optimized for mobile browsing. With the majority of mobile web browsing occurring on iOS devices, web pages are more likely to have been optimized and debugged when viewed on the safari mobile browser – which is something we try to keep in mind as web designers!

What are some of the most notable cool functions?

Compared to my old phone, the 8-megapixel camera with HDR ability (High Dynamic Range) is really good. Shots can be focused on a particular chosen area. In low light conditions, for a phone, the quality of the images is possibly close on par with compact digital cameras even.

The integration of HD quality video recording means being able to shoot amateur footage that will stand up and stand out when uploaded to YouTube.

Apple’s iCloud storage service wirelessly backs up all your mail, contacts, music, photos,documents, apps (and more) seamlessly without you having to worry about it.  It’s really useful because whenever you receive new messages or edit your settings it all automatically updates in your iCloud backup.

iMessage is also quite handy to stay in touch with other iPhone users with unlimited messaging and sharing videos, photos and links.

The apparent hype that was generated with marketing this new iPhone 4s was all about Siri; which I personally found to be a bit of a letdown. I was impressed at its intelligence in being able to take voice commands to do tasks for you such as send/read messages or look up the weather. But things like asking it to suggest me a nearby restaurant would fail miserably, and it would reply that it only currently supports USA based businesses. Although quite a cool function to have, I’d say probably not exactly that practical or reliable for now.

Any negatives?

Other smart phones allow you to download themes, or set custom ringtones to personalize your phone. So being from a creative background, I would of liked to have the ability to play around with these features and not feel restricted to choosing one of the 20 odd defaults tones. Apple iPhone users are limited to the built in graphical user interface and only have the option of changing wallpapers which can be disappointing for creative individuals.

Do you miss anything about your Blackberry?

Being restricted to using iTunes to sync data and files means that I cannot just drag and drop files on or off my phone to any computer like how I used to with my old phone.

But the main downside with the iPhone would have to be it’s limited battery life. Although it’s advertised to have longer battery life than the previous iPhone 4 models, heavy usage will still only allow the phone to last a day or so, which can be quite inconvenient unless you enjoy carrying a charger around wherever you go.  Switching off location services when it isn’t needed does tend to help conserve power for a little longer though.

So are you glad you got the iPhone 4s – final verdict?

The iPhone 4s definitely doesn’t disappoint – coming from a new user’s point of view. I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly I am adjusting to the phone, and how familiar with it I have become in just a few days.  It’s ease of use and advanced functions makes the iPhone 4s one of the most powerful and feature packed smartphones I’ve come across. It’s almost like having your life and the world all in your pocket.