The iPhone 4S, much like the iPhone 3GS, is more of an evolutionary upgrade than a revolutionary one, so many users who currently have the iPhone 4 may not want -- or need -- to make the jump.
It's picture time
New in the iPhone 4S is a highly upgraded 8-megapixel camera that will take full HD 1080p videos, as well as dazzling photos. Essentially, the iPhone can finally fully replace your point-and-shoot.
But if photos and videos aren't your thing, and you're getting by just fine with the iPhone 4's camera, you might be fine without the new gadget.
Now that's fast
The new model will include the same chip currently in the iPad 2 – that is, it's fast. Really fast. It will also have a graphics chip seven times faster than the one in the iPhone 4, which means much better graphics in games and other apps.
Everything will run much snappier, and any lag in the iPhone will all but disappear. (Until the apps catch up to the processing power, of course.)
Now your phone can talk back
Perhaps the biggest reason to upgrade is Siri, the iPhone 4S-exclusive voice-commanded artificial intelligence assistant that, well, kind of changes everything.
In announcing the feature, speakers asked the iPhone 4S basic questions, such as, "What will the weather be like today?" to which it gave the forcecast.
But Siri is far more powerful than a simple weather widget, as it is able to give you directions, set appointments, check your schedule, tell you whether you'll need a raincoat and much, much more.
The new iPhone 4S will launch at three price points: $199 for 16GB of storage, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB, all with a two-year contract. These are the prices every iPhone has launched at, with the exception of the 64GB model, which Apple has never offered.
However, the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 dropped considerably, with the 3GS now free and the 4 only $99, both with 8GB of storage and a two-year contract.
All three models will all be able to upgrade to the latest iOS 5, which launches Oct. 12, for free, though it will run much smoother – and likely will get more features – the more current your phone is.
So, do you need it?
If you're perfectly content with your iPhone 4, you're probably okay waiting it out. You won't have the nicest camera, and as apps improve and take more advantage of the iPhone 4S's capabilities your phone will eventually fall behind, but by then you'll probably be ready for the iPhone 5.