CNET Tech Review
Hello iPhone 4S, so long Steve JobsThis week on the CNET Tech Review: the Apple iPhone 4S boasts big improvements; new mobile goodies from CTIA; make your Android phone more like Siri; and a touching tribute to Steve Jobs.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, the iPhone 4S is here and it's not as bad as we thought plus more new phones and tablets from CTIA, how to make your android phone act more like Siri and special goodbye to Steve Jobs. It's all coming up right now. Hi everyone, I'm Molly Wood, welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech plus offer our own unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Regular viewers of the show may have noticed there was not tech review last week. The death of Steve Jobs was of course the big story of the week and we were doing our best to give his memory the energy it deserved. We'll take a moment to remember him our bottom line later in the show, but we have a lot of other items to cover this week too. So, let's get started with the good. Though it isn't the iPhone 5 that everyone was hoping for, the shiny new iPhone 4S has made its way into our building and Kent German is here with his official first look. - Hi, I'm Kent German, section editor for cnet.com. Today, we're gonna take a first look at Apple's newest iPhone, the iPhone 4S. This is the first iPhone that will be available to 3 carriers. Sprint is joining the Apple family here in the US and we finally get a 64 model and all versions will be available in either back or white from the start, so we don't have to wait around for that white phone like we did last year. Today, I'm gonna look at the Sprint phone. Now, for the most part, all of the versions are exactly the same. Now, they are few differences Verizon and Sprint. They have a dual band, CDMA, and GSM support. It is a good thing to notice here that we're dreaming because the original Verizon iPhone did not have that. With the design, the iPhone 4S is exactly the same as the iPhone 4. The only differences you'd see is the CMA version don't have a line where the GSM does and the antenna, but that's really-- One thing I like to see in the design at some point is a bigger screen. It's 3.5 inches that hasn't grown since the iPhone came out in 2007. We see a lot of phones now that are 4, 4.5. I think 4.5 might be a little too big, but you do notice the difference if you have a larger phone and then you switch back to this one. The antenna exactly the same, but Apple did say that there are now 2 antennas for the cellular calls and the phone will switch back and forth. On the screen, you will see most the same icons. There are some new icons from iOS 5 of course, but the iPhone 4S does bring a few changes. The first is Siri. Siri is a voice assistant program. Now, the iPhone has always had a voice commands in dialing, but Siri goes a whole step further by also delivering all sorts of informations. You can ask it to do things and you can ask it to deliver information. What is the date today? -It's Thursday, October 13, 2011. -Is Brian Tong the coolest person ever? -Can't, I don't understand, is Brian Tong the coolest person ever? -It's pretty cool. It's on beta format and there you go that Siri. On the camera side we finally get a bump to 8-megapixels which is nice. Of course the iPhone 4 was 5-megapixels. The iPhone 4S also adds a sensor, which allows more light. The camera is supposed to be 32 times faster when you take photos. It also can record 1080 HD video clips at 30 frames per second. I think need to know specifically the Sprint model. The Sprint is the only carrier right now that's gonna be offering unlimited data for its iPhone. That's a big deal. Sprint says it's gonna keep this for a while. We really hope it does because that really is a nice leg up for Sprint. Now as far as connective goes, we don't have 4G. I think Apple is gonna wait. They are gonna come maybe on the next iPhone, but they really want this 4G network to be everywhere and they want the technology to be really good before they add it on their phone. So, I'm not quite surprised that we have to wait on that one. of course, the iPhone for 4S does have all the benefits of iOS 5 just to mention a couple, new notifications, the PC free activation and update system, reminders, better twitter enhancements, iMessage, and some great camera editing features. Another big addition to the iPhone 4S is the A5 process. It is a dual core 1 gigahertz processor along with a dual core GPU, So, it's twice as fast well for graphics and performance that is 7 times faster than the iPhone 4's. So, I've used it just briefly and I can say I really see a difference. Of course if your Sprint customer had been wanting the iPhone for years, certainly now is the time to buy. I like what I see here. I like the enhancements and over a million people have bought this phone already, so they have certainly like it too. I'm Kent German and this has been the first look at the Sprint version of the iPhone 4S. -Okay, so sure, it's not the new hardware and maybe not the phone everyone was hoping for, but there's not denying, the iPhone 4S is a great phone, although if you're an owner of the iPhone 4 already, it might not be the necessary upgrade. Speaking of phones, the cellphone industry group CTIA held its fall convention this week and they focused it on the growing use of smart phones and tablets in the business world, but don't worry, that can still mean hot gadgets, and there was no shortage of new business ready hardware on display in San Diego this week. Our mobile team was on hand to bring you the highlights. -Hey everyone, I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET.com here at CTIA in San Diego. What I've got in my hands is the Samsung Stratosphere. This is a new phone for Verizon and a big deal with this phone is that it's much more enterprise friendly. So, it's got VPN. It's got on-phone encryption, and it's got support for Microsoft's ActiveSync's that will be your corporate e-mail, your calendar, things like that. Specs-wise, it's got a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen that's bright and clear and really pretty to use. It's also running android 2.3 Gingerbread. One of insiders claim to fame is that is the first 4G LTE for Verizon that comes a slide out QWERTY keyboard. So, it's got a 5-megapixel camera and camcorder on the back, a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front. It runs up of a 1 gigahertz single core processor. It cost 149.99 with a new 2-year service agreement and that will be available on October 13th. So, I'm Jessica Dolcourt. This is the Samsung Stratosphere for Verizon and you're watching CNET.com. -I'm Nicole Lee, senior associate editor for cnet.com, and this is a First Look at the Motorola Atrix 2. The Atrix 2 is a successor to the original Atrix that was debuted earlier this year at CES. The Atrix was a little longer, a little leaner, a little slimmer. It also has a new 4.3-inch qHD display. On the side here, you do get the micro USB charging port as well as the HDMI out. On top is a 3.5-mm headset jack and the usual power button right here. On the back is a new and improved 8-megapixel camera with LED flash. The 8-megapixel camera has 1080p HD video capture. The Motorola Atrix 2 has plenty of features and plenty of power. It has a dual-core 1-gigahertz TI processor. It also has plenty of features like GPS, WiFi, and ships with android 2.3 Gingerbread. It also has web topped functionality that changes this phone into a portable PC when plugged into an HD station or a laptop dock. The Motorola Atrix 2 also supports the faster version of HSPA plus. That's HSPA plus with 21 megabits per second. The Motorola Atrix 2 will be available October 16 for $19 after a 2-year service agreement with AT&T. I'm Nicole Lee. This has been a First Look at the Motorola Atrix 2. -Hey everyone, I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET.com here in CTIA and I'm looking here at the T-Mobile SpringBoard. Now, this is a 7-inch Android 3.2 honeycomb tablet manufactured by Huawei, but it's cobranded with T-Mobile. So, T-Mobile has really the way that it wants to. One of those customizations that you can see is that there already 5 separate home screens that are organized by entertainment, social networking, productivity, and then there is one for you. So, basically, customize on your own. So, it's a 1.2 gigahertz dual core processor that runs the show. It's also HD 1280 x 800 pixel. So, that's a pretty high pixel than [unk]. It's looks pretty good and, you know, it's kind of a small screen, but it does look really clear and really bright. So, that's something that's really nice about it. It's also got an aluminum body. It's a got a 5-megapixel rear facing camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. There is Wi-Fi of course and 4G support plus there is HDMI out. There is a surround sound, and there is up to 6 hours of battery life. Price and availability have not been announced yet, but we are told that we will be very impressed with the low cost of this. So, this again is the T-Mobile SpringBoard and it is a 4G dual core 7-inch tablet. -Be sure to check out even more new phones right now at CNET TV. Although it's still in beta, Apple's new voice command system called Siri is one of the most compelling reasons to buy an iPhone 4S, but for all you android phone users out there, you don't have to wait to start using voice commands at all. Here's Sharon Vaknin to show you how to get started. -Hey everyone, I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET.com and today, I'll show you how to use voice commands on your android phone. When Apple announced Siri, the voice recognition system for the iPhone 4S, every android user was like hello we can do the same thing. Some android phones can stock the proprietary voice command service like Nuance, but I've a couple of other options that I think work much better. Let's start with Google voice search, which uses voice actions to complete your task. If you don't have it yet, download it for free from the market. To get started, press and hold the search button on your android phone called voice search or if your phone doesn't have that button, long press the home screen, select widgets and add the Google search widget. Now, press the microphone and speak a command like get directions to target, you'll driving directions to store near you or e-mail Christopher Parker, subject: hello, message: are we still meeting today? And the phone will compose a message using that format. There are 10 total voice actions that you can use to get things done, which you can view by tapping the microphone, pressing help, and sliding through the options. You will one called note to self. So, if you're driving and a brilliant idea comes to mind, launch voice actions and say no to self. I should start using voice control more often. You'll get an e-mail with the transcription and the voice recording. Voice action is good for basic task, but if you wanted to do more fun things like update your Facebook status or find movie tickets, you should try out with Vlingo. Grab it for the android market and launch it using the search button or other widgets to a home screen. Now, to tap the microphone or long press the search button, select a Vlingo and say a command like by movie tickets for the Lion King in San Francisco. The Vlingo will complete the command and show you all the movie times. If you tap the Vlingo icon, you will see a full list of voice commands and at the bottom there is an option to hear incoming messages, tap it, turn it on, and Vlingo will read incoming text messages out loud to you. -Message, want to get dinner tonight? -To reply by voice, open a text, tap the microphone button, and speak your reply. -Sure, let's meet at 6. -You can also get e-mails played back to you by going to settings, safe reader settings, checking this box here and adding e-mail account. If you like Vlingo more than voice actions, set it as your default app by long pressing the search button, checking this box, and selecting Vlingo. Next time you tap and hold the button, you will immediately be prompted to say a command. Vlingo also has an in car component for hands free commands, which Antuan covered in an episode of Tap That App. -What would like to do? -Play with both of these apps to figure out which one is right for you and realize that they might not always get what you're saying, but they are smart, so the more you use voice commands, the better the apps get and understanding you. If you have any questions or have suggestions for another voice command app leave me a comment on my Facebook page and visit howto.cnet.com for more videos like this. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs. -Now me personally, I use speech to text on my android phone all day everyday. I'm actually fine if my phone let's me do all the talking, and with that, It's time to take a break, so director, go to commercial. We'll be back with more tech review right after this. -Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV, continuing on in the good. It may look the same on the outside, but Apple's latest touchscreen iPod also got a makeover and the price dropped last week. Here's Donald Bell with the new iPod Nano. -Hey, I'm Donald Bell and this Apple's updated iPod Nano for 2011. This is essentially the same design that Apple introduced in 2010, offered in the same 7 colors but with an updated software. If you already have a 2010 model, the software comes free as an automatic iTunes download. Now, one of the big changes that Apple made for 2011 is the price, which down to $129 for 8 gigabytes or $149 for 16 gigs. The touchscreen interface now shows just one icon at a time instead of grouping them together in a grid of 4, which makes it easier to operate. Also, the watch feature now has 18 different watch bases to choose from including a few for the kiddies, but the coolest feature Apple has thrown in here is the full Nike+ fitness system. Before, you'd have to use a sensor in your shoe and have a Nike connector plugged in to the bottom of the iPod, but now all you need is this, the built in pedometer can track walking and running as 2 separate features, and when you plug it back into your computer, iTunes will upload all that information to a free Nike+ account where you can track your progress and set goals. It's a great feature for this kind of gym friendly MP3 player. Everything else on the Nano is just what you'd expect. You get Apple's outstanding support for music, podcast, audio books, and playlist. The FM radio has its unique live pause feature that lets you temporarily pause or resume live radio and extras like photos, timers, stop watches, are all nice to have. And of course, let's not forget the clip. The metal clip here on the back makes it easy to take with you. No matter which way you clip it, you can use 2 fingers to rotate the screen around. It's also useful to note that a double click on the slip button will skip to the next track. So, that's the updated 2011 iPod Nano, a useful and stylish choice for the gym, but still little pricey compared to something like [unk] line of MP3 players, which can we have for under $50. CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell. -Okay, the iPod Nano is fine, but you will never convince me that it should be a watch, never, ever. Let's just not talk about it and turn our attention to the bad. Sure, the iPhone 4S is getting rave reviews mainly because let's be honest iOS 5 has this phone ready for prime time, but that does not mean the 4S delivers everything you wanted to have. Here's Brian Cooley with the Top 5 let downs in the iPhone 4S. -Well, I'm not sure if Apple is slowing down or if we've just come to expect a jet pack from the one man than a flying car the next, but it's pretty clear the iPhone 4S roll out was treated as fizzle by [unk] who turned on Apple like it just peed in their red bull. So, to examine the origins of these psych guys, I'm Brian Cooley here with the top 5 ways the iPhone 4S or at least it's unveiling disappointed. Number 5, the screen is the same size. That's code for small. Sorry, but Apple has definitely slipped her. iPhone is now categorized in the bottom third of the smartphone market if you sort them by screen size, somewhere between it's dainty 3-1/2-inch screen and the pizza box that is let's say a Droid X is the roomier, yet pocketable piece of real state this phone retina technology deserves. Come on Apple, you're serving us a great meal, but you're making us starve while we eat it. Number 4, it's the same number. Apparently, Apple ain't Porsche. It can't just slap an S on a hotter model and have the crowd go wild. This whole 4 versus 5 let down thing was feed by the fact that almost every rumor about a pending iPhone 5 also have the statement somewhere in it maybe will just get an iPhone 4S, so the idea of the 4S being some kind of consolation prize was baked in the rumor cycle from the beginning, but remember of all the parties that's suggested to you, an iPhone 5 was even possible, Apple wasn't one of them. Number 3, it's a 4S, not 4G as somewhat unfair disappointment. I'll explain that in a moment, but it isn't stark one. The android phones for example have many handsets that are already working on the fast new 4G networks and those are all the buzz compared that to Apple who just isn't playing the 4G game yet, but given the beta state of 4G networks and phones right now, this is a little bit like whining that you can enjoy the same spot availability and crap battery life your friends are getting. Number 2, it looks the same. The buzz around the dramatic new hardware design was huge. There reports that China's plastic foundries are pumping out new cases that looked like lima bean or something and then there were those rendered images based on credible sources who we now know probably just spotted a chrome rice paddle in some kitchen store and started blogging about it, drunk. Whatever happened, you're gonna need to put a hello kitty stick around your 4S to tell it from your friends for and that pisses off the shiny object craft. And the number one reason the iPhone 4S unveiling disappointed a lot of folks is that there was no one last thing. This is where we're used to getting the jet pack. Steve O would toss out something utterly new with the sanguinity that made you feel like everything you've done in your life to now is lamed compared to what Apple did just this week. The team did wrap up though with a demo of a pretty amazing voice technology called Siri, but it's still in Beta came off like a response to something android already does, and Siri means ass in Japanese, come on. What's the upside of all the shortcomings? Nothing, Apple will probably sell more 4S's than any other smartphone in the world and any other iPhone ever made previously, but Apple is getting one message clear enough to hear over a 3GS running on AT&T that it's a tough room now. For more top 5's like this, go to top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley. -Obviously, a lot of you decided you don't care about these disappointments given the number of people who pre-ordered the phone already, but still I was totally ready to buy an iPhone 5 for the bigger screen and now I don't know what to do, so frustrating. While I ponder this dilemma, let's move along to this week's bottom line. As you know Steve Jobs passed away last week and all around the world, people were visiting Apple stores to pay their respects and more in his lost. Here are some of those reflections from the Apple in San Francisco. -A genius only comes around at once. I know a couple centuries so like this, so same things and, you know, rest in peace. -I think through Apple and iPhone and everything is going and evolving. -I don't really think that words can really describe like anything about Steve other than just greatness. It's just right to do, you know, to respect the guy who had given the world so much like in terms of technology and, you know, rejuvenate the company that was on the edge of disaster. -Mr. Jobs was a visionary who changed the world. He changed the face of technology and his perfectionism shows itself in everything he did, and this is where we go to recognize what are his achievements. He was founder and CEO of Apple Development Company, and he made that entire company possible. I wouldn't have been doing what I was doing for the last few years if it wasn't for the iPhone and his inventions. -I just feel incredibly sad. I think the world over has lost a really incredible man and a visionary, and he will be deeply missed. -He had showed the world that technology is obtainable. The things that they prophesied in back to the future and his different movies, you know, this make it came out and he created it, and he gave it to us, you know, and it was all obtainable to where every kid you see and had an iPod. -He's just one of the best minds of our generation. I mean, there's no other way to say it. I mean he's so affected our generation so-- and those younger than me much, you know, so deeply because he's just changed the way they've all communicated with each other, so like there's really- there isn't really words to express how much he's changed society. It's incredible. -I was on the train here and I was like I just had to make a pause through that to show everybody how I feel like my thoughts. The quotes from the Think Different campaign in the 90s, it's the last line. He said, "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do," and he did. He changed the world. -The bottom line this week, thanks for everything Steve. No matter what you thought about Steve Jobs personally or even about Apple products, there is no question that his vision and creativity change the technology world forever, twice over in fact with the personal computer revolution and then the mobile computing revolution and that vision and creativity will be missed. Happy trails buddy. That's gonna do it for this time, but come next week for an all new CNET Tech review. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETTV.com. See you next time and thank you for watching.