Is it time to buy a new iPhone 4S without LTE?

The iPhone 4S is the exact same form factor as the 4

Apple just released the details on the iPhone 4S, for those expecting the 5, they were extremely underwhelmed, and Apple’s stock has taken a bit of a tumble. The updates were all internal and all on the back-end. This has made quite a few people upset (mostly because they were hoping for the iPhone 5) but the device is in fact a good deal more powerful.

In my opinion, the iCloud is the biggest advancement

If you’ve read this blog often, you know I’m not a big Apple fan. While they do make solid products, I don’t believe that they always provide great value to users, nor do they always look out for the consumer. I believe the latest iPhone 4S is an example of that. It includes some internal advancements, but those just allow it to keep up with the current generation of Android smartphones (remember, the iPhone 4 is over a year old now). Gizmodo has a great list of the top-10 iOS 5 advancements (here) – but those merely allow it to match what Android 2.3.x (Gingerbread) offers now.

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The dual-core processor and GPU are definitely an improvement over last year’s version, and will provide the latest iPhone with some staying power, except in one domain – the lack of a true 4G radio. The iPhone 4 released with 3G radios when the Evo 4G already had WiMax. This version does provide for HSDPA+ and HSUPA+ that AT&T and T-Mobile networks offer, but that’s not real 4G, nor is it real 4G speeds. That said, both the VZW and Sprint devices will both hamstrung by the CDMA networks (especially considering the amount that the iPhone will rely on the iCloud).

Yet without LTE, the device will wind up slowing you down. Apple has set up the iPhone with enough horsepower to really power some great applications – but the lack of bandwidth will hamstring it completely.

Windows Phone 7 Mango has been recently released, and there will be a Samsung Galaxy S II device for every carrier by the end of November, so unless you’re still living in the phone dark ages, it’s probably worth your time to wait a bit. Bandwidth hungry apps such as YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go, and ESPN are becoming favorites among users – but at 3G speeds they are hardly usable.

Before you join the 1,000,000+ iPhone 4S pre-orders, take a second and look at the full gamut of devices available. It is my opinion that LTE (which will be available on all the major carriers shortly) is a necessity for any urban user, and a necessity for all heavy users in the next few years. If you can, I suggest you wait for a phone offering LTE (most likely to be the iPhone 5) or wait for Apple to update and upgrade their iCloud offerings.

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