First and Foremost: The Price

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First and Foremost: The Price

The way the economy is going today, its no wonder consumers are looking for the best deals out there. Right now, when one considers the iPhone landscape, the iPhone 4 is looking like a hard-to-beat bargain. If customers opt for the 8GB option, theyll only need to pay $99 with a two-year agreement. The iPhone 4S, on the other hand, starts at $199 for twice as much storage. In todays economy, $100 is a sizable difference, considering how similar both devices are.

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There Is No Design Advantage

When one compares the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S, theyll quickly find that the smartphones have the same, basic designs. They feature glass backs, a 3.5-inch Retina Display, and both rear- and front-facing cameras. The iPhone 4S sales pitch would be stronger if it had significantly updated design. But it doesnt. That could be enough for some folks to opt for the iPhone 4 instead.

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Not So Fast on the Faster Speeds

At its Oct. 4 event, Apple touted the downlink speeds of its iPhone 4S, saying that it could reach 14.4M bps. However, it has been revealed since then that those speeds can only be reached on AT&Ts network. So, those who are running the device on Verizons or Sprints networks will be stuck with 3G. The iPhone 4 has 3G speeds as well. If faster downloading is important to customers and theyre Verizon or Sprint subscribers, choosing the iPhone 4S doesnt make much sense.

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The Same Carrier Options

Unlike the iPhone 3GS, which is available only to AT&T customers, both the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 are available to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers. Thats important to consider. One of the things consumers have been looking for from Apple is carrier choice. When it comes to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, neither smartphone has an advantage.

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How Important Is the Better Camera, Really?

Apple touted the quality of the iPhone 4S camera at its Oct. 4 event, saying that it now offers 8-megapixel resolution and faster shutter speeds than the competition and is even noticeably better than the camera in the iPhone 4. For those who take a picture every now and then with their mobile devices, that might matter. But for the rest of the consumer base that doesnt buy a smartphone solely for a camera, who really cares? Aside from the dual-core processor, the better camera is arguably the best improvement over the iPhone 4. Even that isnt all that impressive.

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Not a Traveler? Pick the iPhone 4

One of the main selling points of the iPhone 4S is that it's a world phone. With that functionality, users can travel to more than 200 countries around the world and still have full access to cellular networks in those countries, even when the device works with CDMA. For world travelers, that makes the iPhone 4S an obvious buy. But for those who don't spend their time traveling and have no desire to do so, saving the $100 (or more) on the iPhone 4 seems to make some sense.

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It Has Gone Through the Paces

Each year, when Apple launches a new iPhone, the companys smartphone goes through testing by a host of organizations. And each year, something always goes wrong. For early adopters, thats not such a problem, since they expect that. But for the rest of the market, it is. The iPhone 4S is an unknown quantity right now that could suffer from annoying issues. The iPhone 4, on the other hand, has had all quirks fully discussed, making it a known quantity. For some customers, its better to go with a product that has all its issues well-documented, than one that has yet to be put through comprehensive testing.

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Don't Let the 8GB Option Scare You

In order to get more people to buy the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 4, Apple has dropped the capacity of last years device down to 8GB. The iPhone 4S, on the other hand, starts at 16GB. Although some might balk at that, its worth noting that both Verizon and AT&T are still selling 16GB and 32GB models of the iPhone 4. Plus, for those folks who are just jumping into the smartphone fray, 8GB of storage might be enough. Consider that before making a purchase.

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It Works With iCloud

The biggest announcement from Apple this year has arguably been the unveiling of iCloud. That service allows users to sync content in the cloud and across all the other products they own, including the iPad, Macs and PCs. Although Apple has been showcasing iCloud on its iPhone 4S, the service will still work with the iPhone 4. So, folks who are worried about not getting access to iCloud shouldnt buy the iPhone 4S just to put their minds at ease. The iPhone 4 will still do the trick.

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It'll Run iOS 5 Too

Its also worth noting that Apple isnt giving any preferential treatment to the iPhone 4S when it comes to its operating system. Like the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 will be able to run iOS 5. Whats more, I was able to take iOS 5 for a spin on the iPhone 4 and was impressed by how well it worked on the smartphone. So, dont have any worries about software on the iPhone 4. It will work just as well as it does on Apples latest handset.

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