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The iPhone 4S and Mobile Reporters: Is this iPhone for you?

iPhone 4S and mobile reporting

The iPhone 4S and mobile reporting

Come and gone. “Let’s talk iPhone” lacked surprises and disappointed many. “Upgrades” aren’t the same as “new.” And without the reality distortion field from Steve Jobs it did kinda seem like the new emperor wasn’t wearing much.

However for journalists the iPhone 4S is a pretty big deal for two practical reasons. First, the camera is much better. As this is the camera that is “always” with you, the quality of the photos is pretty important. The fact that this part of the hardware has been completely re-engineered--new lens system, new sensor and cool new software that uses the faster processor is a big deal for mobile reporting. Here’s the Apple information on the new camera. The demo images look dramatically better than the 4G images.

The second practical reason is the improved video. The upgrade to 1080p HD is good but isn’t the big deal. The significant and practical new feature is video stabilization that's made possible by the faster processor. Take a look at the video stabilization demo on the Apple site. While not a substitute for a tripod--or even a monopod--video stabilization could make live, mobile video dramatically better. Video stabilization could really improve breaking news video, especially for journalists who only occasionally shoot with mobile devices.

Less important, but still potentially useful for mobile reporting is Siri. Tweeting, fact checking, background research, directions and communication could be a bit easier for mobile reporters. While Siri is a beta product, it’s easy to imagine Siri being pretty useful in a couple of revisions.

The techie new dual antennas promise faster data transfer and could speed getting video and photos back to the newsroom. A faster Internet connection is a plus for all types of mobile uses.

Finally, Apple claims 200 new iOS5 features. While most are likely to be “nice to have” I haven’t yet found any that are compelling for journalists. Let me know if you find a great iOS 5 feature that would make a difference for a mobile reporter.

My take: If you use your iPhone for mobile reporting, this is a big improvement in an important tool.

Do you think the iPhone 4S provides enough value to recommend upgrading for mobile reporters?