Student, teacher, raconteur, and Man About Town, I write about education, technology and Korea

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iPhone 4S Sneek Peak

The iPhone 4S launches in Korea tomorrow (11 November 2011) but yesterday I got a sneak peak at the 4S thanks to a source with access to those kinds of things. 

On the outside the 4S is the same as the iPhone 4 albeit with a slight modification to the case in terms of where the volume buttons and standby button are. 

But the insides are all new promising faster performance thanks to a better processor and a much better 8 MegaPixel Camera with a new lens optimised for low light conditions and a Sony made image sensor meaning you can leave the point and shoot at home - he iPhone 4S will probably be your new camera as well as your phone.

The most hyped and potentially killer app to come to the iPhone in this iteration is "Siri". Touted as your personal digital assistant, Siri takes voice command of your phone to a new level. Able to parse real language you can tell Siri to send a message to a contact and dictate the contents of the message and check it before sending it off - all with a single touch.

"What can I help you with today?"

The funny thing is that, for now, Siri doesn't speak Korean, nor does it database cover anything Korea related - the word from Apple being it might not be up and running until next year some time. Case and point:


If you are in the Market for a new phone - the iPhone 4S might just be the ticket - with KT offering some good deals:


The 16GB mode will cost ₩814,000 outright. Going by my current phone plan i-Value for ₩54,000/mnth you'll get 300 minutes of calling, 300 messages and unlimited internet, while the handset will only cost you ₩212,000 or about ₩8,000 a month over the course of a 2 year contract.

BUT wait - there's more! KT will let you trade in your iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 and give a further discount on the price of the handset:

Trading in your iPhone 3GS will net you a discount of between ₩100 - ₩150,000 depending on the capacity and the iPhone 4 will net you a discount of up to ₩210,000! Meaning for some customers upgrading to the iPhone 4S is practically free!


If you are in the neighborhood, yours truly, The Chosun Bimbo wil be ay KT's Gwanhwamun Global store tomorrow morning between 7:30 - 9:30am demonstrating Siri (in English) at KT's launch event. There will be balloons, geeks, girls in short skirts dancing to loud obnoxious music and there might even be snacks!

A big thanks to my source for the peek - the views expressed here have nothing to do with KT and they're not paying me. Although if they'd like to give me a free iPhone I'll say pretty much anything. Especially if it's against dirty ol' SK telecom. Boo!

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Reader Comments (8)

Siri reportedly is having trouble "understanding" Scottish people, Irish people, non-native English speakers, and (I suspect) probably New Zealanders.

"M" replaced her two-year-old iPhone 3GS with a white 4S and she loves it. It's beautiful. Compared to my iPhone 4, now sixteen months young, it's screamingly fast. Still not enough doohickeys and bells and whistles for me to run out and get one (I'll wait for the iPhone 5, even though I like the way the 4/4S look), but I'm tempted.

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkushibo

"The funny thing is that, for now, Siri doesn't speak"

Well this was the only thing that was 'news' about this phone. I guess it means no one in Korea (save for a handful of English teachers) will be using Siri over there. And that's going to take a long time to figure out. Especially Korean slang, is super messy.

Can you imagine the hell of a time Apple/Siri Engineers are going to have getting this phone Siri-ready for China (The mushy grammar of Chinese plus about 4 tones)... or Hong Kong (take that same mushy grammar plus about 9 tones!). The words Herculean Effort don't seem to do it justice. Mission Impossible is more like it.

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael A. Robson

@Michael hell of a time? Most definitely. Achievable? Hell yes. Methinks the giant data centre Apple constructed this year has something to do with it!

November 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterStafford

I'm probably gonna wait as well - I'm still in the middle of a contract. And my 3GS is still chugging away. The only issue Is the lack of wifi hotspot on the 3GS. I can tether to iPad via Bluetooth but no such luck with Galaxy tab.

November 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterStafford

Stafford, the jump from 3GS to 4S will definitely be worth it. It's such a leap that you'd be happy with your purchase now instead of waiting another year for the iPhone 5.

The screen alone is worth the price of the ticket.

Do iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in Korea allow tethering? In the US, AT&T does not, unless you pay a special fee, even though you're already paying for the bandwidth you'd be using. :(

I still have my trusty LG flip-phone from seven six years ago, but I would like to be able to use my iPhone in Korea by just switching cards. That would be a reason to get the iPhone 4S.

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkushibo

@Kushibo, No there is no extra fee for tethering, and of course "Unlimited" bandwidth actually means unlimited here. ANd I understand the argument for the screen but I place my phones in so many layers of protection it sometimes defeats the purpose - cf. the Otterbox Defender series of cases.

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStafford

Btw, to my amazement, it seems iPhone will understand Chinese by next March. If they can do that, they can do anything. Phew.


November 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael A. Robson

ANd I understand the argument for the screen but I place my phones in so many layers of protection it sometimes defeats the purpose - cf. the Otterbox Defender series of cases.

I would recommend not getting anything that obscures the screen. It is made of a very tough glass, so really there's no need for that protection: it's quite scratch resistant and it's terribly unlikely it will be hit hard enough in such away that it would break the glass but soft enough that it wouldn't have broken the glass had the cover been there.

In fact, I have had a 3G and a 4 for a total of three years and I fairly abuse my phones (in and out of pockets constantly, rolling around in a book bag, sometimes in a pocket with keys) and I've never had a scratch on the glass.

But the thing is that the screen is so beautiful that it begs to be seen. The #1 selling point of the iPhone 4/4S, methinks, is the Retina Display. Don't obscure it; just enjoy it and keep it away from sharp objects.

November 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkushibo

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