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110 Things That Will Determine the Fate of iPhone 4S

The iPhone 5 HypePrior to the announcement of the iPhone 4S, people around the globe were ready to get a glimpse of the iPhone 5, a major upgrade over the iPhone 4. The only issue is, that device didn’t launch. Now, many consumers are disappointed, wondering where that handset went. Apple isn’t saying, but the disappointment created from the lack of an iPhone 5 launch could prove troublesome.

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iPhone 3GS PricingFor the first time, Apple is offering an iPhone for free. Now, consumers can get the iPhone 3GS at no charge, as long as they agree to sign on to a two-year agreement. That’s a major development, and it could hurt the iPhone 4S, which starts at $199. With the economy the way it is, consumers looking to get into the smartphone game will want to do so at the cheapest price possible. And right now, that means opting for the iPhone 3GS.

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iPhone 4 PricingAt the same time, it’s worth pointing out that the iPhone 4 is now on sale for $99. At that price, the device is $100 cheaper than the cheapest iPhone 4S. That might not mean much to some folks, but considering the iPhone 4 looks identical to Apple’s latest handset and only lacks a few improvements, it might be a fine option for many customers. Believe it or not, the iPhone 4S’ sales might get hit hard by the iPhone 4.

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Android VendorsThe interesting thing about the iPhone 4S is that it’s not a major step up over any other high-end smartphone on the market. In fact, many Android handset owners have devices featuring bigger displays, 4G connectivity, and a dual-core processor. In other words, in some ways, Apple’s iPhone 4S is a catch-up smartphone, not a standard-setter. And that could hurt its sales.

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A Future iPhone 5 LaunchConsidering many folks are locked into two-year agreements, now might not be the right time to buy an iPhone. So, those people might just wait for the iPhone 5 if and when that device launches. There’s also a possibility that those who have devices they like, but can upgrade, might just wait to see what Apple’s iPhone 5 will look like when it eventually launches. Simply put, the prospect of an iPhone 5 could hurt iPhone 4S sales.

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Apple’s MarketingOne of the key reasons Apple’s smartphones have been so successful in the past has been their marketing. Whether it’s a commercial or online advertisement, Apple knows how to market its products to customers. Will the company be able to have the same level of success with the iPhone 4S? Probably.

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The Quality of SiriApple has a lot riding on Siri. The application, which acts as a virtual personal assistant, was a headliner at Apple’s event on Oct. 4, and it looks to be a key selling point in the iPhone 4S. The only question is, will it work as well as Apple has promised? If not, the company’s iPhone 4S could be in for trouble.

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Wireless SpeedsAs noted, there are several devices on the market that allow users to connect to the Web with 4G speeds. Apple’s iPhone 4S, however, only connects via 3G. However, with a new antenna, Apple says that it has been able to double the iPhone 4S’ download speeds compared to the iPhone 4 to 14.4Mbps to match many major Android-based 4G devices. But will the iPhone 4S be able to stand up to that hype? If not, Apple could be in for trouble.

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SprintThe real wild card with the iPhone 4S is Sprint. For the first time, that carrier will be carrying the iPhone, and could prove to be a fine ally for Apple. But if Sprint decides that its relationship with Android vendors is more important or the company can’t coax many customers to Apple’s device, sales of the iPhone 4S might not prove as robust as some expect. Expect the iPhone 4S to appeal to AT&T and Verizon customers, but time will tell on if it will catch on among Sprint customers.

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iPhone 4S DesignThe good thing and bad thing about the iPhone 4S is its design. The device comes in the same body as its predecessor, the iPhone 4. On one hand, that’s a good thing, since the iPhone 4 was so well-built. However, customers hoping for something new will be upset to see that the iPhone 4S has the same look as the iPhone 4. Whether or not that will hurt sales remains to be seen.