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iPhone 4S vs. a Princess phone with an extra-long cord

October 4, 2011 | 12:57 pm

Apple iPhone 4S news conference 
Apple calls it the iPhone 4S. 

It got its own news conference Tuesday. The Times covered it live, via Twitter.

Cable news channels headlined it too.

All this -- for a phone.

It is a phone, right?  Isn't that what its name says?  (OK, OK, it's a smart phone.)

No, says a colleague: It changes the way people live.

No, says another colleague: It's a religion.

I guess so. But with fall around the corner -- you can tell; it rained a little Tuesday in L.A. --  maybe I'm feeling the passage of time a bit more.

Wasn't there a time when live news conferences were for presidents talking about missiles in Cuba? 

Wasn't there a time when front-page news was about the Vietnam War, or Nixon resigning, or man on the moon, or the Iran hostage crisis?

Wasn't there a time when, talking about phones, innovation was touch-tone dialing, or the Princess model, or new colors, or that you could get an extra-long cord?

Is this what getting old feels like?  Is it "stop the world, I want to get off" time?

Here's the test, I suppose.  Read the following from The Times' David Sarno:

From the outside, the iPhone 4S looks just like the iPhone 4 -- which may disappoint some hoping for a new form factor.

On the inside however, the iPhone 4S is a new device, said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Most notably, perhaps, is the addition of Apple's dual-core A5 chip, which is built by Samsung.

The A5 in the iPhone 4S will offer seven-times faster graphics for better mobile gameplay and is "up to" twice as fast overall as the A4 chip in the iPhone 4, Schiller said.

The iPhone 4S battery life will also be the best of any iPhone thus far, with eight hours of talk time and 40 hours of music listening capability.

Did that give you chills? Make your fingers itch to hold one? Inspire in you an insatiable desire to buy one?

Congratulations. I'm sure you're in the majority. You probably never had a Princess phone anyway.

But if you read that and said, "Huh?" -- well, just take heart that you're not alone.

And if you can, go out to the garage and dig out that old Princess phone with the extra-long cord from the box with all the other stuff that you don't use but can't stand to throw away because it's not broken. 

Go ahead. Bring it in the house. Plug it into the jack.

It won't change your life, but it probably still works -– as a phone.

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-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: The Apple iPhone 4S news conference. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press 
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