Tale of the Tape: Apple iPhone 4S vs. BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the competition

iPhone 4S vs. the competition
By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Oct 2011 03:58 pm EDT

With another Apple iPhone announcement now behind us, it's time for an updated specs comparison chart pitting the latest offering from Cupertino against the competition.

It's not an iPhone 5, but rather an iPhone 4S that was announced. The device looks identical to the iPhone 4, but features some upgraded internal specs. The processor is now dual core. The camera is now at 8 megapixels with 1080pm video recording. The battery is said to offer longer battery life and the graphics processing is much faster. A first for iPhones, a 64GB version of the phone is now available too. It still doesn't have a physical keyboard or a blinking red light. And it looks identical to the iPhone 4. Oops, did I say that twice? Yeah, I meant to. :)

It's definitely the best iPhone to date, and the specs jump ahead of what BlackBerry 7 Smartphones are offering, but with the iPhone 4S Apple didn't really to do much to leap ahead. As our friend @philnickinson said while we were talking on TiPb's live blog... they caught up to where Android was for specs 6 months ago.

The new Siri artificial intelligence stuff Apple demoed was cool, but again, it's a demo. I'm not sure how it will pick up in real world use (Facetime made for a great demo too but you don't see Apple giving Facetime stats as the usage rate is sooo low in the real world).

You almost get the sense Apple pulled off today what RIM has often been criticized of in the past - an incremental update to a mainly similar phone. Or maybe I'm just being harsh here since Steve Jobs wasn't at the show.

Whatever the case, be sure check out the chart above for the full comparison (click image for larger version). I can't wait to update the comparison chart while at DevCon with some BBX BlackBerry SuperPhone specs. That'll even things out. For more on the iPhone 4S, head over to TiPb.com for all the coverage.

Reader comments

Tale of the Tape: Apple iPhone 4S vs. BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the competition


The things that bothers me most with the new BBs are the lack of front camera as much as the lack of flash support. I can live without a little slowest CPU (since 1.2Ghz is very good anyway), and the 720p recording.

Totally agree, but even if we did have front facing cams, there is no Skype for blackberry, so it would be redundant just like the front facing Playbook camera.

I think the next BB QNX device will have specs that match the iPhone 4s i.e

Bluetooth 4.0
8MP camera
1080p recording
TV output (possibly hdmi like the playbook?)

So by the time the next QNX phones are released, Apple will probably release its iPhone5 before Blackberry can get QNX phones to market, the iP5 specs & features will probably wipe the floor with RIM, and RIM will launch something that goes head to head with iP 4S.

I agree on the need for a front camera. If you have not done Facetime, you are missing a big part of the new era experience (easy voice & video - even if it almost requires a Wifi connection).

I have been hesitating between a BB7 device and the originally supposed "iphone 5" recently, now thanks to their 4S, no bothering any more. i definitely want a new BB!!

Kevin, do you think the suckers at AT&T at-least now release our beloved 9900 as we are over with this crap now.

I most certianly hope so. It is a shame we all had to be held as hostages for such a "sh*t in the bed" move by another company.

The iphone is so overrated, don't worry about missing out. Ever since I threw my touchscreen through a wall and went to a Blackberry, I never looked back.

The 9900 is better than the iPhony BECAUSE of the full keyboard. Of COURSE having to read from a miniscule screen because of a thumb-sucking dependence on a keyboard is waaaay better than being able to view web based apps on a full touchscreen.

Better get the BB because after all, the ancient keyboard trumps app selection, integration, media, games, power, speed.

Forget security, form, quality, BES, ease of communication, bbm, bb07, the keyboard really is the most important aspect of the comparison.

I wouldn't get too excited about the bbx vs. Iphone 4s. By then I think it will have to stand up to iphone 5. I'll be impressed if the phone comes out as soons as advertised and I hope it happens. The only problem is that RIM hasn't given us a reason to trust one of their projected release dates.

RIM hasn't given a projected release date for BBX, but I think it is safe to say that we will see it next summer. Still if you assume a one year cycle for Apple, the BBX phones will be out at least 3 months before the iPhone 6.

Two things. I totally agree with the article saying they did just what RIM did just updating an existing model. I wonder if the press will start calling for sell off of Apple now, lol.

Additionally, as boring as this update is, I can't help but notice that its still ahead of RIM's flagship model. Disappointing.

The only spec on which the iPhone5 (it is the fifth iPhone no matter what Apple wants to call it) really beats the 9900 is with the front facing camera. Other lines on this chart where the iPhone is ahead, they are so only trivially such as with Bluetooth and screen resolution. Meanwhile the Bold is ahead on important things like microSD support, and NFC while also being marginally ahead on a things like 5GHz wi-fi and battery life.

did you really wrote battery life?

You definitley have not a 99xx device ;)

I'm not really missing the front camera as their is no application (Skype or a good SIP-Client at least) available.

I miss hotspot and flash the most.

Apps - I am not into apps but Appworld is so SO poor. Their are only at best medium quality for premium prices available.

I love the 9900 but hotspot and falsh I miss really. One or two good monitors for data and system (%- what app used energie/also hardware etc.)

I bought a battery app but it's not even working correct. No support - respond...
(Battery app which disable the radio if its poor reception and enable it after e.G. 10 Minutes etc. - small thinks which perhabs can extend the battery life a little bit or even more importand: reduces the chances of bad luck ;) (area with bad connections/apps which frozen but sucking the life out of the battery etc.))

I'm thankfull for any good apps infos/hints :)

YES Apple did another RIM today! Not much game-changing here! I kinda like how they held every1 up to the moment though, lol!! But more importantly they are ahead of RIM and if the BBX specs are similar to IP4S, RIM will still be behind: to be trumped by IP6! BlackBerry has the joint worst battery in this comparison, VERY disappointing and a backward step!!How about at least a 1750MaH battery for BBX, RIM! And the camera: at least 8/10MP AF; another big disap. Flash support RIM! Seriously, consider! And what's the con for FF camera again: I'm sure it's better to have one than not! C'mon APP WORLD, more apps or more BUILT-IN features then!! I expect the fluidity and intuitivenes of the UI to improve! Thanks to U-search I don't have to rummage through to customize or find things, and I know BlackBerry well!! But think about the uninitiated! We all want new customers for BBX, right! The other specs are 1 2 3 RIM, just beef them up to/ahead of the competition! And that's apart of my dream for BBX! Thank You 9900/

If the next slate of phones are running on QNX doesn't that mean they will run flash like the PB? Or will they be limited in that aspect?

I was a bit worried while waiting for the new iPhone 5 which I presumed was going to be the new benchmark. But it hasn't happened which makes my BB9900 all the more impressive - sure its behind in a few areas but most of those are not that relevant [like front facing camera or the primary camera that is 8MP or more] to me.
If BB can bring out its next gen phones before June next year [ which i guess is the earliest an iPhone 5 will appear] then they will easily be back at the top in terms of specs.

There's allot of disappointment out there right now with the way things panned out with the iphone S. Especially with the people that sold their iphones in anticipation of an iphone 5 with a new design. I hope the BBX devices are sweet, but in the mean time, the Bold 9930 is the King of style and getting Sh*t done.

I take great pictures and video with my Bold 9930. Disappointing is Apple trying to hype up a product that looks as boring as 2010.

I would never trade my BB Bold for that device.

By the way, if you read the apple blogs many said that they wanted a bigger screen and if not they would go to droid.

Apple without Steve Jobs = end of innovation.

Camera is a dead horse grip from people who would have preferred auto focus over 1080HD video. That's fine you are entitled to your preferences but don't call it a problem.

And as for weak battery that's just load of crock that's been hyped up. I won't include those who legitimately have phones with bad batteries but for the most part 9900/9930 owners are happy with their battery.

Please stop trollin'.

I beg to differ on battery here! Coming up the ranks through the Bold series, 9000, 9700, this is the worst battery! And on a more powerful device 1230MaH is ridiculous considering BlackBerry is revered for having good battery life. This battery will NOT last a day, and I'm a medium, productivity user who don't do games! That's my gr8est disappointment here! For the 1st time I really have to get a spare battery! The BBX battery needs to be gr8, 1750MaH at least! 9900/

Thats what I am talking about. A huge step back in the battery life. And the camera on the 9900 is really sh*t, I cannot understand anybody, whos happy with it.

8830 WE, 8330, Bold 9650, IP4, 9930

I agree, my bad battery is just that. I am sure Apple has bad Iphone Batteries as well. I know my daughter had one and all she had to do was go to Apple store and they simply switched phones for her. She got a new phone (Same Size, Color etc). Without any hassle. Verizon wanted her to file a claim on insurance......LOL

My bold battery charges till full, then 10 minutes later is at 90% with nothing running in the background?
Simply put,,,,,,Bad Battery! New one tomorrow and looking forward to brighter skies.


well now that we see the specs for iphone 4S, im pretty sure that the new BBX superphone will have better specs...it has too!!

Yes, thanks for pointing out that blackberry still falls short in every category. I love my bb,would take it anyday over an iphone, but I'm just sayin, there's plenty of room for improvement...

This is no defense for the "facts" but having the fastest/best in every category is not always better. Case and point, power hog Androids.

That being said there should be a narrowing of the gap by RIM if they want to dig the hole they're in.

The tech blogs and consumers are completely pitted against RIM by Apple's Hype-rbolic distortion field.

So RIM has no choice. For now jump the hoops until you get public perception back, or at least until people wake up from the fanatical pixie dust Apple's been spreading these last few years.

I'm a BlackBerry person, but I wouldn't exactly criticize Apple for winning over the masses with their phones, whether they are good or not. At least Apple (apparently) have some competitive advantage with marketing! If BlackBerry is better, RIM should challenge itself to prove that with the devices they make and with marketing the devices on their strong points, at least! Ego will not do it for competitiveness!! RIM in lieu of being dynamic has maybe been a dinosaur for too long! Apple has been more dynamic and utilitarian! And that's not such a bad example to look at!

Innovation running out? This has a dual core processor and that is nice but my BlackBerry Bold just zips through everything.
The BBX phone is going to crush this and we will get a glimpse this month.

The BB still has better e-mail, messaging, and security.

The main problem with apple is that they want to rope you in to their eco-system and pretend they have a sense of inevitability but android is already kickiing their ass. I call it iClaustrophobia when you try to use a friends charger at work and they don't have an apple plug.

The BB manages information better and the shortcuts are all about efficiency.

I love my blackberry but it sucks to see their specs are still below the competition. I would love my new torch to have a dual core processor.

+1 on that!!

I love my PlayBook especially when bridged to my 9700.

I waiting for BBX to drop and I won't be unfaithful BUUUUUT the SGS2 looks amazing on paper.

I hope the BBX at least matches that. We'll have to wait and see.

I am surprised at Apple today. While the 4S is "better" than the 4, the 4 compared to the 3GS was a huge jump. I mean the jump from the 9900/9930 from the 9780 was huge as well.

I guess people are used to Apple just blowing away people's minds.

Its all good though. These new 4S's will still sell like hotcakes anyway.

I don't believe that people are bashing Apple for this update. It's been obviously a commerical decision and why do people want a quad core in a mobile phone? It sounds to me that people see the contemporary mobile phones as status objects. Every phone fullfils a purpose for me. That is email, bit of internet and, unthinkably making phone calls!

I can't believe that people don't see that. Nowadays the hype created exceeds the realistic expectations quite dramatically. Interesting to monitor but if people don't like it they can stick with their old phones which still do the job and get over the created desire to buy a new phone. Same for some BlackBerry users who are ditching RIM because of their phone line up. A phone is there to make phone calls. And a BlackBerry is great for emailing and has cought up with web browsing. Would I switch to android because of a monster LCD screen for surfing? No because if I do surf it's for fun and everywhere else I've got my laptop, am driving etc.

Stone me for this but thanks to the forum hype and the daydreams of most of us we're disappointed if we've to face reality.

Thank you!! I have a Playbook for reading and occasional video and news. If I want to watch a movie I'll use the TV. This power for power and bragging rights sake alone is gettig ridiculous. My 9930, other than battery life and I'm going to look into that, is hurling through a full screen of multitasking programs all day long and getting work done.

Here is apples problem.

People that don't care for video games or movies on their phones as the top priority will see the OS7 devices and love the keyboard, the replaceable battery option, the SD card option. Also the security and real time push info.

People that want to play games and videos on their phone as the top priority will see the top of the line androids and go with it. Look at the specs on the SSI.

Apples new iPhone is about as boring as they come.

Sorry Apple, you painted yourself into a corner with your standard model so apps would work well. Now you can't change without losing your app advantage.

Waiting for the day the media jumps all over Apple for this release. There is nothing innovative about the phone. I hope they preach about how Apple needs to just shut their doors now since they arnt cutting edge and its just the same old iPhone.

RIM's developer conference in a couple of weeks will not look so bad now. As far as timing goes.

lol no. bb9900 kills iphone4 in speed. 1.2ghz vs 800mhz.

700ram vs 500ram.

more pixel density in the bold, better battery. The list goes on.

I really like the OS7 phones but still waiting to see the qnx blackberrys and yes theyt are lacking the front facing camera.. But iphone 4s having a 8 megapixel camera now that is impressive but still identical to the iphone 4.. Hmmm I bet the qnx blackberry gonna get 8 megapixel camera and and front facing camera then that's a for sure gonna get one :)

You should do a comparison to the 9850/9860 devices alongside the new iPhone 4s specs.
Full touch screen vs full touch screen. I get compliments on my 9850 all the time when people realize its a BB device. The resolution of the screen is incredible, and has decent battery life for the abuse I give it daily.

If they tweaked the design, and called it 5, would it have made it a better phone? More productive?

No. They have stuck with a design that the majority like, good business decision.

If the Torch had these specs, I dare say most would be thinking all their christmas's had come at once!

That's exactly what I was thinking! Comparing a full touch screen to a BB with a keyboard is (pardon the pun) Apples to Oranges...

By the way,as if I had to say it, the Blackberry's were NEVER designed with Adobe Flash either...But I LOVE my Storm/PB combination. I can't wait for the full touch screen BBX phones!

This phone is not going to feel a lot different from the regular iPhone 4 in the real world. Sure it has faster CPU and gfx but most app developers don't tap into that because it makes more sense to develop apps that run on all iPhones rather than just that one faster one. The phone may feel a bit snappier but overall I don't expect a huge difference compared to the iPhone 4 sans S.

I agree that the camera seems great but all I personally use my phone for is stupid snapshots and for that even the Bold's mediocre camera is fine for me. When I want to take a real photo I bring out my DSLR.

I think if RIM can pick hardware components that are on par with Apple's and the latest Android phones for the BBX devices and delive on the promises made when it comes to the v2 OS things could get quite interesting.

For now the iPhone 4S does not make me regret getting a Bold 9930. Not at all.

Today Apple pulled a RIM and created their own poo by raising expectations too high and not delivering.

Now RIM pull an Apple with the Colt. Produce a good product and market the hell out of it!


I looked at the language support Siri offered and it said - English - UK, US, Australia (if my memory serves me right)

Wonder if the Siri would support an Indian accent...lol....Beat me up on this one guys, but I'm an Indian living in the US and I DO have an accent. I just see Siri calling up my boss when I say "create an appointment to take the dog to the vet next week"

I think i'll check on this feature when the iPhones out in stores a few weeks from now

Thanks to you Apple for giving RIM a second lease on life! Your upgrade sucks...now RIM needs to kill it Devcon time.


Thats exactly what I thought when I saw the phone. RIM has a HUGE opportunity here.

Imagine a THIN BBX superphone that could do 2 way video call, run Android apps, can do well enough on a single core processor, a decent camera and revolutionary approach to apps with the most important apps on the market available at launch...

Best of all - what if they launch it in Q1?

A guy can hope... but this is the best chance RIM can get.

@ least now we know why apple is suing Samsung. Clearly they lack innovation. The iphone has reached the end of its product life cycle. By the time they decide to bring out the iphone 6. (4s is e iphone 5) it will be too late.

The biggest thing i dont understand is the bluetooth, iphone4s gets bluetooth 4 and we are still running 2.1 and trying to sell playbooks? If we are gloating and pushing bridge as an awesome feature, why have we not moved to 4 as 3 seemed to have consumption issues.

Other than that...sweet release as i type this on my playbook :)

I personally left iphone and ipad for bb9930 and playbook combo and men I tell you it is sweet!! but that is my personal preference.If you adore your Iphone go Iblogging somewhere else.

Rim for life its re assuring that we dont have to put up with disappointments like these from rim they dont make the same phone twice and just bump the specs.
Speaking of which has there been any new on the BBX phones yet?

Iphone 3 came and then what a year later Iphone 3S?? Same thing. I don't know why people would expect any different.

Apple has to milk the money from the current iphone first before moving on.

This i4s is a very nice upgrade. iOS 5, better battery, dual core. Its basically and Iphone 5 with a iphone 4 case.

remember if you had iphone 3G S there was not enough reason to get Iphone 4.

So if you buy Iphone 4S....iphone 5 will not be that much of interest to you spec wise.

So none of you read anything in Apple's move to sue Samsung all over the world? They knew they had nothing in the bag to fight back. Look at the SII specs and yet it has been around for ages.

Handset manufacturers have still not learned that it is the software and the ecosystem that makes the iPhone so attractive. Application availability and ease of management and installation are unparalleled.

The BB software Development Kit (SDK) contains 22 different screen display formats and resolutions - a nightmare to program to. Combined with at least 5 different and mutually incompatible processors, the developer environment for BB is fragmented so bad that it makes little sense to develop anything there.

The IT industry keeps repeating those mistakes as well. UNIX had a mature product when Windows was in it's infancy, but they fragmented the market so bad, UNIX was relegated to a niche and server status. Android is following that same path.

It is not the handset - it is the entire experience, and until others learn that the entire ecosystem, from development to user experience to desktop integration, alls works smoothly, the iPhone will continue to dominate, including platform retention, which is a major failing of Android.

The iPhone4S just makes everything that much better, faster, etc. - a market winner, regardless of the techno-geek analysis.

gotta love Kevin's " And it looks identical to the iPhone 4. Oops, did I say that twice? Yeah, I meant to. :)" jab.

I do think thats a major flaw in this announcement coz people using iDevices are supposed to be 'cool' and in their mind theres nothing cool in having identical device from 1.5 years ago i guess. Unless they come up with pink iPhones to differentiate the new one.... If they do I bet people will buy the pink ones just to make it look different than the 4

iCloud, Siri, easy to use, and expensive? Sounds like Apple just bought another product life cycle to me. They will buy it like crazy but it has 2 weak spots. No.(1) It looks exactly like the iPhone 4 so the kids will not be pissing their pants to own one because holding it in your hand will impress no one. No.(2) I don't really care why they call it (4S) instead of (5), letting the general public think it will be (5) and springing the name change on them at the last minute bolsters problem No.(1). Can you here them now? Dam!!!! I wanted the new phone and they just upgraded the (4)!!!!!! Apple just hit flight altitude and will be climbing no longer, just cruising along like many companies do when they peak. I still believe it will not be so easy for RIM to gain market share against Apple. Apple will continue being successful with the iPhone 4S and making lots of money to keep a higher level of momentum than RIM.

But hey, Blackberry till the END!!!!!!

looking for the ip4s spec totally make their fans sad..them still loosing on samsung galaxy s 2..some more my 9900 more light then their new ip4s from weight factor..i will stay on my beloved 9900 and waiting the qnx phone release..hope Rim will release their monster phone ASAP! Goodluck RIM.

There is a rumour sneaking around that they wanted to introduce the iPhone 5 today but their legal battles with Samsung, the one in regards to the touch screen usage, prevents them. So they had to introduce something today. if the rumors are true, may be this legal thing is taking bigger bite out of apple that they lead us to believe.

#1 comparison to the 4S: The Torch shoudl be listed along with the Bold. Its big screen needs to be there for comparison to the other devices (aguments aside about keyboard or no)

#2: Hope the memory is not an issue

#3: No front facing camera is going to become a BIG deal. If you have not used Facetime (video & voice, even tho it almost requires WiFi), you will find yourself surprised by the market.

This year 107 million people are expected to be so disappointed in the 4S that they will buy it.

Haven't you guys caught on yet? 2 - 3 - 3GS - 4 - 4S - ? Come June/July there will be a 5.

I've had BlackBerry phones for about three years and not sure if I'm going to switch to Android or not, but the Bold specs do look weak. On another note, I think "HTC_Droid_EVO" should go put a cork in his massive security hole.

Except for the reduced battery life I'm loving my 9900/! It gets all my productive work done: emails, documents,secured banking,secured shopping! On the lighter side I can go social with BlackBerry Messenger,Fb or Twitter or the good ole yahoo and MSN messengers! I mostly do outdoor and board games with real persons! Flash support would be gr8 though for the browsing experience! Otherwise battery is the main concern now!

Hmm, but the battery is a crucial point for me. Cannot understand this stupid step from RIM to devalue with a weak battery such a perfect device like the 9900. And I even dont like the camera on the 9900. Compared with my 9780, its crappy.

Dear Crackberry. Put the Motorola Pro+ phone to your comparision list and you will see interesting things..

IP5 was hyped up by the media. Apple never did. They just have been silent, as usual.
But because of it, IP4S might sound like a disappointment but the real juice is in the software (iOS5). iOS5 brings notification, widgets and Siri and all that, but when combined with the free iCloud (everything OTA) and cutting umbilical cord (iTune) etc , the whole eco system is unbeatable.
It seems Apple are trying to make the iPhone as a true mobile personal assistant, not just a phone.
From that perspective, Siri might be an important addition but we'll see.
IP5 exists and I do not know why Apple are preserving it but IP4S should have been called IP5 if Apple cared that much about the hype, but they apparently did not.
Since devils are in software, comparison of hardware spec would not tell the whole story.

It should be more worrying to RIM that their latest offering seems to be the lowest spec phone there, even though some of the phones have been available to the public for months.

I would never have another apple as they are overpriced and unless jailbroken, too restrictive on apps, android next for me

Iphone 4s is going to be my new phone blackberry can suck my balls. Worst phone I have ever bought. RIM can go eat shit.

the bold 9870 had double input issue and it was a hardware issue. i love to see some of the fanboys on here talking about its software related and can be fixed after reloading the os. yet these people arent labelled as "trolls" for misleading people. even though i would never buy an iproduct, but apple has far better build quality. rim will dissolve in few years.

Guys Guys Guys!!!! I cant believe some of you here actually belive the Iphone 4 or 4s beats the blackberry 9900/9930 in any way. Ok ya we dont have a front facin camera, im 100% sure the new BBX deivces will have it. RIM stock is at its lowest so far, droping below $20 at $19 and some change. RIM knows that in order to increase investors confidence in the company they will need to blow away the compition. Because right now things arnt looking to well, thus this phone will not only kill both the iphone 4 and 4s, but will do the same to the iphone 5. Alot of people dont relize this, even though the playbook hasnt done very well so far. It serves as testing grounds for the new BBX devices, because the PB has been out for a year already, RIM will have worked out the kinks it needs to make sure the devices run smoothly. All in all the new BBX phones will be amazing! Oh i forgot to mention they will also have access to the Android maket! If you are an iphone fan and are still convinced that it beats Blackberrys or the new BBX device, I feel sorry for u!

Long live the Blackberry nation ;)