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The iPhone 4S is a touchscreen-based smartphone developed by Apple Inc. it retains the exterior design of its predecessor, the iPhone 4, but is host to a range of improved hardware and software updates. The phone added a voice recognition system known as Siri, for which the S in the products name stands, and a cloud storage service named iCloud.

The iPhone 4S uses iOS, the user interface of iOS is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. The response to user input is immediate and provides a fluid interface. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swipe, tap, pinch, and reverse pinch, all of which have specific definitions within the context of the iOS operating system and its multi-touch interface.

The 4S comes with several applications by default, including Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, Music, iTunes, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Game Center, Photo Booth, and Contacts. Like all iOS devices, the 4S can sync with a Mac or PC using iTunes, although iOS 5 and later can be completely PC-free. In addition to making phone calls over a cellular network, a user can use a wired headset or the built-in speaker and microphone and place phone calls over Wi-Fi or cellular using a VoIP application.

The 4S access play music, movies, television shows, ebooks, audiobooks, and podcasts and can sort its media library by songs, artists, albums, videos, playlists, genres, composers, podcasts, audiobooks, and compilations. The iPhone uses a large font that allows users plenty of room to touch their selection. Users can rotate their device horizontally to landscape mode to access Cover Flow. Like on iTunes, this feature shows the different album covers in a scroll-through photo library. Scrolling is achieved by swiping a finger across the screen. Alternatively, headset controls can be used to pause, play, skip, and repeat tracks. On the 4S, the volume can be changed with the included Apple Earphones, and the Voice Control feature can be used to identify a track, play songs in a playlist or by a specific artist, or create a Genius playlist.

The iPhone 4S introduced a new automated voice control system called “Siri”, unique to the 4S, that allows the user to give the iPhone commands, which it can execute and respond to. For example, iPhone commands such as “What is the weather going to be like?” will generate a response such as “The weather is to be cloudy and rainy and drop to 54 degrees today”. These commands can vary greatly and control almost every application of the phone. The commands given do not have to be specific and can be used with natural language. Siri can be accessed by holding down the home button for an extra amount of time (compared to using the regular function). An impact of Siri, as shown by Apple video messages, is that it is much easier for people to use device functions while driving, exercising, or when they have their hands full. It also means people with trouble reading, seeing, or typing can access the phone more easily.

On the iPhone 4S, texting can be aided by the voice assistant, which allows speech-to-text. In addition to regular texting, messaging on the iPhone 4S is supported by iMessage, a specialized instant messaging program and service that allows unlimited texting to other Apple iOS 5 products. This supports the inclusion of media in text messages, integration with the device’s voice controlled software assistant, and read receipts for sent messages.