Review: Apple iPhone 4S for AT&T
The iPhone 4S is the first iPhone that doesn't need a computer to be set up, activated, and used. Following a series of easy-to-understand steps, it takes but a moment to go from brand new, blank iPhone to one with a carrier account and Apple account. The process is painless, and a welcome improvement over the need to connect to a computer first.
With an Apple ID (account) added the the iPhone 4S, users can choose to sync with a number of Apple's services, such as iCloud for contacts, calendar and email, or iTunes for music, book and application purchases. These can all be pushed across iOS devices over the network (be it 3G or Wi-Fi) and is great during initial set up, and keeping devices in sync afterward.
I had mixed results with iCloud. It managed to mangle/lose a number of my contacts, but synced my calendar and email just fine.
My favorite feature is automatic syncing of music and application purchases between iOS devices. If you download an app on your iPad, it automatically shows up as an available download on the iPhone and vice versa.
You can also set up the iPhone 4S to sync with your computer via Wi-Fi, though there are some stultifying limitations. First, you have connect the iPhone to a charger and plug it into a power source. Then, you have to make sure the computer and the iPhone 4S are on the same Wi-Fi network and talking with one another.
As far as I am concerned, if I have to plug it into the wall, I may as well plug it into the computer. Worse, syncing via USB cable is 10 times faster than syncing via Wi-Fi. Before you think about writing off Wi-Fi syncing, the one real benefit that Apple points out is that it is ideal for nighttime back-ups and syncing. It imagines a scenario in which you plug in your phone at night to charge, and then, in the background, it silently syncs with your computer while you snooze.
The iPhone 4S can also be found with Apple's "Find My iPhone" tool for free. It requires you to download it and configure it on another machine first. Once configured, though, you can track the location of your iPhone, lock it, wipe it, have it blast a ringtone, and see it on a map/