The recent models of the iPhone look very similar in shape, size, and color so if you are planning on buying one, just what are the differences between the models and even more importantly, which one is the best iPhone for you?

Three to choose from
At the time of this writing (December 2012) there are three basic iPhone models to choose from: the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, and the most recent addition to Apple’s smartphone line, the iPhone 5.

All iPhones have access to Apple’s extensive library of applications from its App Store and iTunes music library where hundreds of thousands of songs, games, and software can be downloaded and purchased or obtained at no cost.

Although the three editions of the iPhone, at first glance, appear to be almost the same, we’ll find out that each one has its own personality as far as features and performance.

The iPhone 4
This model was introduced in June of 2010 and is a favorite for first time iPhone customers because it is offered at no charge when signing up with a standard two-year contract from one of the major wireless carriers.

The basic features of the iPhone include a high definition 3.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, high definition video recording, and 8GB of internal memory.

If you are a first time iPhone customer on a budget or want to buy an extra iPhone for a relative or friend, the iPhone 4 may be the right choice for you.

The iPhone 4S
This model was released in October 2011 and was highly speculated by the press as being the “iPhone 5” before it was unveiled to the world. As it turned out the iPhone 4S was announced instead, which many saw as a refresh or upgrade from the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4S is identical in look and feel to the iPhone 4. The differences between the two phones are internal. The iPhone 4S has a higher resolution camera, faster processor, 1080p high definition video resolution, and 16GB of internal memory and is priced, at the time of this writing, for $99 with a two-year standard contract.

The iPhone 4S also has a voice recognition system named “Siri” which responds to spoken words and can be used to operate the iPhone.

The iPhone 4 is perfect for those who want an affordable iPhone with improved performance and features.

The iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 was released in September 2012 and is the latest version of the iPhone line of smartphones. Unlike its previous iterations, the iPhone 5 stands out from the rest of the models by offering a 4-inch HD display as opposed to the 3.5-inch displays on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

The iPhone 5 has all the features of the iPhone 4S with the exception of a faster processor, bigger display, higher resolution FaceTime camera photos, new power and data connector, and newly styled earphones.

Because the iPhone 5 uses a new power/data cable called “Lightning,” previous owners of iPhones should be aware that their old iPhone accessories will not work with the Lightning connector. An adapter from Apple or third-party accessory manufacturer makes these items compatible with the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 comes in three different memory configurations: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Prices start at $199 with a standard two-year contract.

Which one?
For those who are on a budget but want to get a taste of the iPhone experience, the iPhone 4 or 4S is the way to go. These phones offer value and good performance at prices that rival its competitors.

If you want the latest in technology in an iPhone from Apple, the iPhone 5 is your pick.

But with Apple’s recent policy of bringing out new versions of the iPhone in less than a year’s time, if you can wait, the next iPhone will offer improved features at about the same price as the present iPhone 5.

Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for Examiner.com. He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.

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