At today’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, Apple announced not the iPhone 5, but the iPhone 4S, which sports:Apple’s dual-core A5 chip; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri, an “intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking.”
With the launch of iPhone 4S also comes the launch of iOS 5 with over 200 new features, and iCloud, a set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices.
“The iPhone 4S plus iOS 5 plus iCloud is a breakthrough combination that makes the iPhone 4S the best iPhone ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “While our competitors try to imitate iPhone with a checklist of features, only iPhone can deliver these breakthrough innovations that work seamlessly together.”
iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, which has such new feature as Notification Center, a way to view and manage notifications in one place without interruption and iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users. iOS 5 will also be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
iPhone 4S also introduces Siri, which understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, said Schiller. For example, if you ask “Will I need an umbrella this weekend?” it understands you are looking for a weather forecast. Siri is also smart about using the personal information you allow it to access. For example, if you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mom when I get home,” it can find “Mom” in your address book.
Ask Siri “What’s the traffic like around here?” and it can figure out where “here” is based on your current location. Siri helps you make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and more. You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking.
The 8-megapixel sensor of the iPhone 4S has 60% more pixels so you can take amazing high quality photos with more detail than ever, said Schiller. The latest iteration of the Apple smartphone includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter that produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images, he adds.
The Apple-designed image signal processor in the A5 dual-core chip is built for performance, and coupled with the features built into iOS 5, purportedly makes the camera one of the fastest on any phone. With iPhone 4S, the Camera app launches much faster and the shot to shot capability is twice as fast, said Schiller.
New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go.
New iOS 5 features include built-in Twitter integration and iMessage, so you can share your photos via Twitter directly from the Photos app and send photos via iMessage to individuals or groups. And with iCloud’s innovative new Photo Stream service, a photo you take on your iPhone is sent to iCloud and automatically pushed to your iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. You can even view your Photo Stream album on your Apple TV.
The iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and touts a new video image stabilization feature. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions. With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, you can now instantly share videos with family and friends.
The iPhone 4S has the same thin glass and stainless steel design of its predecessor, while being completely redesigned on the inside. Schiller says Apple’s dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, all while maintaining incredible battery life — now up to eight hours of 3G talk time.
Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is purportedly the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive. iPhone 4S now supports twice the download speed with HSDPA of up to 14.4 Mbps and iPhone 4S is a world phone, so both CDMA and GSM customers can now roam internationally on GSM networks.*
The iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of US$199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the new 64GB model. It will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers.
The iPhone 4S will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on Friday, Oct. 14, and customers can pre-order their iPhone 4S beginning Friday, Oct. 7. The iPhone 4 will also be available for $99 and the iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two year contract.
Siri will be available in beta on iPhone 4S in English (localized for US, UK and Australia), French and German. iOS 5 software will be available on Oct.12 as a free software update via iTunes 10.5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers.
The iPhone 4S will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries by the end of October including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.