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Apple Unveils the iPhone 4S

Apple Unveils the iPhone 4S
  • On October 5, 2011

At a press event in Cupertino, CA on Tuesday, Apple executives, without former CEO Steve Jobs,  showed off the next generation iPhone. Like the jump from the 3G to the 3GS, this iteration is only an incremental upgrade and not a radical redesign like the iPhone 4 before it. In fact, from the outside it looks almost identical to the iPhone 4.

The “S” in the 3GS meant speed. And like the 3GS the 4S packs a faster processor than the iPhone 4. Underneath the hood you’ll find the same chip that is in the iPad 2; the Apple manufactured A5. This 1GHz dual-core processor lets the 4S run at twice the speed.

Apple also upped the data speeds of  their newest handheld, claiming to match advertized “4G” speeds by reworking the antenna. According to Phil Schiller, the iPhone “can now intelligently switch between two antennas” which will hopefully rectify the notorious death grip and reception problems that have plagued the iPhone 4. They’ve made the iPhone 4 a world phone, meaning that it can work on HSPA, CDMA and GSM signals. This allows the phone to work with virtually any carrier around the world. (note: the claimed 4G speeds are only on HSPA+ like AT&T’s networks)

The Camera has gotten an impressive upgrade. It’s jumped from 4 megapixels to 8 megapixels (at 3264×2448 pixels) and it will be backside illuminated like the iPhone 4. It’s got a slightly larger, f/2.4 aperture as well. It will also shoot video in full 1080p high definition. The camera on the iPhone 4 was pretty adequate and this upgrade brings it in line with its competitors.

The biggest change to the new iPhone is the addition of Siri, an on board assistant that recognizes your vocal commands. What to know if you need a jacket? Ask Siri by holding down the home button and asking in a natural voice, “Siri, what is the weather going to be like today?” and using a combination of your GPS location and tapping into the internet, Siri will answer your question. The demo they showed had Siri making reminders, finding places to eat and replying to text messages. It seems very intuitive and even a bit futuristic.

Apple also used this time to remind us that iCloud will be dropping soon along with iOS 5. iCloud will let you wirelessly sync all of your files between Apple devices through the internet. It will let you store and back up your information to servers in distant lands. And its free!

iOS 5 will bring lots of new functionality to your current iPhone. To be honest, I’m more excited about iOS 5 than the iphone 4S. Things like a revamped, less intrusive notification system are a welcomed change from the current pop-ups. They’ve gone ahead and taken on the Blackberry and added iMessage which is kinda like texting without the texting fee between apple devices. The new camera app lets you crop and rotate your pictures and even lets you use the volume buttons as the shutter button. Apple claims to have over two-hundred new functions in iOS 5.

The iPhone 4S will sell on AT&T, Verizon, and now Sprint with a two year contract in 16GB for $199 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. They will also offer the 8GB iPhone 4 for $99 and the iPhone 3GS for free. Pre-orders start on October 7th and they will be releasing it a week later.