Apple Live Event – iPhone 4S Unveiled
Apple introduced the iPhone 4S at their live press event today. It features the new A5 processor chip, which means it is up to 2 times faster than the previous iPhone, with graphics that, according to the company, are up to 7 times faster.
The 4S will have 8 hours of 3G talk time, and 6 hours of browsing – that increases to 9 hours of browsing on Wi-Fi. For video, the battery life is about 10 hours, and for music, it’s about 40 hours.
It also features a new wireless protocol, which intelligently switches between radio antennas to transmit and receive faster and more seamlessly, as well as improve call quality. Download speeds are now at a maximum of 14.4 Mpbs, as opposed to the 7.2 on the iPhone 4.
Another major upgrade is that while previous iPhones came in either GSM or CDMA flavors, the 4S can handle both in one device. This means it is a true world phone that can be used on almost any network around the globe, making it a much more attractive option for frequent travelers than the previous model.
The iPhone 4S has a brand new camera as well, with a whopping 8 megapixel sensor, which rivals most point-and-shoot models on the market today. This is a 60% boost over the iPhone 4, and also comes with a backlit CMOS, which means that it will let in more light, according to Apple. It is also, the company noted, about a third quicker to take shots overall. Other improvements in the camera include upgrades to hardware to improve the color accuracy and sharpness of shots taken with the 4S. On the video side, the 4S can record at 1080p, with image stabilization and noise reduction built in.
Another major upgrade to the iPhone 4S is in its voice recognition technology. Called Siri, Apple is billing it as a personal assistant that helps you get things done simply by speaking into the phone, without needing to use a predefined, specific set of phrases already programmed in. Apple demonstrated the feature by asking for the weather in several ways, including “what’s the forecast” and “do I need an umbrella today?” They also asked questions such as the current time in other countries, and for the alarm to be set at a specific day and time. Other examples of Siri’s use include asking it to find you a restaurant in the local area, asking for directions to a location, which will bring up the maps app, even reading text messages to you, and then allowing you to respond by speaking the message.
In addition to Siri, the phone also has a dictation feature, that allows you to compose emails by voice, instead of typing. Like the Android version, it requires an active data connection, since it happens in the cloud, and like Android, it will get better over time as it learns your particular voice and vocabulary. It will work in English, French and German to start, with more languages coming.
The iPhone 4S will come in both black and white flavors, with the 16GB priced at $199, the 32GB at $299 and the 64GB at $399, with a carrier two-year contract agreement. The price for the 8GB iPhone 3GS will be free on contract, with the 8GB iPhone 4 coming in at $99. Preorders for the iPhone 4S will open on Oct. 7, this Friday, and it will be available on October 14. It will be available in several countries, and for the United States, it will be on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.