iPhone 4S Has Higher Specs, iOS 5, iCloud And Siri

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Apple’s new phone has a fast A5 processor, 8Mp camera with HD video, iCloud and Siri assistant

Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, a major upgrade over its previous iPhone 4 model that includes the ability to run on both GSM and CDMA networks, a faster, dual-core processor, an 8 megapixel camera and a software program that acts as a virtual assistant.

The iPhone 4S also marks the first time Sprint will be selling the iPhone in the US, joining AT&T and Verizon Wireless as the three US carriers to sell the hallowed handset. This implies that Apple may be looking for a wide range of carriers for the products throughout the rest of the world.

Available for pre-order from Apple.com, Apple retail partners, and carriers from 7 October, the iPhone 4S will be available 14 October in the UK, France, Germany,US, Canada, Australia, and Japan. In the UK, the phone will cost from £499, the same as the original price of the iPhone 4 which it replaces, but this will be affected by contract deal bundles because in the US, with a two-year carrier contract, the price is much less at $199 (£130) for 16GB of storage, $299 (£195) for 32GB and $399 (£260) for the 64GB model.

Vodafone, 3 Network and Orange already have UK sales news update services advertised but no pricing.

No iPhone 5 Despite Rumours

Apple CEO Tim Cook and his cadre of executives unveiled the smartphone, along with refreshed iPod touch devices, at an event held at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters. The event was widely expected to include an iPhone 5, but Apple made no mention of the new flagship at any point in the presentation, which ended shy of two hours.

The iPhone 4S even boasted the same design as the iPhone 4, launched some 15 months ago, as Apple noted: “iPhone 4S has the same beautifully thin glass and stainless steel design that millions of customers around the world love, while being completely redesigned on the inside”.

Offering no apologies for the glaring absence of the long-rumoured iPhone 5, Cook and his team touted how the phone is powered by Samsung’s A5 chip, which also fuels Apple’s popular iPad 2 tablet computer, and promises to deliver as much as twice the processing power and seven times faster graphics than the iPhone 4.

The phone’s camera has also been augmented, trading the former 5 megapixel lens for an 8 megapixel shutter, which includes 1080p HD resolution video recording. The iPhone 4S camera app also has the ability to shoot pictures twice as fast.

As for software, Cook and company showed off some of the more than 200 new features in iOS 5, the company’s latest mobile operating system refresh.

These perks includeNotificationCenter, which helps users view and manage notifications from one screen and iMessage, which lets users send text messages, photos and videos to any iOS 5 users. iOS 5, which also boasts major Twitter integration, will be available on 12 October as a free software update via iTunes 10.5 for customers who own an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

iCloud Is A Major Component

iCloud is also a huge part of the iPhone 4S’ appeal, allowing users to access their music, photos, apps, contacts, calendars, documents via the Web and sync them across their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC.

Users may wirelessly store their content in iCloud, and when content changes on the user’s iPhone 4S, the changes will be reflected on each of his or her Apple iPads, iPod touches or Mac and PC computers.

For example, a consumer can buy a song from iTunes from their iPad and find it waiting for them on their iPhone 4S later. iCloud will be available 12 October as a free download to iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users running iOS 5 or a Mac running OS X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for mail, document, storage and backup.

From a strategic standpoint, iCloud is certainly a big deal because it is expected to help Apple sufficiently answer smartphones and tablets built on Google’s Android operating system.

The highlight of the day was not iCloud, which will launch 12 October. It was Siri, a virtual personal assistant that lets users speak into their handset’s microphone to direct the device to retrieve information, or perform other task. Like Google’s Voice Actions software, Siri helps users make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, search the Web and find local businesses.

Siri – The Killer App

Siri goes several steps further, relying on human-oriented intelligence to retrieve answers. For example, users may ask Siri what the weather is like somewhere, or more specifically, whether they will require an umbrella that day.

The application has the opportunity to be the first true mainstream artificial intelligence application the world has ever seen. Or it might not be used much at all. It is tough to tell, until Apple launches the handset in less than two weeks.

Shares of Apple fell 19.25 to $356.14 (£230.81) on the lack of an iPhone 5, but rebounded to $372.50 (£241.41) in after-hours trading.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster added that despite no iPhone 5 unveiling, the iPhone 4S will meet or exceed unit expectations, as it represents the first iPhone launch at two major US carriers (Verizon and Sprint). He expects Apple to sell 25 million iPhones for the December quarter and 11 million for all of 2012.

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