After months of hearsay, rumors, and conjecture, it’s finally official. Apple did not announce a new iPhone 5 this morning. Instead, it followed in the tradition started by the 3GS by revealing the new Apple iPhone 4S to the world. As before, the iPhone 4S is an incremental upgrade to the pre-existing iPhone 4.
Following the live coverage, I learned pretty much everything you need to know about the next generation iPhone 4S. Let’s get the big details out of the way. It’s supposed to be substantially faster than the iPhone 4, thanks to upgrading to the same A5 processor as the iPad 2. Graphics performance is said to be seven times better too.
We also learn that it gets an upgraded 8MP camera with an F2.4 aperature and backside illumination, providing 73% more light and 33% faster capture. That should help with low light shooting. The OS is upgraded to iOS5, of course, and there is a larger 64GB capacity model too. Wireless speeds get bumped to HSPA+ 14.4 too, putting the iPhone 4S on par with other HSPA+ smartphones already out there.
The other major announcement was the introduction of Siri, a voice-based personal assistant that can be used for all sorts of things on your iPhone 4S. It allows you to use natural language to search contacts, define words, add appointments, read out text messages, and so forth. It’s contextual, personal, and works with built-in apps. It’s like Skynet or HAL, but friendlier and not as murderous.
As far as pricing and availability, the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany and Japan get first dibs with pre-orders starting October 7. Launch date is set for October 14. It’ll come in your choice of black or white with the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variants going for $199, $299, and $399 respectively, presumably on contracts. Sprint USA gets it, but not T-Mobile (yet).
As was the case going from the 3G to the 3GS, I imagine that most iPhone 4 users won’t need to upgrade just yet, but if you’ve still got a 3G or a 3GS, moving to the iPhone 4S sounds like a pretty good idea.[Photos courtesy of Engadget and The Verge]