The iPhone 4S was officially announced during an Apple press conference Tuesday, confirming rumors that were circulating around the Web for several weeks.
The new iPhone has the same A5 chip found in the iPad 2, making it twice as fast as the iPhone 4, as well as the same dual graphics cards as the iPad 2, making it seven times faster. He noted this will come in handy for game developers, and to nail this down, he invited Mike Capps from Epic games to the stage to give a demo of Infinity Blade 2, showing off some great graphics with real-time dynamic light, according to live updates through AppleInsider.
Preorders for the iPhone 4S start Friday, and it will launch Oct. 14. Pricing is 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. An 8GB model will also be available for $99, with a contact.
It will be available in the U.S. through AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. They have more than 100 carrier partners in all, globally.
Users now get 14 hours of browsing time on 2G, and 6 hours on 3G. The stainless steel band around the phone now has two antennas that it can switch between to keep good reception. Apple also claims it will get 4G speeds—about 14.4Mps downloads. It’s ability to work between both GSM and CDMA networks makes it usable globally (does this also open it to exploits in both GSM and CDMA?) The phone has 3G and WiFi.
The camera has also been improved, moving it up to an 8MP sensor (up from 5MP for the iPhone 4). A new 5-element lens gives it a half-sefond delay between shots, and a new Hybrid IR filter gives better color. The iPhone 4S can also record in 1080p HD video.
There is a new speech recognition and text-to-speech feature called “Siri.” If a user has their phone in their pocket and a headset, they can press a button and Siri will read their text messages to them. Users can also dictate reminders for themselves through Siri.
For the product announcement, Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook made his first big appearance in his new position, which he took after Steve Jobs stepped down in August.
He also talked about a new app, “Cards,” that lets users create a card on their iPad. The app will be free to download Oct. 12, and cards go for $2.99 to mail domestically, or $4.99 to mail anywhere else in the world.
There is also a new Find my Friends app that lets you see the location of your friends or family on a map, if they choose to allow the feature. A bit scary when you think about privacy, but also cool in its own way.
Apple also dropped the price of the iPod Nano, bring the 8GB model to $129 and the 16GB to $149 (formerly $149 and $179). This is in addition to a new clock face and a pedometer.
The speech dragged on for a while before the announcement came—covering all Apple’s successes, major products, and features.
Cook started the press conference showing off two new Apple retail stores opened in China (although he didn’t mention the fake ones Apple recently closed down, or the ones Chinese officials refused to close.)
He then went on touting about Lion OS, quoting WSJ as it being the “best operating system out there”—a statement I’d agree with if it weren’t so packed full of bugs. This was followed with him noting the MacBook Pro and iMac are the top selling notebooks and desktops in the U.S., and Mac users have grown to nearly 60 million around the world.
After talking about Apple’s 23 percent market share in August, he then switched to a screen of an iPod, noted its 300 million sales since 2001. This moved into the progress of iTunes (now with more than 20 million songs), then to more about the iPhone. This then moved to the iPad—particularly its adoption by schools, hospitals, and businesses. He boasted that 3 our of 4 tablets sold in the U.S. are tablets, despite all the Android competitors (although this could soon change with the Kindly Fire, since it’s launch is already looking better than that of the first iPad.)
He then went on about different apps, then the new iOS 5 (available Oct. 12) and some of its different features.
iCloud was next. The free, cloud-based service will let users share files, including music, videos, and photos, between any compatible devices (desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch). Looks cool, although it’s pity for Adobe, which just released Carousel, a similar service for sharing photos.
NOTE: The press conference is still taking place. Check here for updates as it progresses.