A Visual Tour of What's New
Apple's iPhone 4S looks exactly like the iPhone 4 on the outside, but that doesn't mean there's nothing new to see in the latest from Cupertino. Here's a visual tour of all the news from Apple's 2011 iPhone event.
iPhone 4S Design
The iPhone 4S is a cosmetic duplicate to the iPhone 4, which isn't a bad thing if you loved last year's design. It has glass panels on the front and back, with aluminum wrapped around all sides. Its dimensions are 4.5 by 2.31 by 0.37 inches, and it weighs 4.9 ounces. The 3.5-inch "Retina" display has a resolution of 960 pixels by 640 pixels.
Apple's A5 chip, which debuted in the iPad 2, consists of a 1GHz dual-core processor. According to Apple, the A5 chip is seven times faster than the iPhone 4's single-core A4 chip. Thanks to the new processor and iOS 5, Apple says, the iPhone 4S supports 8 hours of talk time, compared to the iPhone 4's 7 hours .
8-Megapixel Camera With 1080p Video
The iPhone 4S camera has an 8-megapixel sensor for capturing images at 3624-by-2448-pixel resolution. Apple says that the new camera is faster than the iPhone 4 camera, too, capturing a first photo in 1.1 seconds and snapping subsequent photos in 0.5 second each. It also includes a face-detection capability. On the video side, the company says that the iPhone 4S can capture 1080p videos with image stabilization and noise reduction. Of course, there's also a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat, but that's old news.
New Antenna Tech
The iPhone 4S builds support for GSM and CDMA networks into the same chip, allowing users to roam on GSM networks around the world, regardless of the U.S. network they subscribe to. On AT&T, the phone will have HSPA+ data speeds of 14.4 mbps. The iPhone 4S can switch intelligently between two antennas to improve call quality.
Intro to Siri Voice Recognition Technology
The iPhone 4S isn't just about new hardware. It also includes Siri, a voice-activated virtual assistant. Siri responds to spoken queries by serving up information from the iPhone's built-in apps, and it can read incoming messages in a computerized female voice. Users can also dictate text messages and email messages to Siri.
Apple claims that Siri responds to natural phrases, such as "I'm in the mood for Italian food in North Beach." Though Android and Windows Phones offer voice commands, too, they respond only to rigid instructions. If Apple's system works in practice, it'll be far more impressive than the competition's.
Apple is including an oddball Cards app with iOS 5, enabling users to create custom greeting cards from their iOS devices. For $3, Apple will print one, slap Apple-themed postage on it, mail it to any address in the United States, and send the user a push notification when the card is delivered. Cards delivered to international destinations cost $5 each.
Cheaper iPod Touch
The latest iPod Touch won't differ much from its predecessor, except that it will be available in white and will have a reduced starting price of $199. (Apple offered the 2009 iPod Touch for $199, but it raised the price of last year's model to $229.) The new iPod Touch will also include iOS 5 and support for iCloud out of the box; third- and fourth-generation models will receive a free update.
iPod Nano Improvements
The 8GB iPod Nano will see a price drop from $149 to $129. New features include an improved personal trainer app with built-in movement tracking, clock faces for users who want to wear the Nano as a wristwatch, and larger icons.
iPhones New and Old
The iPhone 4S will be available on October 14, with preordering available starting on October 7. The phone will cost $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB with two-year carrier agreements, and for the first time a 64GB model will be available for $399--again with with a two-year service contract. Other Apple offers with two-year carrier agreements are an 8GB iPhone 4 for $99 and an iPhone 3GS for free.