Apple announced the launch of iPhone 4S, what the company calls its ‘most amazing iPhone yet’. Apple also announced the launch of iOS5, and iCloud.
The ‘new’ old phone is packed with new features – Apple’s dual-core A5 chip, an all-new camera with advanced optics, 1080p HD resolution video recording, and Siri. Siri is Apple’s voice-activated service, that promises to gets things done when spoken to, and even replies back. More on Siri a bit later.
This was Tim Cook’s first product launch since he became CEO in August; and it looks like it will take a bit before Apple enthusiasts and investors alike can adjust to the absence of the legendary Steve Jobs from the product announcement scene (Jobs was believed to be absent from the launch because of health reasons).
Apple’s stock price took a beating during the day, as users were expecting a new avatar of the iPhone altogether. The price rose in after-hours trading.
Features of the iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S includes an all new camera, with 60 percent more pixels in the 8 megapixel sensors. The iPhone 4S also includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter. iPhone 4S can record video in full 1080p HD resolution.
Apple’s dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, with the iPhone 4S. Battery life—now up to 8 hours of 3G talk time. Improving on the stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S can switch between two antennas to send and receive. iPhone 4S supports twice the download speed with HSDPA of up to 14.4 Mbps. iPhone 4S is a world phone, both CDMA and GSM customers can roam internationally on GSM networks (carrier dependent).
iPhone 4S introduces Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps users get things done just by asking. Siri understands context; allowing users to speak naturally when asking it questions (“Will I need an umbrella this weekend?”) Siri is also smart about using the personal information users allow it to access, for example, if you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mom when I get home,” it can find “Mom” in the address book, and add a reminder. Users can get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking Siri, says Apple.
“Some kinda new interesting cloud stuff,” is how Steve Jobs had introduced the iCloud at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in June this year. It is finally available now, waiting the long eager wait for Apple enthusiasts.
iCloud is a set of free cloud services, including iTunes in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that work with the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store content over the cloud and push it across devices.
iOS5, includes over 200 new features including Notification Center (a way to view and manage notifications in one place) and iMessage, a new messaging service that lets users send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users. iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers.
Pricing and Availability
iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for $199 (16GB model) and $299 (32GB model). The phone will cost $399 for the new 64GB model. iPhone 4 will now be available for $99 and iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two year contract.
iPhone 4S will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The iPhone 4S will be the first iPhones to debut on Sprint.
iOS 5 software will be available on October 12 as a free software update via iTunes 10.5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers.
The phones will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK over the next few days. iPhone 4S will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries by the end of October including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The company did not say when the phones would be available in China or India.
Philip Schiller (Senior vice president, Worldwide Product Marketing, Apple): While our competitors try to imitate iPhone with a checklist of features, only iPhone can deliver these breakthrough innovations that work seamlessly together.