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After a year of anticipation, Apple has launched its next half-generation iPhone, offering advanced software to make best use of the upgraded hardware power.

 

The All New iPhone Unveiled

Apple today unveiled its new generation phone today, the 4S, with the iPhone 5 nowhere to be seen. It appeared; inadvertently at first, with images of the 4S appearing online and an on-sale date of 14 October appearing on Apple's Japanese website.

Update: Video of the event is now available.

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But, finally, at the Apple campus, Tim Cook and various Apple execs took center stage for the 'Let's Talk iPhone' event to show off the iPhone 4S at pricing that puts Apple's cat firmly among the massed Android mid-range pigeons. Let's cut to the chase, and give you the specs first.

The iPhone 4S offers:

  • CPU: A5 Dual Core - twice as fast as the iPhone 4
  • Graphics: Dual Core - up to 7X faster than the previous model
  • Storage: 16GB at $199, 32GB at $299 and 64GB at $399
  • Screen: Retina Display
  • Camera: 8 megapixels, backside illumination, 1080p video recording

The iPhone 4S was demonstrated running the new Epic game Infinity Blade II which will only run on the 4S. Despite the increased power, Apple is offering improved battery life via a range of features and it will be a world phone offering GSM and CDMA compatibility. It will ship on 14 October in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Australia.

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Software Holds the Key

But its the new software within iOS 5 that really seems to be the selling point, sure you can play better looking, more immersive games, run bigger more powerful apps, but it is what Apple is doing different that may be the big news here. Siri is the new personal assistant feature that offers natural language query handling, dictation and in-app features, and could benefit the massive majority of users and change how people interact with their phones.

iOS 5 will be available for download on 12 October, for iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 2GS, iPhone 4 (with the magic of wireless updating) and, of course, the new iPhone will ship with it preinstalled. The new gaming power should make iPhone 4S a rival for Sony's upcoming PS Vita console - and could be a key factor (along with price) in seeing iPhone 4 users upgrade.

 

 

There were some interesting stats from the event, actually there were hundreds, but a few stuck out. For a start, iPhone 4 sales make up over 50% of the iPhone user base, with a 70% customer satisfaction score, way ahead of HTC on 49%. However, iPad's satisfaction score is 95%.

Also on Show

Additional announcements included Apple launching a make-your-own-greeting card design app and service that will send the printed to your loved ones for $2.99 within the US.

A new app, Find My Friends, can help you track down mates and family in the area, using a map and you can send secure private messages to them (similar to BlackBerry). Naturally, users can opt of this or only be temporarily available, if they don't want to be found.

The iPod line wasn't killed off as some had suggested, but did receive a price reduction down to $129 for an 8GB nano and $149 for a 16GB nano. There was also a new white iPod touch model, with the range now starting at $199 for an 8GB model.