Apple unveils iPhone 4S, but no "5" this time
SAN FRANCISCO - For many Apple fans, this may rate as the biggest disappointment since Geraldo came up empty after breaking into Al Capone's vault
Apple on Tuesday introduced the iPhone 4S at one of the most anticipated product announcements in its history - as much for the absence of its legendary co-founder as for the display of its newest piece of gadgetry. The company took the wraps off the latest version of its wildly popular smartphone - more than a year after launching the iPhone 4 - during a press conference at the company's Cupertino, Ca. headquarters. But with Apple's newly-appointed chief executive Tim Cook talking for more than an hour and a half without dropping any bombshell announcements, the blogosphere impatiently waited for him to reach for the same playbook used by Steve Jobs on so many occasions and come up with "one more thing" before packing it in.
In other words, the iPhone 5.
It was not to be.
Meet the iPhone 4S
Instead, Apple introduced an upgraded iPhone 4 called the iPhone 4S powered by the same A5 chip that's used in the iPad 2. It comes with a retina display, glass on the front and a black stainless steel band around. Company vice president Phil Schiller said the big power boost will be especially apparent when playing games on the device.
The iPhone 4S will get eight hours of 3G talk time as well as nine hours of Wi-Fii browsing. Apple said one charge would be good for 10 hours of video. Elsewhere, a new antenna system allows users to switch from one antenna to the other to maximize reception quality while also allowing for the data downloads twice as fast as the current iPhone 4. Best news of all for people who travel abroad with their iPhones: the units will work both on GSM and CDMA networks.
Also, the 4S camera has an 8 megapixel sensor that Apple says is 33% faster at taking photos. It also claims that the update will allow users to print out 8 x 10 photos. The units, which come in black and white versions, list for $199 for a 16 gigabyte version to $299 for 2GB to $399 for the 64GB model.
CNET: iPhone 4S: First take
Apple introduces iPhone 4S
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ZDNet: The 5 killer features on the iPhone 4S
The product announcement was also notable in that there was no Steve Jobs on hand to wow the crowd. Apple's co-founder and nonpareil master of ceremonies during the company's major product releases resigned in August as CEO because of failing health. All eyes were obviously on his replacement, Apple's former chief operating officer, who immediately addressed the elephant in the room.
"I love Apple," Cook said to the audience shortly after walking out on stage. "And I consider it the privilege of a lifetime to have worked here almost 14 years to work in this new role."
- iPhone sales increased 125% during the second calendar quarter
- Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods around the world
- OSX Lion has been downloaded over 6 million times, 80% more than the previous release
- The Mac market grew 23% in the last year
- There are more than 500,000 apps on Apple's App Store with 140,000 designed specifically for the iPad
Given the non-stop hype about the imminent arrival of the iPhone 5, the announcement was bound to be a letdown for some. Check here for a representative Twitter stream of Apple watchers who at times seemed besides themselves as the presentation drew to a close without the expected denouement. Still, the upshot was that the iPhone will be faster by a wide margin and feature an improved camera with speedier mobile web access. It also was outfitted with a better antenna design and longer battery life.
One rumor that did bear fruit: Starting Oct. 14. Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 wireless provider in the U.S., will join AT&T and Verizon Wireless as the carriers authorized to sell the iPhone.
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