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Apple introduces iPhone 4S

Apple VP Phil Schiller Associated Press

Apple today unveiled the iPhone 4S, which features a modest upgrade over the iPhone 4.

It's more of an incremental upgrade to the previous iPhone 4, sharing the same size and design. It features a faster dual-core A5 processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, and the ability to handle more complex and sophisticated gaming, with a seven-fold increase in graphics speed.

(CNET's live blog of the Apple event)

Apple said the phone has 8 hours of talk time over 3G, 6 hours of browsing over 3G, 9 hours of browsing over Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video, and 40 hours of music.

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.

The iPhone 4S also has a redesigned antenna system, which switches between two antennas to transmit and receive for improved call quality and a higher connection speed. Apple marketing executive Phil Schiller said that he wouldn't get into the 4G name game, but said it would feature download speeds of 14.4 megabits per second, and upload speeds of 5.8 megabits a second.

The iPhone 4S will also act as a global phone, with the ability to ride on both the CDMA networks, popular in the U.S., and the GSM networks elsewhere in the world. Verizon executives previously said they had expected the phone to be a global device.

The device also has a 8-megapixel camera and a new system that Schiller said would be comparable to a point-and-shoot camera. The camera will be able to capture 73 percent more light, work 33 percent faster, and feature a hybrid infrared filter, which Schiller said is "the kind of stuff you talk about with high-end DLSRs."

The iPhone has quickly become Apple's flagship product and largest source of revenue, with 125 percent year-over-year growth.The product comes out at a critical point for the company, as it is slowly ceding its dominance to Google's Android platform. While the iPhone remains the single top-selling phone, many comparable Android phones have sprung up.

The new iPhone, however, is expected to reinvigorate sales. Prior to the launch, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said the iPhone 5 will "shatter" the sales record held by the iPhone 4 launch last year. Yesterday, Janney Capital Markets analyst Bill Choi said in a note that shipments for next year could reach as high as 107 million units.

More to come.

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