On the back is also a new camera that sports an 8-megapixel camera with a backside illuminated CMOS sensor for better low-light performance. The lens now comes packed in a new 5-element assembly with a hybrid IR filter and sports apertures down to f/2.4. The improved visuals extend to video performance as well. The 4S can record 1080p video and has a new image signal processor for image stabilization and facial recognition, making the handset's camera comparable to many point-and-shoots. The camera is also quite a bit faster than many other smartphone shooters, needing only 1.1 seconds before being ready to take the first shot and only half a second between successive images.
The 4S is also the first Apple handset to come packing Siri virtual assistant tech baked in. Just tap the mic on the keyboard (just like on Android!) and start talking to enter text, check the weather, get directions or perform web searches.
As far as battery life, you're looking at eight hours of talk over 3G, and 14 hours of 2G, while web browsing over 3G cuts off at six hours. Using WiFi you'll get a respectable nine hours of web, video playback tops out at 10 hours and music at 40 hours. The 4S will come in both black and white, starting at $199 for 16GB and $299 for the 32GB, but the big news is a new 64GB model coming in at a whopping $399. You'll be able to pre-order this friday, October 7th, and it'll start shipping on October 14th in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany, and Japan. Oh, and Apple is welcoming Sprint to the family here in the States, while Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Three will all be carrying it in the UK.
Update: While you can snatch up an unlocked iPhone without a contract you'll be limited to GSM carriers. The unlocked version will not work on CDMA networks like those operated by Sprint and Verizon.
Apple Launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5 & iCloud
iPhone 4S Features Dual-Core A5 Chip, All New Camera, Full 1080p HD Video Recording & Introduces Siri
CUPERTINO, California-October 4, 2011-Apple® today announced iPhone® 4S, the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple's dual-core A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri™, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. With the launch of iPhone 4S also comes the launch of iOS 5, the world's most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features; and iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices.
"iPhone 4S plus iOS 5 plus iCloud is a breakthrough combination that makes the iPhone 4S the best iPhone ever," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "While our competitors try to imitate iPhone with a checklist of features, only iPhone can deliver these breakthrough innovations that work seamlessly together."
iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world's most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 200 new features including Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption and iMessage™, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users. iOS 5 will also be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers allowing them to experience these amazing new features.*
iPhone 4S also introduces Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Siri understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, for example, if you ask "Will I need an umbrella this weekend?" it understands you are looking for a weather forecast. Siri is also smart about using the personal information you allow it to access, for example, if you tell Siri "Remind me to call Mom when I get home" it can find "Mom" in your address book, or ask Siri "What's the traffic like around here?" and it can figure out where "here" is based on your current location. Siri helps you make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and more. You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking.
iCloud is a breakthrough set of free cloud services, including iTunes® in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that work seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. When content changes on one device, all your other devices are updated automatically and wirelessly.
iPhone 4S includes an all new camera with the most advanced optics of any phone. The 8 megapixel sensor has 60 percent more pixels so you can take amazing high quality photos with more detail than ever. iPhone 4S includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter that produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images. The Apple-designed image signal processor in the A5 dual-core chip is built for performance, and coupled with the features built into iOS 5, makes the camera one of the fastest on any phone. With iPhone 4S, the Camera app launches much faster and the shot to shot capability is twice as fast, so you'll never miss another shot.
New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject; and the new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go. New iOS 5 features include built-in Twitter integration and iMessage, so you can instantly share your photos via Twitter directly from the Photos app and send photos via iMessage to individuals or groups. And with iCloud's innovative new Photo Stream service, a photo you take on your iPhone is sent to iCloud and automatically pushed to your iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. You can even view your Photo Stream album on your Apple TV®.
iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and with the new video image stabilization feature, you can take richer, smoother videos. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions. With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, you can now instantly share videos with family and friends.
iPhone 4S has the same beautifully thin glass and stainless steel design that millions of customers around the world love, while being completely redesigned on the inside. Apple's dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, all while maintaining incredible battery life-now up to 8 hours of 3G talk time.
Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive. iPhone 4S now supports twice the download speed with HSDPA of up to 14.4 Mbps and iPhone 4S is a world phone, so both CDMA and GSM customers can now roam internationally on GSM networks.**
Pricing & Availability
iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the new 64GB model.*** 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. iPhone 4S will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on Friday, October 14 and customers can pre-order their iPhone 4S beginning Friday, October 7. iPhone 4 will also be available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two year contract. Siri will be available in beta on iPhone 4S in English (localized for US, UK and Australia), French and German. 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.
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.
*Some features may not be available on all products.
**Carrier roaming policies apply. HSDPA availability and network speeds are dependent on carrier networks.
***Qualified customers only. Requires a new two year rate plan, sold separately.