Cook off to a slow start with iPhone 4S
Tim Cook failed to set pulses racing in his first keynote as Apple CEO, with the unveiling of the lacklustre iPhone 4S.
Cook took the stage at Apple’s headquarters in California to reveal the new device, which is visually identical to the iPhone 4, but with a faster processor, updated camera and speech-recognition system.
No iPhone 5, but what did you expect?
Cook’s keynote and the new hardware didn’t impress the markets, with its stock price down 5% at the time of publication.
The iPhone 4S has a new dual-core A5 chip – the same processor that powers the iPad 2 – and features a dual-core GPU that Cook promised would offer seven-times faster graphics than the previous handset. Battery life should be similar to the iPhone 4, Apple said.
The iPhone 4S also features an updated camera, with an 8-megapixel sensor with 60% more pixels than the last phone, and wider f/2.4 aperture lens with hybrid IR filter for sharper photos. The camera is also faster, ready to take a snap in 1.1 seconds, and ready for the next in half a second.
For video, the iPhone 4S now takes 1080p video and includes image stabilisation.
The handset will include a beta of a voice recognition system called Siri – the name of the voice-search company Apple bought last year – that answers questions, searches Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha, and can read out messages.
Apple claimed the system can not only infer meaning from questions – you can ask if you need to take an umbrella out or what the weather is – but it will learn the more it’s used. During a demo, marketing head Phil Schiller asked Siri who it was, it responded: “I am a humble personal assistant”.
Siri will initially be available in English – US, UK and Australian – as well as German and French.
The iPhone 4S first arrives 14 October in seven countries, including the UK, followed by 22 more countries on 28 October.
The pricing will be the same as the iPhone 4: 16GB at $199, 32GB at $299, 64GB at $399, all on two-year contracts. UK prices have yet to be revealed.
The iPhone 4 will now cost $99, but will only be available in an 8GB version, while the iPhone 3GS will be available free on contract.
Apple will also release iOS 5 as a free update for older iPhones on 12 October.
Apple also updated its iPod touch and iPod nano. The touch will now run iOS 5 and work with Apple’s iCloud. It will be available in black and white starting from $199 for the 8GB model from 12 October.
The iPod nano has been given larger icons and 16 new digital clock faces. It will also include software to track your workouts directly out of the box. It will be available from 12 October, for $129 for the 8GB version and $149 for the 16GB edition.