The iPhone 4S is this year’s new Apple smartphone. We may have hoped for an iPhone 5, but the new iPhone 4S is what we get. And it ain’t half bad, even if it ain’t all brand new. Here’s everything we know so far. Keep a track on this page as we’ll be updating it regularly as new details are revealed.
Size and Style:
On the outside at least, the iPhone 4S will be practically identical to the iPhone 4. While we’re still waiting on the exact official measurements, that’d put them more or less at 115.2mm (4.54 in) (h) x
x 58.66 mm (2.309 in) (w) x 9.3 mm (0.37 in) (d). It’d also have the same 3.5 inch Retina display, with a resolution of 640×960. That Retina display is still not to be sniffed at, still far sharper than the majority of smartphones on the market. Weight wise, a fair guess would be very similar to the iPhone 4’s weight of 137 g (4.8 oz).
Perhaps the most significant change for the iPhone 4S is the inclusion of the A5 chip, the same one that currently powers the iPad 2. The Apple-designed chip is said to make the device up to 2x faster than the original iPhone 4, with dual-core graphics capabilities that allow it be up to 7x faster for in-game graphic processing. Apple used Epic Games’ Infinity Blade 2, the sequel to the mega-popular, super pretty iPhone game, to show off the new graphical capabilities of the iPhone 4S. An unsurprising, but welcome addition.
Another decent improvement is the battery life of the iPhone 4S. “Industry leading” as described by Apple, it manages 8 constant talk-time hours over 3G, 14 hours of 2G talk time and 6 hours of 3G browsing.
Signalling and Antennas:
Remember the “Death Grip” problem that plagued the iPhone 4 at launch? That should be a thing of the past with the iPhone 4S. The wireless system has been much improved, now featuring two antennas to both transmit and receive. This should improve call clarity, as well as double download rates. In other words, 14.4Mbps download speeds are now capable, making for top-notch 3G speeds, if not quite a match for 4G. Both GSM and CDMA are onboard, making the iPhone 4S ready for any globe-trotting antics you may have planned.
The iPhone 4’s camera is pretty reliable, and the iPhone 4S looks to up the stakes slightly too. An 8MP camera sensor, taking high-resolution 3264×2448 shots is onboard, managing to push out 60% more pixels than the iPhone 4’s camera sensor. The new sensor also allows for 73% more light per pixel, as well as 33% faster capture speeds, which will be great for snapping up lightning fast events. A Hybrid IR filter means your shots should have far more colour uniformity and accuracy too. 1080p video recording will also feature.
iOS 5 onboard:
Apple’s latest mobile software, iOS 5, will ship with the iPhone 4S.iOS5 means users will no longer need to be tethered to a PC via a wired connection to set up a mobile Apple device, with future device updates delivered over the air. Other new features (many of which were already detailed at WWDC 2011 – click here for our coverage) include deep Twitter integration, a drop-down notifications area and a periodical download app called NewStand for, you guessed it, newspapers and magazines.
A new feature called Reader will also be added. Working much like the Instapaper app, it turns websites into bare-bones text pages for future offline reading.
Siri voice recognition app:
We thought it was going to be called Assistant, but Apple’s voice recognition app will go by the name Siri, after the company Apple bought to help with its development. Though hands-on journalists were told it was still in the beta stages, it still looks a decent feature. Tell Siri to set an alarm and it will. Tell Siri to call a contact and it will. Ask Siri for a definition to a word and it will tell you. Ask Siri for a weather forecast and it will grab one. From searching the web to searching your phone’s stored items, Siri looks capable of doing quite a lot, all controlled just by the power of your voice.
Siri will apparently also learn its user’s preferences and speech quirks over time, making it grow more accurate with more use, but as one witty Twitter user pointed out, that’s also what they said about Furbys.
Pricing and Pre-order details:
The iPhone 4S will be available from October 14th, with pre-orders kicking off from October 7th. Available in black and white, it’ll cost $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB model. Other iPhone models will be re-priced accordingly. The iPhone 4 will now be available in black and white for just $99 with the iPhone 3GS 8GB model absolutely free on contracts. In the US, Sprint will for the first time now also carry the iPhone.
iPhone 4S prices begin in the UK at £499 without a contract for the 16GB model. Though the rest of the range has yet to have its pricing revealed, educated guesses put the 32GB model at £80 more expensive at £579, and £659 for the 64GB whopper.
More news on UK carriers to follow.
So a (sorta) new iPhone then. The iPhone 4S is still the best iPhone Apple have ever built, but is it good enough? No bigger, better screen. No true 4G. Voice tech similar to what’s been available in Android and the Vlingo app for years. And Furbys.
And no iPhone 5.
Google could deliver a knock-out Android blow to Apple if the Nexus Prime does anything remotely exciting.