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Cook off to a slow start with iPhone 4S

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 4S photo
  • iPhone 4S Siris
  • iPhone 4S video

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 4 Oct 2011 at 19:44

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.

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.

Siri assistant

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.

iPhone 4S Siris

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.

iPod update

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.

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User comments

8 MegaPixel

Censors - are these to be the new Daily Mail Editors?

By PSilva on 4 Oct 2011

*Paging SwissMac*

Try & spin this one positively. A 5% stock drop on one (non) announcement.

By daveandrews1 on 4 Oct 2011

So this is apple, the dynamic, adventurous and innovative technology giant eh? Nothing like resting on your laurels. I bet the likes of samsung and HTC are laughing over this announcement.

Never mind though, there will be the inevetable queue of iZombies outside the apple stores on launch day to upgrade from their iPhone4 to this, constantly reminding themselves how much of a monumental upgrade it is (ooh look, it has an 'S' on the end, if I dont have it im obsolete compared to my iChums).

And as daveandrews1 said, go ahead SwissMac, enlighten us how this is all good news for your beloved apple.

Peace off!

By windoesnot on 4 Oct 2011

Play nicely children.

By lokash20 on 4 Oct 2011

Well they missed the golden opportunity again to put an FM radio in, which is idea for the avid sports fan & those occasions where you want to listen to the radio rather than your music.

Another sale lost.

By SKINHEAD1967 on 4 Oct 2011

Bah...

... At least I feel no hurry to upgrade my 4. Or even people with a 3GS.

I'm keener to get iOS 5 - quite simply for Reminders (have been wondering when they were going to release something equivalent to Tasks in Outlook which are very useful to me). Bit like when I waited for iOS 3 to come out that supported a landscape keyboard and Cut & Paste...

And yes, an FM radio would be great, although when I had it on my Sony Ericsson W890i, I didn't use it quite as often as I thought I would (quite simply because you get no FM on London Underground - when you're underground that is! :-)

By mrmmm on 4 Oct 2011

Actually Apple Stock usually drops after these events - it did after the iPhone 4 was announced - it's not an unusual occurrence. And most of that drop is probably due to the lack of an iPhone 5 release. And that this event rehashed a lot of stuff that was said at WWDC.

Also interesting is the use of lacklustre to describe a piece of tech that PC Pro hasn't previewed or been hands-on with yet. I'm not sure the iPhone 4S has deserved that tag yet, though it may in time.

I'm actually with mrmmm - the more exciting announcement is iOS 5, which I expect will have more impact on Apple mobile users then the iPhone 4S.

By pbryanw on 4 Oct 2011

What more do you need from a phone!

If it does 1080p video well, graphics much faster and the dual-core improves general responsiveness, how can it be called lacklustre!
Yes, it lacks the "must have" factor but, like windows 7, it will sell in healthy numbers just because the brand is established.

By milliganp on 4 Oct 2011

One year & this is it?

After some amazing rumours like a bigger screen, gesture controlled home button. What we got was the same old item with some internal upgrades. They even kept the ancient 3GS phone as the cheapo model. What a let down.

By luckyse7en on 4 Oct 2011

I'm not familiar with US>£ rates for Apple products, but assuming $1=£1 in Apple-land, do the expected prices seem to be coming down per GB quite heavily? £200 for a 16GB handset is in Wildfire territory, but is obviously a much more capable phone? I'm obviously missing something here.

By Nodule on 4 Oct 2011

Nodule

The prices quoted are all on two-year contracts, not the price to buy the handsets outright contract-free.

By paulgspence on 5 Oct 2011

Underwhelming

How disappointing - 8 meg camera, dual core processor already used in the ipad and little else - soooo last year.
Apple will need some more lawsuits to beat off the competition - this isn't going to do it.

By barrada on 5 Oct 2011

"how can it be called lacklustre"

Well the iPhone 4S has now (just about) caught up with the basic standard for a high end Android phone (8 meg camera, dual core processor).

These are useful improvements to be sure and necessary if the iPhone isn't to start looking a bit last generation.

The Samsung Galaxy SII (assuming Apple's lawyers will let you buy one) is still well ahead on specs, not least its 4.3" Super Amoled screen. And there are even better models from Samsung and HTC due very soon.

Apple have just about managed to catch up with the tail end of the smartphone pack today. The iPhone 4S certainly doesn't "change everything".

VERDICT: C-. Could do better.

By Lacrobat on 5 Oct 2011

Poor show

For those fandroids and Microsofties who always hate anything rom Apple they may be surprised to learn that it is possible to have mixed opinions about branded goods, as they can read in my blog entry from last year's launch of the iPhone 4. My opinion hasn't changed:
http://fifthdecade.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/why-i-
dont-love-the-iphone-4/

By SwissMac on 5 Oct 2011

Phew

Having abandoned iPhone for Android, I'm glad I didn't miss anything big!

@SKINHEAD - in the US, there are apps for all major sports, streamed, which is better than the poor radio coverage over there. There are also dozens of streaming services. FM radio doesn't use TCP/IP, so it isn't cool and hip, so has no place on the Fondleslab mini.

By big_D on 5 Oct 2011

Underwhelmed

I've had a 3GS for nearly 2 years now & have been very impressed with it, but other than the improved display, I've never really taken to the 4's design. This "upgrade" hasn't really changed my opinion. Time to look elsewhere...

By bronven on 5 Oct 2011

Well SM

I actually use a MacBook Air, an iPad2 and a rather fast Hackintosh (benchmarks up there with Mac Pros, but at a third of the cost). So hardly a "fandroid or microsoftie."

I dismissed the iPhone long since, firstly the 3g wasn't quad-band on HSDPA, I don't like to be locked into an approved eco-system, couldn't legitimately get the SlingPlayer app, no turn by turn google navigation, no text to speech, no USB OTG, no voice searching, I could go on...

But the real killer was no WiFi hotspot capability at first and then when it was finally released crippled by a 90sec timeout which screws with using my Eye-Fi cards.

By daveandrews1 on 5 Oct 2011

Well I'm the odd one out..
I'm a mango wp7 user hurrah except my other phone, the Samsung Omnia 7 doesn't yet have the mango update and for the foreseeable future won't have it. Mango was going to bring turn by turn navigation but the voice doesn't work in the UK. Brilliant.
Maybe someone can explain to me why Apple can release an update for a number of devices; iphone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad, iPad 2, iPod touch; all on one day.
Microsoft's rollout takes weeks and perhaps months.

Where is all the advertising? They got there first on a few features but nobody will know about them because Apple have advertised first as always.
Where the hell is Nokia? Why is it taking so long to produce a phone when HTC and Samsung manage it on top of their Android onslaught?
The whole thing annoys the hell out of me

Ok so the annnouncement wasn't that amazing for Apple but they are so much more organised and polished than Microsoft and Google.

By TimoGunt on 5 Oct 2011

@TimoGunt

Because Apple make the hardware and they won't tailor their hardware to individual carriers (wireless technology aside).

Microsoft don't make any hardware, so they have to give the finished WP7.5 release to the individual hardware manufacturers, who need to update their hardware drivers and other tailoring to the individual devices.

Then, unless you have an unbranded version of the phone, you have to wait for the carrier to test the various versions of the update they receive (1 for each device) and add their tailoring, like ballsing up the standard Bing search by replacing it with the T-Mobile portal page...

I'm waiting for the Mango update on my Mozart. In the meantime, I'm using a my new Sensation as a private phone, the iPhone has been retired.

By big_D on 5 Oct 2011

@TimoGunt

There is a way to "trick" Zune into installing the official update for your Omnia 7 (no bootleg ROMs required), although I'm not sure if you need to be running the unbranded version. This isn't the place to describe how it's done but a quick search should get you there.

By IanGawlerCollins on 5 Oct 2011

Time to stick with my 3GS

Yes, the iPhone 4S would be a bit of a hardware upgrade, but since I'll get 99% of the features with iOS 5, I needn't worry.
I can live without the "shout at my phone in public" feature.
It's what they didn't say and didn't do that let them down. Since the phone is a refresh, not a replacement why not lower the base model price?
The CPU is "up to 2x faster" - like "up to 10Mb broadband"?
The battery is "like" the iPhone 4. Better or worse?
Graphics 7x faster would be great - on an iPod, where you would expect to play games (as they said - top portable gaming device) - but I use my iPhone as, well, a phone.
It seems all Apple have done in the 16 months since the iPhone 4 launch is play "hardware catch up" with other handset makers, in between patent lawsuits.
So why all the hype and secrecy? People would have been more enthusiastic about an iPhone 4 refresh if Apple hadn't perpetuated the iPhone 5 myth. And yes - they did, all they had to do was issue a "coming soon iPhone 4S" press release months ago and that would have been that. Instead it's all "shhh! wait and see!" and then there's nothing to see. PR own goal.

By cheysuli on 5 Oct 2011

Well, its tempting to say that now Jobs has gone, this is the result (no innovation, no spark), but I guess Jobs would still have been at Apple while the 4s was being "developed". So maybe we should read this as just a transition. And maybe this is why Apple are now embarking on litigation as their weapon of choice, perhaps they know they have no innovation without Jobs. Still a shame to see such a lacklustre release, expecially compared to the Amazon Kindle/Touch/Fire release last week. I think Apple have lost their "game changer" status.

By ianreid99 on 5 Oct 2011

Harsh in my opinion

The 4S looks like a 4, but from what I have read, internally and with the camera and antenna it is almost entirely replaced.

This years big thing is the siri introduction.

Granted, this launch lacked the 'wow' of certain others, but is it reasonable to expect this every time? The 4S remains a big step up for people who need that extra power.

By Dannyt on 5 Oct 2011

@TimoGunt

My Omnia 7 updated to Mango yesterday (UK/Orange). As previously stated you can force it through Zune. Take a look at bit.ly/o7r1Pl

And it's brilliant! Speech to text is much better than expected and switching SMS/FB/IM in the same thread is just genius.

While the Omnia 7 is brilliant I'm hanging out for Nokia hardware.

As for Apple 4S, this give WP7 a chance to surpass the hardware this year as 'droid has already done.

By onegin101 on 5 Oct 2011

Siri

What's people opinion on this. Other than in a car and possibly for people with disability, when is anyone going to use it?

I already laugh at people walking about the supermarket with a Bluetooth headset on, if they then start having a conversation with their phone (not another person) I'll be rolling about the veggie isle.

Isn't it also interesting that after denying there was a problem with the 4's aerial, they've changed it....

By bronven on 5 Oct 2011

@bronven

As you point out it may be useful for the disabled but it's reliance on a data connection would be the second thing to rule it out for me.

The first would be the embarrassment of inflicting the details of my relatively mundane life on passers-by.

By Tomble2 on 5 Oct 2011

Tick Tock

It appears that Apple are following Intel's (successful) tick-tock strategy. One year gets a major hardware refresh (iphone 3G, iPhone 4) and the next year gets a minor refresh updating the processor and camera but not much else.

By sprainedmind on 5 Oct 2011

CDMA & GSM

Ah, I knew I forgot something in my original post...

What intrigues me is the "dual system" of having CDMA in the phone as well as GSM - very interesting (and potentially practical idea), but (again?) Apple have missed a trick by only allowing CDMA customers to roam on GSM networks, but not the other way round (why?! - a lot of the States & Asia use those networks so it would be very useful for those of us from Europe who travel there).

Shame as that would have been a big plus for corporate users.

I'd also be interested to see if they release the fabled 5 as well anytime soon (in the next few months), or whether that will be 2012's main iPhone release.

Either way, I still await iOS 5 eagerly...

By mrmmm on 5 Oct 2011

@daveandrews1

Would it be possible to know what your Hackintosh spec is? I'm just about to upgrade my PC and I'm considering either buying a Mac, or I may just upgrade the internals of my trusty 6-year old PC...

If I pick the latter option, then it would make sense for me to pick components that are OS/X friendly should I ever decide to make the switch.

PCPro - I know this could potentially annoy Apple, but how about an article on how to build a Hackintosh (not so much the hardware, but the steps you need to do to make the hardware/drivers work), or is that just being naughty? :-)

By mrmmm on 5 Oct 2011

I've had a 3GS for nearly 2 years now & have been very impressed with it, but other than the improved display, I've never really taken to the 4's design. This "upgrade" hasn't really changed my opinion. Time to look elsewhere...

Absolutely of the same circumstance/opinion myself bronven.

i'll be ordering my Galaxy S II within the fortnight I think. Have been due an upgrade since January and was waiting to see what the 'iPhone 5/4GS' would be like.

By deejerox on 5 Oct 2011

Galaxy SII

Another hands up for the Samsung phone. It's a belter. And in the car I use the voice recognition on it all the time... Although you should see what it spouts out if you say "Text TimoGunt".....

By CraigieDD on 5 Oct 2011

@cheysuli

If you buy an iPhone (or any other smartphone) to "use as a phone" you are wasting a lot of money and failing to optimise your battery life! Probably we ought to re-brand these devices as "pocket tablets".

By JohnAHind on 5 Oct 2011

@onegin101

Perhaps I should have said T-Mobile's Samsung. They have not finished testing and no amount of messing can get the download. I was using the mango build on my HD7 way back in August so I'm well aware of the speech functionality and how little I actually use it. After a couple of weeks I couldn't really name the new features in Mango. Don't get me started on the map thing!
As for your hardware comment, you should know that it doesn't matter being a WP7 person. There is no slowdown in the OS even though it's running on single core. The iPhone is the same so now it has a dual core and dual graphics it is set up for a couple of years. The most important thing is the software. I like WP7 but the apps come out for iPhone, not WP7. Still we don't have the Amazon shopping app. It was released in the states a year ago.
My biggest beef though is with Microsoft and how useless they are at everything recently. I thought they had turned a corner with this phone but it took forever for the update to get released, still no Nokia and very soon the iPhone 4S adverts will drown out the new windows phones with pretty average hardware compared to all the Android and Apple phones

By TimoGunt on 5 Oct 2011

Why change what ain't broke?

With this and other announcements Apple have shown they have learnt from Palm's mistakes. After the spectacular success with the Palm V & Vx, Palm abandoned this slim, long-battery-life formula for a brick-like, power-draining colour model that was the beginning of the end for Palm. I'm glad Apple have ignored the toy boys demands for a huge screen and 4G, which would come at too great a cost in terms of battery life and size. Apple have improved a winning life-tool formula and avoided the temptation to satisfy the whims of the self-proclaimed technoligensia. An all-singing, all-dancing smart-phone ain't much good when the battery dies, or when you don't want to lug it around with you.
Keep making useful stuff Apple.

By brendan on 5 Oct 2011

@ mrmmm

Go SandyBridge...

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/09/building-sa
ndy-bridge-customac-customac.html

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/06/building-sa
ndy-bridge-customac.html

is a great one-stop-shop for eveything you need, including how to do it

By daveandrews1 on 6 Oct 2011

BTW, a quick rule-of-thumb to make it easier

Gigabyte m/b, Intel processor and no more than 4gb or RAM (while doing the install, you can up it afterwards *strokes 32gb*)

And get a recommended SandyBridge board & the right i3/i5/i7 and you get decent HD 3000 graphics + audio over HDMI with no messing.

By daveandrews1 on 6 Oct 2011

@ mrmmm

Go SandyBridge...

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/09/building-sa
ndy-bridge-customac-customac.html

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/06/building-sa
ndy-bridge-customac.html

is a great one-stop-shop for eveything you need, including how to do it

By daveandrews1 on 6 Oct 2011

Its the money, stupid

Apple are still selling millions of standard iPhone 4s.

The iPhone 4S allows them to rationalise a lot of their component purchasing by using the same bits (CPUs etc) in more of their products.
There has been very little iPhone-specific R&D (the 'upgrades' are common to other products).
There has been little or no extra tooling for the 'new' 'phone.
Apple will sell tens of millions of the iPhone 4S.
Apple will make a LOT of money, for very little investment.
Apple now has another 6-12 months to start the Reality Distortion Field working on the iPhone 5, whilst selling the 4S by the container load.....

By wittgenfrog on 6 Oct 2011

No back ups in RL

Looking forward to ideath2 exactly one year today, assuming Steve Jobs can gloss over bugs in the first iteration.

By dodge1963 on 6 Oct 2011

A joke too far

While the slightly overdone tearing of hair and wailing of sorrow in some quarters has tempted me to make such a throwaway remark this is just a tad too far dodge.

By irturner on 6 Oct 2011

buy iPhone 4 for $99

where can I get a 4 for $99 please

By peter_lawton on 6 Oct 2011

buy iPhone 4 for $99

where can I get a 4 for $99 please

By peter_lawton on 6 Oct 2011

YOU KNEW IT WAS COMING

Lets face it guys. It was pretty obvious it was gonna be a 4S...like the 3GS...Anyway, how can they improve it more. If it's any thinner it will be like paper. Also the 4S, is much better than the iPhone 4. It's a must get

By do_you_get on 6 Oct 2011

@daveandrews1

You're a star! :^D Thank you VERY much! That's very helpful indeed!! :^)

*scampers off to check out h/w specs and tries to resist drooling at the prospect of a Mac on steroids*

I tried an install of OS/X on my current setup (AMD Phenom 9950, 4Gb RAM, ATi 4670 and it fell over in a mess... Think it's the GFX card which needs sorting, but overall methinks it's time for a new mobo, processor, etc - especially as the former's about 6 years old!).

Hurrah!!

By mrmmm on 6 Oct 2011

Stay away from AMD & ATi

it makes life much easier, I'm on my third iteration of an intel/gigabyte hackint0sh and they've all been rock-solid and bloody quick.

By daveandrews1 on 7 Oct 2011

Slow start? Lacklustre?

Apple takes pre-orders for a million iPhones in the first 24hrs:-

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/10/10iPhone-4
S-Pre-Orders-Top-One-Million-in-First-24-Hours.htm
l

If selling 694 phones per minute for the first 24 hrs is a 'slow start' with a 'lacklustre' phone, then imagine how they'll do when they get themselves up to speed?

By petermillard1 on 10 Oct 2011

A million in 24hrs? Quite a lot, but...

iPhone sales ran at 14 million in the last quarter, impressive yes?

Android in the same period? 27 million - not bad for the new kid on the block?

By daveandrews1 on 11 Oct 2011

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