Apple Announce the iPhone 4S – Release Date is October 14

After months of rumours and “leaked” details, Apple [AAPL] has now announced the new iPhone 4S. The release date for the new smartphone is the 14th October with pre-orders opening on the 7th.

The iPhone 4S looks almost identical to the iPhone 4 with just a slight change to the antenna. Apple has emphasised that the big changes can be found in the iPhone 4S rather than the outer looks.

To start off, the iPhone 4S is faster than previous iPhone smartphones. It uses the same processor as found in the iPad 2 (the A5) which is a dual-core chip. Dual-core graphics can also be found inside. The combination of dual-core CPU and graphics allows the graphics to run up to 7 times faster than the iPhone 4. Regular tasks run at about twice the speed.

The new iPhone is faster in terms of data download speeds. Apple has updated the new iPhone to be capable of downloading at a theoretical speed of 14.4Mbps. This is double what the older iPhone 4 could handle. Although I don’t remember Apple specifically mentioning 4G or HSPA+, it puts it in to the range of those “names”. Apple also believe that the iPhone 4S is quicker than other smartphones at downloading data as it also has some extra software enhancements to make things run more efficiently. The 4S is also classed as a World Phone as it connects up to both CDMA and GSM networks allowing CDMA users to roam in a lot more places and GSM users to roam on CDMA networks.

Another of the big upgrades is the expected 8 megapixel camera. This particular camera has a backside illuminated sensor and also has an extra lens to focus the image more clearly. The aperture is f2.4 which also allows more light in than the previous version. The new camera can capture video at 1080p at 30 frames per second. A unique feature also included in the iPhone 4S is a gyro controlled video stability system. When movement is detected by the gyro the software compensates to keep the image still.

Battery life on the 4S is similar to the 4 although standby drops from 300 to 200 hours. On to regular usage you get 9 hours of WiFi browsing, 14 hours of talk time on 2G and 8 hours of 3G talk time. For video and audio playback you get 10 and 40 hours respectively.

The antenna is similar to look at when compared to the iPhone 4 but has also received a big enhancement. Apple uses a dual-antenna configuration and is able to switch between antennas real-time if one antenna stops working correctly. From our understanding it seems like the death-grip is still there but when signal starts to be compromised the iPhone 4S switches to the second antenna to take over the call.

Storage for the 4S has been updated to three versions with the regular 16GB and 32GB. With the new generation device you now get a 64GB option which is most welcomed for the 1080p video camera and higher quality images.

Moving on to the personal Assistant, Apple is including Siri in the iPhone 4S. The system works by you holding the home button for 2 seconds and then telling the iPhone what you want. This could be “Call my wife” or “read the last text message”. You can also use it to set appointments in your calendar, check for clashes of appointments or use it to ask for directions somewhere. Siri is in beta and was only announced for the iPhone 4S. It isn’t clear if iPad 2 users will get the voice assistant when iOS 5 launches next week.

Apple is pricing the iPhone 4S at $199, $299 and $399 on contract for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB respectively. In the UK the unlocked pricing starts at £499. Three and Vodafone have confirmed that they will be selling the iPhone 4S.

Overall it’s a fairly decent update. Some will argue that they wanted more such as a new design and other new features like a larger screen and slimmer device. Apple seems to have matched the iPad 2 specs on the iPhone 4S and also included a few software enhancements. What are your thoughts? Is the iPhone 4S enough to tempt you away from an iPhone 4?

The full announcement can be found over at To see the iPhone 4S part of the presentation skip to about half way along the video. In the video you’ll get a full live demo of Siri as well as a demo of a game and the 7x graphics capabilities of the device.

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