Apple held a press event today where several announcements were made, including the debut of the successor to the iPhone 4, dubbed the iPhone 4S, a release date for iOS 5 and a demonstration of the new voice-centric Siri Assistant feature that will be part of iOS 5.
Apple announced that the iPhone 4S will be available in both black and white versions starting October 14 in the U.S. and a handful of other countries. Pre-orders will begin on October 7. It will cost $199 for the16GB model, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB with a 2-year contract. In the U.S., Sprint will get the iPhone 4S, along with existing carriers AT&T and Verizon.
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.”
The iPhone 4S will be available in 22 more countries on October 28 and in 70 countries by the end of 2012.
The device’s design is the same as the current iPhone 4 but it features upgraded internals, including Apple’s dual-core A5 processor, an 8 megapixel camera that will be able to capture 1080p HD video, and a redesigned antenna. The iPhone 4S will also be a world phone with both CDMA and GSM cellular radios, eliminating the need for a separate iPhone model for Verizon and other CDMA networks.
iOS 5 will be released on October 12. It will be a free update and will be compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad and iPad 2, and the 3rd and 4th-generation iPod touches.
A rather lengthy demo of a new feature that was not previewed at WWDC in June, Siri Assistant, was also shown at the event today. Assistant is a voice-centric feature that will be able to handle a wide variety of tasks, such as reading and dictating text messages, setting appointments and reminders, completing internet searches and more. Assistant is in beta right now and will work with English, French and German to start with additional languages supported in the future.
The integration of Siri into iOS 5 is not entirely surprising following Apple’s acquisition of the company in early 2010 though it had been excluded from builds of iOS 5 available to date.
The iPod touch saw only a minor update today, getting a new color (white) and lower pricing.