Apple today officially announced the iPhone 4S, the fifth iteration of its trend-setting handset. As expected, the iPhone 4S retains the external design of the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4, save for the microSIM slot which is now found on the side opposite the volume buttons. The handset offers dual-mode CDMA + GSM compatibility, and uses a unique antenna system that lets it intelligently switch between two antennas to transmit and receive for improved call quality and faster data speeds—up to 14.4Mbps down. Another standout feature of the phone is the built-in Siri intelligent assistant, which “helps [users] get things done just by asking.” By holding down the Home button, users will be able to ask Siri questions and tell it to complete tasks without needing to manually enter any information. Examples include asking for weather information, directions, setting calendar appointments, composing and replying to text messages, setting reminders, and retrieving information, such as stock quotes or a list of nearby restaurants. The same technology also powers a new dictation feature, which is built into the standard keyboard.
Other new improvements include an all-new eight-megapixel, backlit sensor camera with 33 percent faster capture times, a hybrid IR filter, a five element, f/2.4 lens, and an Apple-designed Image Signal Processor for features like face detection and auto-white balance, 1080p video recording with real-time video image stabilization and real-time temporal noise reduction, a dual-core A5 processor, eight hours of battery life, and support for AirPlay Mirroring. The iPhone 4S will be available in black and white, in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities for $199, $299, and $399 on a two-year contract. The iPhone 4 will now be available in a 8GB capacity, in both black and white, for $99, while the 8GB iPhone 3GS will now be available for free on-contract. Pre-orders will begin on October 7th, with the phone to launch in the U.S.—on Sprint, as well as AT&T and Verizon—Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany, and Japan on October 14.