Today, Apple released details on their latest update to their iPhone, called the iPhone 4S. Looking very similar externally to the outgoing model, the processor has been upgraded to the A5 dual core processor, and includes dual-core graphics.
This extends the iPhone’s ability to play higher-end games that require more graphics power, and in turn opens up a wider usage model for the iPhone as a more serious gaming device in addition to the other entertainment and productivity tools it currently offers.
The new iPhone 4S also comes with an upgraded 8MP camera, with an f/2.4 aperture, meaning casual snappers can take some impressive depth of field shots among other compositions. It can now also film in Full 1080p HD.
Another new feature announced was Intelligent Assistant, a comprehensive voice control feature. The Assistant will be able to action an extremely wide array of tasks via voice, including texting, searching the web or points of interest, find live stock prices, give directions, and set alarms.
The assistant will also use data such as GPS location to set up other actions, like sending a text to someone when you leave a predefined area, for example leaving your office to an off-site meeting.
The phone will be released in its major markets, including Australia, on October 14th. The new iOS 5 operating system, which will upgrade the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch and all iPads, will be released on October 12th.
iOS 5 includes Twitter integration, improved notifications, over-the-air software updates, and a text chat service for iOS 5 users. A new feature of iOS 5 which was announced this morning was Find My Friends, which allows users to release their location to other users, which could be useful when arranging a group gathering or helping direct people to your current location.
iTunes Match, which has only been released for US residents at this stage, will be launched at the end of October. At a price of US$24.99 a year, iTunes will match the songs in your iTunes library to Apple’s database, regardless of whether they were purchased there, and upload any remaining songs for streaming at a high 256kb/s quality to any of your iDevices.
iTunes Match is part of Apple’s new iCloud service, which provides back up and synching of all your apps, text and MMS messages, photos and video you’ve shot, and documents. This service is free with up to 5GB storage.
As with any impending Apple event, rumours flooded the online discussions. Here’s a quick rundown of how some of the major rumours panned out:
- iPhone 5 or entry level iPhone 4S – as it turned out, the iPhone 4S was very much an improved upgrade to the iPhone 4, retaining the same form factor as the current model.
- Larger 4” screen – no screen change as the iPhone 4 retina screen continues.
- Upgrade to 8 megapixel camera – this was confirmed, with a raft of improvements to the camera function with speed, resolution and full high definition video recording.
- Expand range to 64GB capacity – this was confirmed for the iPhone 4S
- Macbook Air-inspired sloping design – Some rumoured iPhone 5 designs included a sloping design similar to the Macbook Air. However, the emphasis on gaming would require a more symmetrical design, which the iPhone 4/4S offers.
- Intelligent voice commands – Apple’s purchase of Siri last year has materialised in the Intelligent Assistant, which according to Apple can pretty much help with anything you need actioned hands-free on the iPhone. Personally, I can’t wait to see this in action.
We’ll be following up with a rundown of the iCloud and iOS 5 features later this month when it’s released.
Will these improvements give you a reason to upgrade your current phone to the iPhone 4S?