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Apple has officially announced its latest iPhone and it’s not an iPhone 5. The latest upgrade to the iPhone family has been dubbed the iPhone4S. The highly anticipated announcement came on October 4th from Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, California in front of a packed auditorium full of high level executives and members of the press.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, was the first of several Apple executives to address the eager crowd. Cook’s portion of the presentation was a bit lackluster it focused mainly on the history of Apple since introducing the iPod 10 years ago, public reaction to the launch of Lion OS X, and the integration of iPads in educational and workplace settings.
It was a testament to how far Apple has come in such a brief time span; while truly extraordinary this was not the story people were interested in. Cook’s presentation was oddly void of anything iPhone related, with the exception of an off the cuff hint that iPhone news would come later in the presentation.
The logical guess would be that Cook in his first keynote address as CEO would deliver news of a new iPhone. However Cook threw a curve ball and deferred to Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of worldwide product marketing, to usher in the iPhone 4S. Schiller, a regular presenter at Apple keynote addresses, very subtly broke into the new iPhone news after reeling off some updates about the iPod Nano and iPod Touch.
There were several new but otherwise bland features introduced for iPhone 4S they included an 8 megapixel camera, 1080p filming capability, and inclusion of the A5 processing iPad2 chip into the iPhone. Each new feature is a technological step in the right direction, but none are close to being “blow-away”, the term used by Apple presenters several times during the presentation.
There were some more impressive upgrades as well, including a new antenna system which intelligently switches between two built-in transmitters to optimize call quality and data transfer speeds, boasting faster download and upload speeds on par with 4G, and the inclusion of CDMA and GSM chips which allows the 4S to be compatible on all networks across the globe making it a “world” phone.
Even these failed to possesses that familiar Apple wow factor that leaves you wondering how in the world did they do that. With the iPhone 4s presentation coming to a close, Apple had one last chance to blow our collective minds. The job of showstopper was left up to the highly rumored voice recognition feature, Siri.
Siri is being marketed as having your very own interactive intelligent personal assistant in the palm of your hand. Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iOS Software, demoed the new feature by saying, “What’s the weather like today?” and Siri spoke the current forecast in Cupertino; this garnered a huge applause from the crowd.
Even more impressive than being able to tell you the weather Siri can compose and dictate email, set timers, look up contacts, create notes, search the web, and search Wikipedia. Siri is definitely an impressive feature, but at the same time it’s not Apple jaw dropping impressive.
It’s destined to be a feature that it is cool for a while, but not one that makes scores of people camp outside of Apple stores the week before launch. The iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order on October 7th and hit retail stores on October 14th. It will be available in black and white, 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. It will also be available on AT&T, Verizon, and for the first time Sprint.
This puts some validation in reports made by the Wall Street Journal that Sprint purchased 30 million iPhones over the next four years. It is interesting to note that Cook shied away from former Apple CEO’s Steve Jobs trademark “One More Thing” statement, a move that is being preemptively being dubbed the “Cook-tease”.
Who knows, maybe this keynote was one big Cook-tease for what we really want, an iPhone 5.