New iPhone Summary

For my readers who are not plugged into tech news every waking minute, here is a quick overview of Apple’s keynote this morning. No big surprises in Cupertino today:

iPhone 4S

  • No iPhone 5 yet, mostly performance enhancements: improved processing (A5 chip, 2x faster than before), graphics (dual-core, 7x faster than before), battery life, and download speeds (14.4 MBps).
  • Improved camera: eight megapixel, 3264 x 2448 resolution, 73% more light, faster capture speed, Hybrid IR filter for more accurate color and uniformity, sharper lens elements, wider aperture, face detection, and better white balance.
  • 1080p HD video camera with image stabilization, noise reduction.
  • The phone will be a GSM / CDMA hybrid, working on Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint.
  • AirPlay Mirroring: mirror your iPhone on television sets, wired or wireless.

The most notable announcement was the iPhone integration with Siri, a personal voice recognition assistant. Hold the home button on the iPhone and Siri will listen. Ask her anything you want, and she will return information, a search query, schedule a meeting, send a text message, set an alarm, perform a function on your phone, and more. She can also dictate for you. Siri was started as an iOS app in December 2007 and acquired by Apple in early 2010. Nothing new here.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S start Friday. The phone will be available October 14th in black or white casing. Pricing as followings (with a two-year contract): $199 16GB, $299 32GB, and $399 64GB.

Other Announcements

  • Cards App: make your own greeting cards, $2.99 per card
  • iPod Nano improvements to the fitness experience and timekeeping faces (Nano = your future watch)
  • iCloud will launch October 12th
  • Find My Friends feature: similar to Google Latitude, anyone on a GPS enabled Apple device can open their location up to contacts and share where they are. It is unclear how integrated this feature will be.

Overall? Underwhelmed. The iPhone 4S met none of my needs for a next-generation phone, except perhaps performance enhancements. This new model will no doubt outsell the rest, but I’m not sold yet.


7 thoughts on “New iPhone Summary

  1. To be fair, what they did with the dual antennas will actually give comparable speeds to ‘4G’. 4G is really a marketing ploy, it doesn’t really mean anything in particular. There are no predefined speed ranges that establish how fast 4G really is.

    Unfortunately NFC really isn’t that widespread yet, but I think I might wait to see what Google has up their sleeve with ice cream sandwich. Responsiveness is one of my biggest gripes with android, I hope google addresses that somehow.

    • I’ll need to see how the dual antennas perform in the open first before I can say one way or another. 14.4 is an impressive claim, but that’s network intensive. I foresee a carrier backlash. And no, NFC isn’t widespread, but the opportunities for that tech are endless and I want to start fooling around 🙂

      I need a new phone before the end of the year. Yes, we’ll see what Ice Cream Sandwich is all about.

      Either way, Mark, you and I should rock the same phone for dev.

  2. I definitely think that photographers will be one of the small groups that sees this as a big upgrade. The camera SEEMS to be much better than it’s predecessor with a boost to 8mp and f/2.4 aperture. With as many photographers that I’ve met with recently who are using the iPhone as another creative medium, this should be a no brainer. I was already considering purchasing a point-and-shoot or even one of the new mirrorless cameras to have something smaller to carry with me at all times (a DSLR just isn’t that practical to carry everywhere). But, with this update I’ll probably upgrade at the end of the year to the 64gb and spend equal or less than I would have on another camera. And any performance boosts will just be an added bonus for me.

    • No doubt. Siri and the Camera are the strongest improvements to the phone. That camera makes me want the iPhone so that I finally have a convenient point and shoot at my side. My BlackBerry camera is a joke.

  3. Hi Craig,

    Does the GSM/CDMA hybrid mean that Verizon will be using SIM cards? That was a major drawback for me–that it would be hard to go overseas with a Verizon iPhone.

    Thanks for this post!

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