All of Apple's Big News Today: The iPhone 4S

The first new thing from Apple today looks a lot like their old iPhone

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We are keeping a close eye on all the news coming out of Apple's big iPhone announcement, which is set to start  at 1 p.m. ET. And as they announce new products and features, we'll be put putting them here. Spoiler: it's a very familiar looking iPhone with a voice-activated personal assistant and a snazzy iOS upgrade! If you want to watch the actual keynote, Apple has it posted on their website.


It takes orders. This is the "one more thing" of today's presentation. A new personal assistant feature called Siri is fully voice activated. It will tell you what the weather is, set your alarm clock or help you find a restaurant. Siri will search Wolfram Alpha for answers to basic questions; it can write and send text messages for you; it can transcribe emails for you. (All are a must for safe driving!) Apple did a live demo to show how well it all works, which according to Schiller is "probably the craziest thing you can do" at a keynote.

Wired's Steven Levy tweeted a fun fact just after the announcement, "Here's a gift for you livebloggers for the background on Siri. Its roots are a DARPA AI project." Which confirms that Apple has basically invented HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey--right down to the logo.

iPhone 4S

We knew this one was coming thanks to some leaked photos on Apple's website. However, curiously CEO Tim Cook didn't present it--Phil Shiller did. The upgrades:

It's faster. Apple says the new iPhone 4 is twice as fast for CPU tasks and 7x as fast for graphics with the help of a dual-core A5 processor (the same chip in the iPad 2). The new iPhone 4S works as a world phone--it works on both GSM and CDMA networks. Apple says it's as fast as 4G with data downloads clocking in at 14 megabytes per second, twice as fast as the iPhone 4.

Its camera is better. The new iPhone camera is 8 megapixels giving it the capacity to take 3264 x 2448 photos. (That's 60 percent more.) The camera is also a third faster fixing a common complaint. For video, the camera also does 1080p HD, image stabilization and noise reduction.

It lasts longer. The battery life is also improved with eight hours of talk time on the iPhone 4S.

It's cheaper. With two-year carrier agreements, many more people will be able to afford an iPhone. The iPhone 4S pricelist: 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, 64GB for $399. The iPhone 4: 16GB for $99. The iPhone 3GS: 16GB Free.

It's available soon. Pre-orders start October 7th and it'll hit stores on October 14 in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France and Germany. October 28 in 22 more countries and 70 more by the end of the year.

iOS 5

As anticipated, Tim Cook announced an aggressive update to Apple's iOS mobile operating system. The new features borrow some ideas from Android but largely make the iPhone and iPad faster, easier-to-use devices. Here's what you need to know about each feature:

Release date: October 14, Price: Free

Family and Friends: Ok, this is potentially creepy. This new app will use the iPhone and iPad GPS to tell your friends and family where you are at any given time. It includes privacy controls, temporary sharing options and parental restrictions.

iCloud: Ok, this is pretty cool. iTunes, iWork and Photos will now sync up to the cloud and be available from any iOS device. AirPlay also allows you to stream from devices to device.

Newsstand: Like the new feature for Amazon Kindles, this is a magazine and newspaper subscription service. Like the name suggests you can buy subscriptions and single issues in the app. Launch partners include The New York Times, Wired, National Geographic and more.

Twitter integration: You can now tweet directly from the Camera, Photos, Safari, YouTube, Maps and other apps. This is big news for little Twitter.

Photo editing: You can now edit photos from within the Photos app.

iMessages: This new system syncs up the notifications on all your different devices securely.

Cards: Apple will now offer a way for you to send postcards and greeting cards directly from your phone. Snap a picture, design the card, let Apple take some money and they'll print it, mail it and send you push notification when it arrives.


Just like with the iPhone 4S, a tiny Sprint logo appeared on the Apple Store servers just before the event was starting. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Sprint committed to buying 30.5 million iPhones in a do-or-die gamble to pull itself back into competition with Verizon and AT&T. That said, Apple didn't say a word about Sprint at the keynote.


Touch: With the new iOS 5, the iPod Touch can now be used for messaging. There are new price points: 8GB for $199, 32GB for $299, 64GB for $399.

Nano: Apple has updated the Nano interface so that it's easier to use. You also can now wear your iPod as a watch. Starting today, it's available in seven colors, 8GB for $129 and 16GB for $149.

Impressive Statistics

As many people pointed out, Apple was not shy about sharing their impressive sales numbers and market dominance. "Can someone who knows an Apple VP explain to them what a #humblebrag is?" tweeted Brian Lam from The Wirecutter. A sampling:

  • 500,000+ apps in the App Store, over 140,000 are for the iPad
  • $3 billion paid by Apple to developers
  • 250 million iOS devices sold to date
  • 70 percent of iPhone users are satisfied

Tim Cook's Outfit

This being his keynote address as CEO, everybody has been wondering how Tim Cook will do compared to his charismatic predecessor. At least, his outfit was comparable. "Tim Cook is wearing black jeans and a dark grey or black button down," wrote Mat Honan at Gizmodo. "Evocative of Jobs, but not full on turtled. Stylish. I like this guy. Even if he did go to Auburn."

We'll be updating this post with more iPhone news as it breaks.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.