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article imageApple announces new iPhone 4S with voice controls, 8MP camera

By David Silverberg     Oct 4, 2011 in Technology
On Tuesday Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the new iPhone 4S, complete with voice controls, and the updated operating systems for Apple's iconic smartphone. He also explained how the iCloud service will work for Apple product users.

Available soon from Apple is the iPhone 4S, an upgraded version of Apple's popular iPhone 4. Cook said at the Cupertino press conference the iPhone 4 accounts for more than half of Apple’s total iPhone sales to date and in general the iPhone has a five percent share of the worldwide mobile phone market.
Hoping to strengthen its smartphone foothold, Apple revealed the new iPhone 4S. Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller talked about the smartphone with the powerful dual core A5 processor (found in the iPad), promising seven-times faster graphics speed than the iPhone 4. Battery power reaches 8 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of video, he added.
As some Apple watchers expected, the company unified its CDMA and GSM devices into a single world phone.
An eight-megapixel camera has been added to the iPhone 4S. It houses 60 percent more pixels than in the iPhone 4 sensor, and is one-third faster at capturing pics than its predecessor. Also built into the sensor is face detection and improved auto-white balance, Schiller adds, along with a larger f/2.4 aperture
Before he moved on to the next announcement, Schiller said Airplay mirroring is coming to the iPhone (letting you stream to iTunes library wirelessly).
The next announcement related to the iPhone 4S, so was Schiller saving the most anticipated for last? He said, "What we really want to do is just talk to our device and we want to talk to it any way we’d like.” The new iPhone using the Siri voice assistant so you can hands-free ask “What is the weather like today?” and the phone replies with “here is the weather for today” and a screen detailing the forecast.
Or say to your iPhone 4S “wake me up tomorrow at 6 am” and Siri sets an alarm and tells the user that the task is completed. You can get answers, find facts and perform complex calculations just by asking. Apple also integrated Yelp's restaurant reviews into Siri.
The voice tech controls will be available in English, French and German at launch.
The iPhone 4S will retail for $199 (16GB),$299 (32GB) and $399 (64GB). It will be available October 14 in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, France Germany and Japan. By December, more than 70 countries will be able to purchase Apple's latest iPhone. In the U.S., it's available for all three carriers: AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint.

iOS 5 Details

Cook talked about the upgrade operating system for Apple fans. In iOS 5, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone Software, ran through several of the key features, many of which have already been reported: a new Reminders app uses location-based technology so it can remind you, say, when to leave work; iMessenger goes up against BlackBerry's BBM and is "pushed to all devices," Forstall said; an upgraded camera adds one-tap access and photo editing right in iOS (you don't need to type in your password to pull up the camera); Newsstand accesses magazines such as The New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair, and newspapers like The New York Times, gathering subscriptions in a single place on your home screen; Safari's new feature Reader to let you read things later using Reading List.
iOS 5 will be available Oct. 12 as a free update.

Head in the iCloud

Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, followed Forstall to discuss iCloud, Apple's jump into the cloud-computing space. He pointed out once iCloud launches, songs purchased via iPhone or iPad on iTunes will "automatically be downloaded to a users’ Mac for no additional charge."
Apple s visualization of how iCloud will work
Apple's visualization of how iCloud will work
Courtesy Apple
Your media library is available to be synced to any Apple device. "With a tap of a button, you can download a song you’ve previously downloaded from the iTunes store onto another device," Cue said.
Books, Documents and Apps work the same way: download it on one device, say the iPad, and it will also be downloaded on your iPhone. For the Calendar app, you can also share the App with other iCloud users (which could be useful for business meetings).
A new iPod nano is also available today. It's been updated with several fitness-related improvements, and UI additions such as new clocks.
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