After months of speculation Apple has finally unveiled its latest iPhone, the iPhone 4S, and released the latest version of its operating system, iOS 5.
At an event at its headquarters, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 4S and confirmed it will go on sale in the US on 14 October. The UK will also get the iPhone 4S on 14 October.
The new phone will come pre-loaded with the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 5. It will be released for current iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad owners on 12 October.
Apple iPhone 4S unveiled
The basic design of the iPhone 4S is identical to the iPhone 4 that was released last year. That means it’s got a glass finish on the front and rear and though this glass is ‘toughened’ to withstand bumps and scrapes, it’s by no means shatter-proof. Other features that remain unchanged are the 3.5-inch screen with its 960 x 640 resolution, its 9.3mm thickness and a weight of 137 grams.
There are several upgrades, though, details of which are explained below:
iPhone 4S key features explained
- Processor – the iPhone 4S will come with the Apple A5 chip found in the Apple iPad 2. It’s a dual-core processor with a 1GHz clock-speed, bringing Apple into line with competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy SII that also have dual-core processors in their phones. In theory the iPhone 4S should be twice as fast as the iPhone 4 and graphics in games should also be improved.
- Memory & Storage – Apple has increased the memory (RAM) of the iPhone 4S to 1GB. This should allow it to run more applications simultaneously and improve speed. Storage options will include 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, the latter for the first time in an iPhone.
- Improved camera – the camera has been upgraded for the iPhone 4S, from the 5Mp camera in the iPhone 4 to 8Mp for the iPhone 4S. It’ll now shoot 1080p video (up from 720p) and Apple claims to have improved low-light camera performance to a level superior to most compact cameras. Apple claims the iPhone 4S camera lets in 73% more light than the iPhone 4.
- Improved battery life – Apple has slightly improved battery life. It now claims 8 hours of talk time on 3G compared to 7 hours on the iPhone 4.
- Faster data transfers – Apple claims to improved data transfer speeds on the iPhone 4S from 7.2Mbps to 14.4Mbps.
- New voice recognition system – perhaps the biggest new feature is a new voice recognition system called ‘Siri’. Siri provides a comprehensive voice command system that allows you to send text messages and activate numerous services using voice recognition. Apple claims the system reaches new levels of accuracy so people can use their natural voices when activating commands. For example, you could ask the phone to find a ‘Italian restaurant in Guildford’ and it would search for them and then list them according to rating. It allows you to perform almost any action on the phone using just voice commands, including setting your alarm, setting up meetings, asking for directions, and plenty else besides.
iPhone 4S UK release
The iPhone 4S will be released in the UK on 14 October. Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS at discounted prices. Prices for the iPhone 4S will start at £499 for the 16GB version.
Looking for something different? Try one of our guide to Apple iPhone 4S alternatives.
iOS 5 release on 12 October
iOS is the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch MP3 player. iOS 5 is the latest version and will be available to download via iTunes on 12 October. It’s free to upgrade for both iPads, the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and the 3rd and 4th generation iPod touch.
iOS 5 features explained
According to Apple, iOS 5 contains over 200 improvements on the current version of iOS and it believes it to be the most significant update to the mobile operating system to date. Here are some of the highlights:
- Improved notification system – Apple has overhauled the notification system in iOS 5, ditching the unloved pop-up messages in favour of a dedicated ‘notification menu’.
- New iMessage messaging system – iOS 5 comes with iMessage, a system that allows iPhone users to send text messages to each other for free.
- iCloud wireless synching – emails, photos, contacts and calendars are now automatically synched across Apple products using the new iCloud service. iCloud is a free service.
- Improved web browser – an update to the Safari mobile browser adds ‘tabbed’ browsing and a new reading mode that simplifies web pages to make them easier to read. You can also save pages to read later and saved pages are synched across devices using iCloud.
- Faster photo taking – iPhone users can now access the photo app without entering their password, and one of the volume buttons doubles as a capture button. This should make it easier to take spontaneous photos.
- No PC required – for first time you can buy an iOS device and never connect it to your PC. Whether it’s an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, initial setup is conducted on the device itself.
For a more in-depth look at the new features, read our iOS 5 preview on Which? Mobile.