Apple Officially Announces the Next iPhone – The iPhone 4S

Apple’s ‘Let’s Talk iPhone’ event is still underway but we’ve got all the information for you on the next iPhone that so many people have been talking about for the past few months.

Many people were expecting Apple to unveil the iPhone 5, though as we predicted yesterday, the new iPhone hitting stores on October 14th will be called the iPhone 4S.

Looking identical to the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S carries the same stylish metal and glass design, but hidden away inside are the main changes that make Apple’s next iPhone a huge improvement and a true ‘top-end’ smartphone.

As expected, Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to start with, but it was Phil Schiller, Vice President of Marketing, that announced Apple’s latest smartphone to the world. After going through Apple’s latest Mac range, their iPod range and the success of both, Tim handed over to Phil to get on to what we were really eager to hear about; the new iPhone.

Dubbed the iPhone 4S, Apple’s latest smartphone has exactly the same design as the iPhone 4 – same glass panels on front and back and the same aluminium band around the edge. It’s what’s inside that’s different, “very different”, said Phil Schiller of Apple as he presented the new device at Apple’s Cupertino campus.

Firstly, the iPhone 4S has a new faster more powerful processor called the A5, which was developed by Apple themselves. It’s dual-core and it’s the same processor from the iPad 2. This processor will mean the iPhone 4S will do everything twice as fast, and graphics will be much, much better. Seven times better than the iPhone 4 according to Apple.

To showcase this, Apple got in Epic Games to showcase a brand new game – Infinity Blade 2. This game is the sequel from the original that was designed to showcase the amazing Retina Display of the iPhone 4, and now it’s even better to demo the super fast A5 chip. From the presentation, it looked incredible and we can’t wait to play it.

Download speeds via 3G will be twice as fast with the iPhone 4S. Theoretically it is capable of 14.4Mbps download speeds, compared to the 7.2Mbps maximum on the iPhone 4. Apple say they have also improved the antenna, so that the phone can intelligently switch between the two bands in the alumium casing to find the best signal. The iPhone 4S is a ‘World Phone’ too, meaning it is both GSM and CDMA capable – you can use it anywhere.

The next big improvement is in the camera. As we correctly predicted yesterday, the iPhone 4S will have an 8-Megapixel camera which takes pictures at a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels, impressive. Apple says this is 60% more pixels than the iPhone 4’s 5-Megapixel camera, meaning pictures will appear sharper and much more detailed. This new camera sensor can take in 73% more light compared to the iPhone 4, meaning it takes much better shots in darker lighting conditions. It also has 30% more sharpness and a much better aperture setting of f/2.4, which means the iPhone 4S can take pictures in almost half the time that it takes the HTC Sensation and Samsung Galaxy S II to do (1.1 seconds compared to 2.0 seconds each). The camera will also shoot Full HD video in 1080p quality, a step up from the 720p quality shot with the iPhone 4.

Phil left the best until last – Siri. This is the advanced voice control and personal assistant feature we mentioned in our predictions yesterday, but we called it Assistant. Siri will allow you to interact naturally with the iPhone 4S, asking it things like “What is the weather like today?”. During Apple’s demonstration they asked just this, and the iPhone immediately brought up today’s weather forecast using the inbuilt weather app. Like Apple’s existing voice control tech, you have to press and hold the home button to activate Siri. Apple also demonstrated a phrase that brings up Maps and creates a route within seconds; “Give me directions to …”. It appeared to work like a dream, the most advanced voice control on a smartphone yet.

Siri is integrated with just about everything on the iPhone 4S – it’s a virtual assistant. You can ask Siri to set your alarm for the next morning, ask it to search for greek restaurants in a particular town or city and even compose and send a text message based on what you speak to the phone. Apple have also integrated Siri with Wolfram Alpha, an online dictionary service. You can say “define” and a word or phrase and your iPhone 4S will display a result instantaneously.

Our favourite demonstration of Siri involved receiving a text message asking if the user was free on Friday. Scott Forstall, demonstrating the app, said “Am I free on Friday at Noon?”. Siri checked the Calendar app on the phone and responded by showing on screen that there are no appointments. Scott then said “Reply I can do Friday”, and Siri wrote out the text message response and sent it.

Apple have also added a little microphone to the onscreen keyboard, just like in Android. Tap it and you can dictate a message or email and the iPhone will write it out for you. This feature uses Siri also, and requires a 3G or Wi-Fi connection to work. Siri will work in English (UK, U.S. and Australia), German and French. It’s going to be a beta version to start with, so a test version. Apple are likely to add more languages and many updates to improve its efficiency and what it can do over time.

There’s so much more about Siri to learn when the iPhone 4S comes out, so you can rest assured we’ll be showcasing it in one of our Gadget Helpline videos for you to check out as soon as we can.

As we expected, Apple also announced that an 8GB version of the iPhone 4 is going to hit stores for a lower price of $99 on contract. The older iPhone 3GS moves down to being completely free on contract also.

The iPhone 4S will cost exactly the same as the iPhone 4, and will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes in both Black and White (we’re pretty sure there won’t be such a delay on the white version this time!). The 16GB model will cost £499, the 32GB will cost £599 and the 64GB £699.

If you’ve been sold by the iPhone 4S after reading this piece, then you’re going to want to know when you can buy it. Well, you can pre-order one starting October 7th and you’ll be able to buy one in shops on October 14th.

Let us know your thoughts on our comments below or via our @Gadget_Helpline Twitter page or Official Facebook group.