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The iPhone 4S: The Ultimate Guide

Get all the news on tonight's iPhone 4S announcement which took place at Apple's Headquarters in Cupertino, California. As well as the iPhone 4S, we've got all the details on the new iPod Touch and iPod Nano's and new apps Find My Friends and Cards.

The iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S

At their press conference in Curpetino, California this evening, Apple announced the iPhone 4S. The fifth iteration of the iPhone will be 2x faster than the iPhone 4 with a dual-core A5 processor and dual-core graphics – making gameplay and other graphics-related output seven times faster than the previous version.

An improved antenna design is also featured, promising ‘improved call quality’ – hopefully avoiding the signal issues that plagued the release of the iPhone 4.

Availability and pricing

The prices for the iPhone 4S are as follows:

16GB – $199 / 32GB – $299 / 64GB – $399

Most importantly, these will be on a 2-year contract.

Subsequently, the iPhone 3GS will be free on contract and a new 8GB iPhone 4 will cost $99.

The iPhone 4S (with its new 64GB model)  will be available from 14th October (with pre-orders from 7th October) with Apple announcing it will be available in 22 countries by 28th October.

A new camera

As widely rumoured, the iPhone 4S is now a world phone, capable of running or CDMA and GSM networks. The 4S also features a new and improved, 8 megapixel camera producing 3264 x 2248 photos – 60% more pixels than photos produced by the iPhone 4. The new camera also allows images to be captured by the iPhone 5 up to 33% faster.

The rear camera of the 4S also saw a bump in video quality from 720p to 1080p – now true HD quality along with video image stabilisation and noise reduction.

Assistant announced

Perhaps the most impressive feature to be announced though was the much rumoured Assistant. Announced under the moniker of Siri – named after the original company that developed the technology it was described as ‘the intelligent assistant that gets things done just by asking’.

Siri was demonstrated with a number of commands including “Wake me up at 6:00 am” to which it responded “I set the alarm for 6:00am” and “Find my a Greek restaurant in Palo Alto” with the response, “I’ve found 14 Greek restaurants in Palo Alto, I’ve arranged them by rating.”.

The iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S

iOS 5 – available from 12th October

Scott Forstall, Senior VP for iOS Software also took to the stage to announce that iOS 5, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, would be available to download from 12th October. A new app, Cards, was also announced. Cards allows you to order and purchase prints from photos taken directly from your iOS device. The app isn’t included as part of iOS 5 but is available to download for free.

A previously unannounced iOS 5 app, Find My Friends, allows you to quickly and easily find out the location of friends who opt to share their location with you was also debuted. The interface for Find My Friends is fairly similar to Find My iPhone and works in a similar way, except you wont be able set a passcode for, or wipe, your friends…

iPod Nano and iPod Touch refreshed

Phil Schiller gave a brief presentation to the assembled media in which he announced updates to two models of the iPod family – the iPod Nano and the iPod Touch. For the Nano, Schiller showed off an improved UI (with bigger icons), improved clock faces, and built-in GPS. At $129 for the 8GB and $149 for the 16GB model, these are available to buy today.  For the iPod Touch, a white version was introduced with a slashed price point (down to $199 for the 8GB model) available from October 12th. Naturally, they’ll be running iOS 5 as well.

The event, which is also being streamed live to Apple’s Covent Garden store in London, was hosted and presented by CEO Tim Cook, a first for the long-serving employee since Steve Jobs’ departure in August.

As well the obvious product announcements, Cook told told the media that the iPhone 4 sees a 125% increase in sales year-on-year and that 95% of Fortune 500 companies are now testing or deploying the flagship mobile device. Scott Forstall announced that iOS is the no.1 mobile operating system  with a 43% market share and that one billion apps are downloaded for iOS devices each month.

More details to follow soon.