Apple Announces iPhone 4S

They’re not calling it the iPhone 5, but Apple has announced the next generation of their iPhone hardware, the iPhone 4S. The new phone will use the same hardware design as the iPhone 4, but with faster, better, new tech on the inside. It will hit stores on October 14 in the U.S., but you can preorder it starting October 7. The price ranges between $199 and $399 with a contract, depending on how many gigs of memory you want.

The iPhone 4S will include both GSM and CDMA technology, so it will work all over the world. It will be powered by the dual-core A5 chip, which is capable of running graphics at up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4. Though the phone won’t run on 4G cell networks, the chip is apparently powerful enough to match the download speeds of 4G phones. The camera app will also boot faster, and the actual camera sports an eight megapixel sensor and can record 1080p HD video. Additionally, they’ve added wireless and wired mirroring of what’s on your iPhone to your TV, which could be useful for gaming.

They also demoed Siri, an iPhone 4S-only feature that acts like a voice-activated personal assistant. If you hold down the home button for two seconds, you can ask questions or give commands like “What’s the weather like today?” or “Define mitosis” or “Wake me up at 6 a.m. tomorrow.” Siri will answer you vocally or pull up the appropriate app, showing the information you requested or doing what you asked it to do. If it works as advertised, we may soon be bowing down to our new computer overlords.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and co. also detailed (or in many cases reiterated) the features of iOS 5, the next generation of the iPhone and iPad’s operating system. iOS 5 will have features like notifications, iCloud support, and the ability set up and update your iOS devices without ever connecting them to a computer. iOS 5 is coming out on October 12 for free, and it will run on third generation or newer iPhones and iPod Touches, as well as both models of iPad.

The iPod line-up received less attention. Fourth generation iPod Touches are still the newest on the market, but a white version will come out on October 14. Game Center received a little bit of love as well: It will display photos of your friends, their achievement points, and their game recommendations.

So there’s no iPhone 5, but it sounds like the updated tech inside the iPhone will make it a worthy upgrade for anyone whose contract is up. What are your thoughts on today’s announcements? Will you be buying an iPhone 4S on October 14?

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