Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 4S, a 3G smartphone with improved hardware designed to allow the device to run applications faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4S will run on a dual-core A5 processor, which also will allow the device to run graphics up to seven times faster than prior models, said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing at Apple, during an event held at the company's Cupertino campus. That could allow for a better gaming experience and 1080p video playback. The iPhone 4's A4 chip provides up to 720p of video playback.
The iPhone 4S will be priced at US$199 for a 16GB model, $299 for a 32GB model and $399 for a 64GB model, with a two-year contract.
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The smartphone will be available on Oct. 14 in the U.S. through AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. It will also become available in Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany and Japan on that day. It will become available in 24 more countries by Oct. 28, and in 70 countries by the end of the year.
The new smartphone will offer eight hours of 3G talk time, 14 hours of 2G talk time and 10 hours of video on one battery charge. The device will also offer nine hours of Wi-Fi browsing time and six hours of 3G browsing time.
The iPhone 4S is also a world phone, which means it has a baseband chip that will work on both GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks. The iPhone 4 previously had two separate models for the GSM and CDMA networks. The iPhone 4S will also have an 8-megapixel camera, as many analysts had predicted.
The iPhone 4S also includes retina display, like the iPhone 4, which started shipping in June last year. The naming convention is much like the iPhone 3GS, which was considered an incremental upgrade from iPhone 3G.
The iPhone 4S will run on iOS 5, which the company introduced earlier this year. The OS includes about 200 more features than earlier versions, including Twitter integration, the new iMessage application for communication between iOS devices, and a unified center for notifications on email, text messages and more. The OS will also include the free iCloud syncing and hosting service for music, photos and other data, which will become available on Oct. 12.
The company also announced a new version of the iPod Touch, which will come with iOS 5. An 8GB model will be priced at US$199, a 32GB model at $299 and a 64GB model at $399. The new device will also come in white and become available on Oct. 12.
(Additional reporting by Macworld staff.)