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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

iPhone 4S

Apple held its "Let's Talk iPhone" event on Tuesday, unveiling the next generation iPhone and the Cupertino-based company's plans for the future. While the phone itself is not a major change from the 4, it is definitely an upgrade (hence why it's called the 4S, not the 5 as some predicted). Here's a breakdown of the features incorporated into the 4S:

iOS 5
Apple's newest version of its iOS operating system runs the 4S, adding over 200 new features to the phone. These include a Notification Center (ala Android's notification bar), iMessage (ala Blackberry's BBM), deep Twitter integration, reminders, and enhanced camera functionality. Updates are now computer-free, meaning you can activate or update your phone on the go.

Dual-Core A5 Processor
The 4S will feature Apple's A5 dual core processor, resulting in faster processing and graphics speed (up to 7x faster than the iPhone 4, according to Apple). The upshot is that this iPhone is designed with gamers in mind... graphics-intensive apps will perform like never before.

iCloud brings deep cloud functionality to all your Apple devices. Music, photos, documents, contacts, mail, apps, etc will sync automatically between your iPhone and any other iOS 5 device you own.

The iPhone 4S will operate on both GSM and CDMA networks, making it a global phone. According to Apple, it also uses two antennas that "intelligently" switch between transmitting and receiving, making for faster browsing and download speeds. Also, the new phone will debut on three US carriers, Sprint being added alongside of AT&T and Verizon.

One of the major improvements of the 4, the 4S introduces an 8-megapixel (60% more than the 4) camera with a new lens, a larger aperature, and a new sensor. Photos will have fantastic resolution, and the backside illumination sensor will make for brighter, full-colored shots even in poor ambient light conditions. The camcorder function will record in 1080p HD, and both stills and video can be edited on the phone itself.

Siri (Beta)
Okay, I saved the best for last. Siri is your new personal assistant (courtesy of Apple), and it can do just about anything on the phone. The kicker is, it recognizes "natural language"... just talk to it like you'd talk to a friend. Siri can recognize and answer the question "What is the weather in Chicago?" or "Will the weather be better today?" or "Will it rain today?" Siri transcends simple voice commands. For instance, say you get a text asking if you're free next Friday. Siri can look at your calendar, reply correctly, then start a new event for you. Maybe you want a reminder? Siri can do that too. Just a basic search? Yup. Most anything that can be asked of Siri, it can do... and it's only going to get better.

Final Analysis
Though the 4S is not a revolutionary device, Apple has produced another great product that will cause millions to stand in line for hours, waiting to get their hands on the newest, best iPhone. Is it a gamechanger? No. Will it spell the death of Android? Doubtful. Is it fancy and cool? Hell yes.