Apple finally unveiled the long-awaited and anticipated evolution of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, at the Let's Talk iPhone event Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif. While some were disappointed to not see an iPhone 5, others were satisfied with the many specs and upgrades under the hood.
Newly-appointed CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone 4 was one of the best-selling smartphones, despite all the competition. With that said, the 4S will be the flagship iPhone and will be available on Oct. 14 in the U.S. for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint customers. There will be a $199 16GB model, a $299 32GB model and an all-new 64GB version for $399. The iPhone 4 will still sell, for $99, in an 8GB version, and there will be a 3GS for free with carrier contract.
There is a new dual-core A5 processor, and, despite the increased power, there's improved battery life, including up to 8 hours of 3G talk time. There is also a redesigned smarter antenna. Data can now be downloaded twice as fast--up to 14.4 megabits per second-similar to many 4G phones on AT&T.
There's more. An 8-megapixel camera, which is also used to take 1080p HD video, with real-time video image stabilization. And AirPlay, which can be used for HD wireless or HDMI video mirroring from phone to the TV.
The key feature, though, for the iPhone 4S is Siri, an artificial intelligence assistant that replaces the unpopular Voice Control function. By holding down the home button, you can ask Siri almost anything and let it interpret your requests. The most important thing about Siri is that it understands context, so the user doesn't need to adjust to the system-the system adjusts to the user.
Finding out the day's weather is one of the most common and obvious questions to ask such an intelligent application like Siri. When Scott Forstall, senior Vice President of iPhone Software at Apple, asked if he needed a raincoat today during the Let's Talk iPhone event, Siri replied, It sure looks like rain today, and proceeded to open the weather tile.
What else might you ask Siri or tell Siri to do? Here are five ways in which Siri could prove beneficial:
- Memory: If you have a busy day, there might be some things you can't help but overlook. Siri is good for giving reminders like picking something up from the store, going to an important meeting, or remembering birthdays.
- Location: You're traveling after a long period of time and you need to find preferable restaurants with preferable foods. Where's the nearest gas station? The nearest bank? The nearest hotel? Siri can map it out.
- Time: Cooking a big meal that takes time? Need to workout for only an hour before work? There's no need to look at a clock thanks to Siri, which reminds you of tasks so you don't feel rushed.
- Information: According to Apple's Web site, Siri finds answers from the Web through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. That leaves the door open to almost any question. Today's economy, for example, might easily have you asking, How much does __ cost?
- Staying Connected: In each of the above four situations, Siri keeps you in the loop about what you're doing and the outside world. Siri also has dictation functionality to write messages, take notes, search the web, etc. Siri's dictation, according to Apple, also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write and send Instagrams.
CORRECTION: Scott Forstall, senior VP of Apple's iPhone software, was the one who tested Siri by asking if he needed a raincoat today. It was previously reported that Tim Cook, Apple's newly-appointed CEO, did it.