Cupertino, Calif. - Consumers and retailers will have to wait for a 4G-equipped iPhone 5.
today launched a 3G-equipped iPhone 4S, which goes to AT&T, Sprint and
Verizon and will be available Oct. 14 in the U.S. in three memory capacities
compared with its predecessors' two capacities. The 16GB version goes for $199,
as did its predecessor, with the 32GB model going at $299 like its predecessor
and the new capacity of 64GB going for $399.
The current iPhone 4 will also be available for just $99.
The company also repriced the 8GB version of its iPhone 3GS for free with two-year-contract.
The iPhone 4S gets a dual-core 1GHz processor compared with its predecessor's single-core 1GHz processor, and a personal assistant feature that lets users use their voice to control apps and features, do voice searches, and hear messages read aloud.
Other upgrades include an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, compared with its predecessor's 5 megapixels, and the camera adds face detection and 26 percent better white balance, the company said.
The launch, occurring 10 years after the first iPod was launched, marks the first time that a new iPhone has been launched with more than one carrier, the iPhone 4 having been launched first at AT&T and then in January 2011 at Verizon.
The iPhone 4S features Apple's new iOS5 OS, which has more than 200 changes compared with iOS 4. It also integrates with the company's new iCloud service, which becomes available Oct. 12 to wirelessly push newly created or downloaded content from one iOS-based mobile device to a user's other iOS devices and to their Macs and PCs. The content includes apps, pictures and videos as well as documents created in iWorks on Apple's mobile devices.
The free iCloud service also automatically syncs contacts, calendar updates and email updates among multiple devices via cellular and Wi-Fi. Via Wi-Fi, devices will also automatically back up their content once per day to the Cloud.
The service also let users buy an app, song or e-book from the iTunes store and automatically push it from the Cloud to a total of 10 iOS devices. Also with the service, users can manually upload all their ripped songs to the Cloud to synchronize them via Wi-Fi with all their iOS devices, or they can pay $29.99/year for an iTunes Match service that will scan the songs on a device, match them to iTunes's 18 million songs, and push higher-quality versions of the songs to multiple iOS5 devices.
Also to cut a mobile device's connections to the PC, iPhone purchasers won't have to connect their iPhone to a PC to activate it, and they'll be able to download iPhone software updates over the air. iOS users will also be able create calendars and mailboxes right from their mobile device.
In another major change with iOS5, Apple created its own messaging service to let iOS5 users send encrypted text, picture and video messages via Wi-Fi or cellular to all other iOS5 users, even those using an iPad or iPod Touch.
Those are among the more than 200 changes that Apple announced for its iOS here at its worldwide developers conference, where CEO Steve Jobs took a leave from medical leave to announce the iCloud services.