Oct. 10, 2011
by Mark Ollig
“Let’s talk iPhone.”
This was the message inside the invitations sent out to members of the media from Apple Inc.
Most of us were anticipating Apple to announce the new iPhone 5 to the world.
Last Tuesday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took the stage at Apple’s Cupertino, CA headquarters to make the announcement of what many had assumed, written, tweeted, and blogged would be the new iPhone 5.
Cook spent considerable time talking about Apple’s past achievements, until we were finally introduced to the new iPhone 4S by Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.
“So people have been wondering, how do you follow up a hit product like the iPhone 4? Well, I’m really pleased to tell you today all about the brand new iPhone 4S,” said Schiller.
There was respectable applause from the audience in attendance, while yours truly wondered what happened to the iPhone 5.
One of the new features I liked on the iPhone 4S was Siri.
Siri is used to access the built-in voice-enabled personal assistant.
An iPhone 4S user speaks to Siri in ordinary, conversational dialogue.
Siri responds to verbal queries such as, “What is the weather like today in Minneapolis?”
Siri allows a person to work with the iPhone’s applications using normal, everyday voice conversation, while Siri will reply to the user’s voice in kind.
During Apple’s demonstration, Siri placed phone calls, provided directions to the nearest restaurant, and reported on the weather.
Siri performs a variety of dictation tasks; from creating reminders and setting alarms, to verbally notifying the iPhone 4S user about them.
If Siri needs more information in order to fulfill a request, it will verbally ask.
Incoming text messages can be read to you by Siri, and it will compose the text to reply with from your voice responses, providing hands-free texting.
I find myself suddenly having flashbacks to the HAL 9000.
The iPhone 4S Retina display significantly improves the sharpness and quality of images and text seen on the display screen.
Pixels on the iPhone 4S display screen are just 78 micrometers wide.
Pixel density is 326 pixels per inch, which means a human eye will not be able to detect the individual pixels, so web pages, photos, text in eBooks, and email will look very focused and sharp.
The Retina display utilizes technology called IPS (in-plane switching), which is the equivalent technology used in the iPad.
Included with the Retina display is LED back-lighting, and an ambient light sensor that intelligently adjusts the brightness of the screen, providing the best viewing possible under most conditions.
The iPhone 4S includes the Apple A5 dual-core graphic processing chip, (which operates in the iPad 2). It is twice as fast as the processor used in the previous iPhone 4. Web pages will load much faster; and to all the gamers out there: your video graphics will render seven times faster on the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 4S screen is a 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display.
Its camera uses an 8 megapixel sensor, which takes pictures at a resolution of 3264 X 2488 pixels.
The camera includes tap-to-focus, auto-focus, and LED flash. Its optics include five element lenses and an f/2.4 aperture lens opening, which lets in more light and provides for better low-light performance.
The iPhone 4S captures 1080p video using video stabilization and records up to 30 frames-per-second with audio.
The iPhone 4S is used on 3G networks, and has a significantly improved antenna re-design from the previous iPhone 4.
Schiller stated how the iPhone 4S can attain data-rate speeds of up to 5.8 uploading and 14.4 Mbps downloading. However, to get these speeds, the 3G Carrier would need to be using a HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) network.
With the iPhone 4S built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, talk-time battery life is said to be 8 hours, with 200 hours of standby time.
The battery provides 10 hours of video playback time, with up to 40 hours of audio/music playback.
When using the Internet, it provides six hours of usage with 3G enabled, and nine hours over Wi-Fi.
Containing both CDMA and GSM cellular phone standards, the iPhone 4S can be used world-wide. It also supports Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.
The iPhone 4S operates with the iOS 5 mobile operating system, integrates with the iCloud, and will be available in Apple retail stores Oct. 14.
The iPhone 4S will work over the AT&T and Verizon networks, and soon over the Sprint network.
The iPhone 4S models are priced at: $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB iPhone 4S.
As this column was being sent to press, I learned of the passing of Apple Inc. co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs.
While the news was breaking over the social networking sites, I came across one poignant Twitter message about Steve Jobs in reference to the new Apple iPhone 4S.
I was kindly given permission to use the following by the person who wrote it; “From now on, the 4S is going to stand for, ‘For Steve.’”
About Mark Ollig:
Telecommunications and all things tech has been a well-traveled road for me. I enjoy learning what is new in technology and sharing it with others who enjoy reading my particular slant on it via this blog. I am also a freelance columnist for my hometown's print and digital newspaper.