Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
And the news about Apple’s long-awaited iPhone 5 is… There is no news about the iPhone 5!
Instead, Apple announced the release of the iPhone 4S, touting it as a significant upgrade over the iPhone 4, which came on the market 16 months ago. The new smartphone will come with all-new hardware, including a dual-core processor, and an improved, 8-megapixel camera, among a slew of other new features. Oh, and it can listen to you and talk back.
The company announced that the new phone will run from $199 to $399 when it goes on sale in the U.S. on October 14. The original iPhone 4 (8GB), meanwhile, will be knocked down to $99, and the the 3GS will be free with a two-year contract.
Apple will also add a third carrier to its roster of those available on the new iPhone, with Sprint joining AT&T and Verizon. The Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint agreed to buy more than 30 million phones over the next four years in exchange for access to the device.
Tim Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO in August, took the stage for the announcement, his first as Apple’s chief. Much of the specific phone news was delivered by Apple executive Phil Schiller, however.
Aside from the new processor and camera, highlights of the iPhone announcement included faster “4G” download speeds, improved battery life, and news that the 4S will be a “world phone,” allowing users to roam between GSM and CDMA networks.
Among the new software features, the headliner is a digital voice assistant called “Siri.” Demonstrating its ability to interpret voice input and discern meaning, Apple executive Scott Forstall asked Siri the current time in Paris, where to find Greek food in Palo Alto, and how the NASDAQ was doing, according to TechCrunch. The phone answered each question.
Anticipation ran high ahead of the event, with scraps of information and speculation dominating Twitter. With no live broadcast of the event, people flocked to tech blogs for live updates. Several went down during the announcement, presumably overwhelmed by all the traffic. No wonder: The potential market is huge. In a recent survey, the ad network InMobi found that 41 percent of all mobile phone owners on the continent planned to purchase the new iPhone, depending on the features, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
As far as the stock market was concerned, however, no iPhone 5 news was bad news. Apple’s shares dipped more than 3 percent immediately after the announcement, though it figures to continue bouncing up and down as the market reacts.