iPhone 4S announced

At today’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event, Apple has announced the iPhone 4S – an upgrade to the iPhone 4’s hardware which retains most of the original design. The phone will be released on the 14th October in the US and UK, and continuing the tradition of software updates, iOS 5 will be downloadable a couple of days earlier on the 12th.

The key features of the new phone are:

  • Dual core A5 chip
  • New 8 megapixel camera which supports 1080p video recording
  • Siri, a digital personal assistant

Considering the wealth of rumours surrounding an all-new iPhone, the new device is somewhat of a disappointment. It’s still my belief that Apple is very close to releasing an all-new generation phone, but for some reason decided that they would focus on improving the specifications of the iPhone 4 before the year was out.

Focusing on the upgrade itself, the new chip was fairly expected, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the phone to see if it feels any faster. The 8 megapixel camera is very welcome, and I’m pleased that Apple is finally understanding that 1080p is ‘proper’ HD. I was worried they were stuck on 720p, which is barely an improvement on SD.

Siri sounds an interesting concept, although there are caveats: you’ll need a data connection for it to work, which could prove expensive now unlimited plans are getting rare. Also, you’ll need to speak for it to work – which could look awkward if you’re effectively talking to yourself on the train, for example. Siri only achieves tasks which can be done manually anyway, so it’s not a ‘killer’ feature. I can’t recall ever using the Voice Control on my 3GS to do anything other than show people ‘look at my cool phone’.

And that takes us neatly onto the final point. Whether the new device is enough to tempt iPhone 3GS and 4 owners to upgrade remains to be seen. I expect a high demand, although I don’t expect anywhere near the level of interest which surrounded the iPhone 4.

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