As expected, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 4S at its media event this afternoon. It’s available for pre-order on October 7th, and will begin shipping on October 14th. Availability on the 14th will be restricted to the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany and Japan. Twenty two more countries will get the phone by the 28th, and 70 by the end of the year. The 4S will be available on Sprint, AT&T and Verizon networks in the US. Contrary to rumors that indicated a complete overhaul of the phone, the 4S is a predictable progression from the iPhone 4.
It uses the same Apple A5 SoC as the iPad 2 (though, as usual, Apple didn’t reveal its clock speed or the amount of on-board RAM) and is now universally compatible with CDMA and GSM networks (making it a "world phone), but is visually similar to the iPhone 4 and uses the same 3.5” 640x960 “Retina Display” as its predecessor. It will be available in 16GB ($199), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399) capacities in both black and white with a 2-year contract. The iPhone 4 will remain as an 8GB phone for $99, while the 3GS will also stick around for free with contract.
Antenna diversity, a feature originally introduced in the CDMA iPhone 4, is now standard on all models of the iPhone 4S. As we found in our review of the Verizon iPhone 4, antenna diversity fixes the infamous antenna issue with the iPhone 4's design. The wireless stack has been upgraded to support HSPA+ 14.4, likely courtesy of Qualcomm's MDM6600.
As was widely predicted, the iPhone 4S sports a new 8MP camera sensor with a five element f2.4 lens. The new lens is apparently 30% sharper than the previous iteration. The camera subsystem itself supposedly has better color accuracy and more color uniformity. Apple talked about their custom designed Image Signal Processor (ISP) on the A5 SoC, however previous versions were also Apple designed. Apple claims 1.1 seconds to the first photo and 0.5 second shot-to-shot latency on the iPhone 4S. The camera can now shoot 1080p video due to the ISP upgrades in the A5 SoC. 
Wireless display mirroring via AirPlay is also supported on the iPhone 4S.
The new iPhone will debut with iOS 5, which will also be available to users of older devices on October 12. Exclusive to the new iPhone is iOS 5’s Siri voice assistant, which promises to bring new precision and utility to voice commands on the phone. The iPhone 4S with Siri will be able to understand natural language requests (e.g. "Wake me up tomorrow at 6AM) and act accordingly (e.g. create an alarm for 6AM tomorrow). 

Expect a full review from us as soon as possible, and in the meantime you can always re-read our in-depth iPhone 4 review to get a better idea of what has changed since last summer.
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  • ezinner - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    The biggest news is that it will be on all three carriers. What about T-Mobile? Maybe the competition will allow us to have family plans with voice, data and text at a lower rate than $60 to $80 per smart phone? I guess we'll have to wait until next year for a new generation of phone.
  • xcomvic - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    T-Mobile will NOT be one of the "elite". It's Verizon, Sprint and AT&T
  • xcomvic - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    But yea, I really hope the competition heats up and prices come falling down for the customers...
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    I guess the extra features are nice, but I'd love to see Apple add a camera button to the side. My wife's $150 Optimus V has one, and it makes it so much easier to take steady photos than the touch screen.

    Do I understand right that there's no support for LTE and WiMax? I think that's the one thing people were hoping for. Maybe Apple didn't want the battery life to fall off from the 4.

    Lastly, why do I have to log in every time to comment? The "Remember Me" box doesn't work at all, at least not on Google Chrome. Or does it log me out every time I comment from different machines?
  • Leonick - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    Well with iOS5 you can use the volume up button to take photos.
  • rhangman - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    Believe one of the volume buttons works as a camera button now.
  • slofat1 - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    You have a market cap of 380 billion and 16 months and you come up with this lame refresh, your dead. The Chinese are going to eat your lunch. I guess it was good while it lasted. Looks like Android will rule. How in the name of god could you come out wit h such a lame product and also do it in San Joser. If i was working at Apple i would be looking for a new job quick before it tanks.
  • Leonick - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    Doubled data speeds.
    An extra core in the Cpu.
    7 times faster GPU.
    More RAM.
    A larger 64GB version for those who want.

    How is it a small tiny updated? It's a big speed bump that the iPhone didn't need to begin with for anything but looking better on the paper. Does it really need a new design to be a big update?

    As for Android, trust me I want it to be great and give iOS a run for it's money, I really do due to the wide variety of nice hardware but currently I can't even find half decent calendar and mail apps for my Galaxy Tab 7 that can even remotely compare to the iOS standard ones. Just that keeps me form switching.

    The reason Android is really going anywhere is because of all the free on cheap €10\Month contracts phones.

    Apple has nothing to worry about about...
  • kishorshack - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    Dude u get everything for free in android
    its obvious if u shed money u will get something
    but the question here is
    is apple worth the money
    and the answer is a big NO!!!!!
    thats really a lame refresh
    You are comparing it with the lame old iphone
    Obviously they had to do serious changes

    Y dont u compare it wid the competition
    it stands nowhere
    people are excited about siri

    actually i'm using such voice commands in windows phone for a year now.... i don't even need to look at a sms and i can send a reply message using voice. nothing new..
    RIP apple
  • FATCamaro - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    LOL iphone is dying. -troll

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