Tim Cook took center stage at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event today (video). After the introduction of the A5-powered iPhone 4S, we were all waiting for “one more thing” and it never came. I was in shock when there was no iPhone 5. Well, at least not today (and probably not till next year).
To be fair to Apple, everyone worked themselves (me included) into an iPhone 5 frenzy without Apple ever saying or hinting at the release of the iPhone 5. After the iPhone 3G, the next model launched was the 3GS. So, we I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised. What Apple did unveil is a great value at a competitive price point.
Looking at the 4S, it’s a pretty impressive phone. Scanning the list of iPhone 5 rumors, a lot of them came true: better processor, improved camera, world phone, voice assistant and improved download speeds. What does that leave for the iPhone 5 when it comes out: LTE (4G) support, NFC (electronic wallet), lighter, slightly larger screen and a new form factor. It’s funny, if Apple had changed the case a bit (i.e. tapered the edges a bit), the phone could have been called the iPhone 5. By the time Apple realized the expectations had been built up for the 5, the 4S was probably too far into the design cycle. Given the complex physics of radio waves, changing the housing of a phone is not trivial. As I write this I realize most of the disappointment is just about the name. We just have to get over the fact it’s not called the “iPhone 5″.
Personally, I’ve been waiting to make the jump since March when I gave up the company Blackberry. I figured the iPhone 5 would launch in the summer so why buy the iPhone 4 and have to wait two years before I could upgrade again (with the carrier subsidy). In the meantime, I went with a contract-free Android phone on Virgin Mobile. As I now launch my own business, I need a phone with a more reliable network behind it.
Right now, it’s most likely I will go with Verizon. Hopefully, I can somehow bundle Verizon’s wireless plan with my current FIOS package. Also, while I do have good coverage with AT&T at my house, it’s not as reliable in places such as Manhattan.
Still, given there was no LTE (4G) support, I will probably take a look at some of the Android phones out there such as the Motorola Atrix 4G as well as the Droid and the Thunderbolt. My gut is I’m going to go with the iPhone 4S, but I love to over-analyze decisions like this. Maybe Apple’s new voice assistant Siri could help me make up my mind.
Siri is the one of the headlines out of today’s event. More than simple voice recognition, it allows you to interact with the iPhone and its apps. Siri was a company that Apple acquired and Steve Jobs thinks of them more as artificial intelligence shop than a voice recognition one. To best understand Siri, watch the video below. It’s interesting to compare it to a video Apple put together in the early 1990s. Apple took a big step to fulfilling this vision today. To wrap up,
Complete iPhone 4S specs are here. To summarize the iPhone 4S’s new features:
- Dual core A5 processor offering 7X graphics performance over the current iPhone 4
- Improved battery life: 8 hours of 3G talk time, 9 hours surfing the web or 10 hours of watching video (incremental over the current iPhone 4)
- Siri Voice assistant: Ability to interact with the phone with plain English sentences. It can make appointments, read email, answer questions among many other things.
- World phone: One model that can operate on both GSM and CDMA networks. Verizon customers will now be able to roam internationally.
- Potential download speeds doubling to 14.4 MBps.This feature may be limited to AT&T in the US as Verizon and Sprint don’t offer HPSA+.
- 8 megapixel camera with sharper images, better color accuracy and uniformity. Ability to shoot 1080P video with stabilization. It takes only 1.1 seconds to take a picture and only half second for each subsequent picture, twice as fast as most Android phones.
- Ability to output 1080P video via video mirroring and video out. Can support 720P via Airplay.
- iOS 5 and iCloud.
- Available models: 16GB: $199, 32GB for $299, 64GB for $399. The 8 MB iPhone 4 is now available at $99 and the 3GS is free. All prices assume a contract.
- Pre-orders start on October 7th and it will be available for in-store purchase on October 14th on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
iPhone 5 Rumor Round-Up