In Apple’s first big product introduction without company founder Steve Jobs running the show, Apple unveiled its eagerly anticipated new iPhone, the iPhone 4S, The New York Times reports.
The upgrade stops short of the extensive redesign that would have warranted an “iPhone 5” designation, but still represents a significant evolution of the device.
Among the changes, the new iPhone “comes with a ‘virtual assistant,’ Siri, that recognizes voice commands by users to schedule appointments, dictate text messages and conduct Web searches,” the story reports.
The Times piece adds: “Although the new phone is virtually indistinguishable on the outside from its predecessor, the iPhone 4, the company says it is packed with better technical innards, including a more advanced camera. The phone also includes a more powerful chip known as the A5, the same microprocessor that acts as the brains inside the iPad.”
Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook, taking the spotlight after Jobs handed over the reins for medical reasons, said during the presentation at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.: “When you think about it, only Apple could make such amazing software, hardware and services and bring them together into such a powerful, yet integrated experience.”
The new device is ready for worldwide operation on GSM and CDMA cellphone networks.
The lack of a design change was a disappointment to some Apple fans, who responded negatively in online posts. On Wall Street, Apple stock fell 5%.
The device goes on sale Oct. 14, with preorders beginning this Friday. Pricing starts at $199 for a 16-gigabyte version, with the 64-gig unit listed at $399.
The story notes: “Apple will continue to sell its older iPhone 4 through its wireless carrier partners, which will drop the price to $99 from $199 when customers commit to a two-year contract. An even older model of the device, the iPhone 3GS, will be free, instead of $99, with a two-year contract.”
The new device is available on the Verizon, Sprint and AT&T networks.