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Apple slips on new iPhone 4S



The rumour mill promised so much, but new Apple CEO Tim Cook failed to fill Steve Jobs’ large shoes when the iPhone 4S unveiling turned out to be a warmed up version of its predecessor. But the new price for the old version could set the market alight. SEAN BACHER and ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK sift the fact from the rumour.

Technology watchers are nothing if not rumour-mongers. They went into overdrive in the months leading up to the unveiling of the iPhone 4S. And they ended up disappointed that it was all so predictable. But there were a few small surprises.

The one rumour everyone hoped wouldn’t be true was on the money: no iPhone 5, but rather a 4S.

Apple fans will probably excuse their failure to deliver an iPhone 5 by pointing to all the innovations on the 4S. However, the market was not only expecting an iPhone 5, but also expecting Tim Cook to show that he could follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs. While no one expected Cook to have his version of Jobs’s “one more thing”” catchphrase, they did expect to be surprised by something new.

In terms of the next big thing, the biggest surprise was that there was no surprise.

From that point of view, Cook has slipped on a banana peel. Unwrapping the new iPhone a long 15 months after the last, Cook would have wanted gasps of wonder. Instead, everyone began wondering if there would indeed be “”one more thing””.

The massive price cut on the old iPhone 4 could qualify, as it brings the cost of a viable and desirable iPhone down to below $99. Not much was made of that, but it is an announcement on a par with dropping Kindle e-readers down to below $100.

At $99, the iPhone 4 is suddenly the best smartphone deal in the world. It should sell even faster than it did before.

Just because the new phone is the 4S, though, doesn’t mean it is running short of a few 5s. For instance, the iPhone 4S uses Apple’s new iOS5 as well as the A5 processor used in the iPad 2 – and made by arch-rival Samsung.

Other phone manufacturers will be relieved that Apple has not managed, once again, to raise the bar beyond their ability to compete. The 4S is a great phone for those who had been considering the iPhone, but offers too little to set the market alight the way the previous version had done. Current sales momentum for the iPhone 4 will, however, make it appear that Apple has another iPhone winner on its hands.

Either way, the iPhone is not going away as the driving force in the smartphone market.

In the past, Apple was forgiven for not taking a big leap forward. the problem is that it set such a high standard for those leaps, it had come to be expected – and is no doubt unfair on the brand, if market sentiment can ever be described as “”unfair””. But it has been 15 months since the last version, and the smartphone market is not a patient one.

Either way, the pressure will now be on Tim Cook to deliver in spades on the Apple brand promise of setting the standard all others must follow. He may well be keeping his powder dry to come out guns blazing early in 2012.

Rumour: It won’t be an iPhone 5, but a 4S (which would be bad news for the brand)

Fact: Apple has announced the iPhone 4S.

Rumour: It will have a tear-shaped design

Fact: The iPhone 4S will use the same form-factor as the iPhone 4.

Rumour: Two iPhones will be launched.

Fact: No. Apple has only launched the iPhone 4S. A let-down for many.

Rumour: Apple will launch a low-cost variant of the iPhone 4, made with cheaper parts, selling at $99, and aimed at the developing world.

Fact: A hint of truth. At the time of launch, Apple announced the iPhone 4S at a price of $199. However, the old iPhone 4 will sell at $99 from October 14. Considering that it is still a highly desirable phone in its own right, savvy cellphone users who had considered it but not yet opted for it may now make the leap from other brands.

Rumour: iPhone 5 will be slimmer.

Fact: The iPhone 4S is the same size as the 4.

Rumour: The new iPhone will match the size of the older iPhone 4.

Confirmed: Confirmed. It uses the same shell.

Rumour: It will run on a Qualcomm chip, which will allow for faster HSPA+ connectivity.

Fact: Way off track. It uses the A5 dual core processor built by arch-rival Samsung for the iPad.

Rumour: It will have greater processing power. Duh.

Fact: Confirmed. The A5 chipset in the new iPhone compared to the A4 used in the previous model will provide significantly more power.

Rumour: It will have increased RAM.

Fact: Confirmed. Double, in fact. The iPhone 4S comes with 1GB RAM, compared to 512MB for the iPhone 4.

Rumour: It will use a more advanced battery, which will offer more up-time.

Fact: Apple claims eight hours of talk over 3G, and 14 hours on 2G. Web browsing over 3G cuts off at six hours. Using WiFi, Apple says, you’ll get a respectable nine hours of web browsing. Video playback tops out at 10 hours and music at 40 hours. The lithium-ion battery technology, however, is not revolutionary.

Rumour: It will use the latest, updated iOS5 software. Double duh.

Fact: Confirmed. It uses Apple’s iOS5 operating system. But then, says Apple, so will the older iPhones going back to version 3, as their OS can be updated to the new version.

Rumour: It will have better camera functionality, with an 8 Megapixel lens.

Fact: Confirmed. The iPhone 4S will uses an 8MP sensor with 60% more pixels than the iPhone 4 and can gather 73% more light, so it should be faster to take better pictures.

Rumour: It will have advanced voice control functionality.

Fact: Yes, the iPhone 4S will include Siri Personal Assistant for voice control. Apple bought Siri last year.

Rumour: It will have a voice-controlled virtual personal assistant that will integrate voice commands and requests with Cloud services, including e-commerce and travel bookings. Siri promises natural language processing, meaning you can talk to your phone. Score one for looking silly when you have a misunderstanding with the device.

Fact: Confirmed.

Rumour: It will have stronger Twitter integration.

Fact: Confirmed. Apple has integrated Twitter deeply into the OS. Integration includes photos with the ability to take the photo and tweet it directly.

Rumour: It will have an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip, so it can double as a swipe device for mobile payments.

Fact: No, it only has an iWallet app to manage payments.

Rumour: It will be available within two weeks of the announcement, and even as little as 7 days

Fact: Confirmed. The iPhone 4S will be available in the USA from 12 October.

(South African availability will be announced by the major networks)

The full specifications:


White or Black

Capacity and cost

16GB $199

32GB $299

64GB $399

Size and Weight

Height: 4.5 inches (115.2 mm)

Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)

Depth: 0.37 inch (9.3 mm)

Weight: 4.9 ounces (140 grams)

Cellular and Wireless



Camera, Photos, and Video

External Buttons and Connectors

External Buttons and Controls

Connectors and Input/Output

Power and Battery

Audio Playback

TV and Video


Mail Attachment Support

Viewable Document Types

.jpg, .tiff, .gif (images): .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word): .htm and .html (web pages): .key (Keynote): .numbers (Numbers): .pages (Pages): .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat): .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint): .txt (text): .rtf (rich text format): .vcf (contact information): .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel)


System Requirements

Mac System Requirements

PC System Requirements

Environmental Requirements


Language Support

English (U.S.), English (UK), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Keyboard Support

English (U.S.), English (UK), Chinese – Simplified (Handwriting, Pinyin, Wubihua), Chinese – Traditional (Handwriting, Pinyin, Zhuyin, Cangjie, Wubihua), French, French (Canadian), French (Switzerland), German (Germany), German (Switzerland), Italian, Japanese (Romaji, Kana), Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cherokee, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Emoji, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic/Latin), Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Dictionary Support (enables predictive text and autocorrect)

English (U.S.), English (UK), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, French (Canadian), French (Switzerland), German, Italian, Japanese (Romaji, Kana), Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan, Cherokee, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Siri Languages

English (U.S., UK, and Australian), French, German

In the Box

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @seanbacher and Arthur on @art2gee

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