San Francisco, Oct 4 (): Apple Inc. launched a new, more powerful version of its wildly popular smartphone on Tuesday — more than a year after it launched the iPhone 4. Apple is predicted to easily top its personal best of 1.7 million handsets sold in three days with the launch of the iPhone 4S.
There had been speculation that Apple would reveal a more radical revision of the phone, an “iPhone 5.” The no-show leaves room for speculation that Apple will reveal a new model in less than a year, perhaps one equipped to take advantage of Verizon’s and AT&T’s new high-speed data networks.
Apple is including a “personal assistant” application called Siri in the iPhone 4S. It responds to spoken questions and commands such as “Do I need an umbrella today?” It’s an advanced version of speech-recognition apps found on other phones.
The new iPhone also comes with new mobile software that includes such features as the ability to sync content wirelessly, without having to plug the device to a Mac or Windows machine.
The iPhone 4S boasts an improved camera and significantly extended battery life. It will run the latest iOS5 operating system, which is set for release on 12 October. The event was the first major announcement for new boss Tim Cook who took over from Steve Jobs in August.
The iPhone 4S, which will go on sale on 14 October, will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models – in both black and white. However, Apple said that updates to iOS meant the phone would boast some “200 new features”.
The iPhone 4S will cost $199 for a 16 gigabyte version, $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB all with a two-year service contract requirement. It will now be available through Sprint Nextel Corp., besides the existing carriers, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.
Apple said October 12 will also mark the launch of its new iCloud service, which will store content such as music, documents, apps and photos on Apple’s servers and let people access them wirelessly on numerous devices.
Apple also touted the popularity of its products and unveiled a new line of iPods, including a Nano model with a multi-touch display that promises to be easier to navigate. Apple made no mention of its Classic model, which many people had speculated the company might discontinue.
The event took place in Apple’s Town Hall room, where the first iPod was launched a decade ago. Mr. Cook said Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods worldwide so far, including 45 million in the 12 months through June.