Apple Spills Details On the New iPhone 4S

Apple is finally sharing the formalized specs on the iPhone 4S, and they confirm much of what we've suspected. The new phone looks nearly identical to the current iPhone 4, but is reportedly "all new" inside. Many analysts have speculated that the new iPhone 4S will fix the antenna issues that plagued the original iPhone 4. The phone may share the iPhone 4's brand, but the internal specs are significantly refreshed.

The new iPhone 4S is nearly identical in appearance to the iPhone 4.

Graphics performance is up to 7x higher than the iPhone 4 and the phone will use the dual-core A5 CPU that powers the iPad, albeit at a (probable) lower operating frequency. Apple claims the CPU is up to twice as fast as the iPhone 4's, with support for graphical features like crepuscular rays (God rays) courtesy of the new GPU. Apple claims that the new phone will offer up to 8 hours of 3G talk time, 14 hours of 2G talk time, and six hours of 3G browsing. Unlike previous iPhones, the 4S is a dual-antenna phone and supports both GSM and CDMA.

The camera has also gotten a substantial overhaul; Apple increased the camera's sensor to 8MP and now supports 3264x2448 resolution. The new illumination sensor can reportedly capture 73 percent more light per pixel, is 33 percent faster, and allows for better color accuracy and more color uniformity. The phone is now capable of 1080P video capture and real-time video stabilization, and can mirror content being streamed to an AppleTV via AirPlay.

The price for all these goodies is a bit disappointing--the new iPhone 4S will be $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB. The iPhone 4 will be available for $99 (8GB flavor), and--in contrast to what we expected--the iPhone 3GS will be free. All of these prices, including the 3GS, require a two-year contract.

Preorders on the iPhone 4S will start October 7; the phone will be available on October 15. Availability will be across AT&T, Verizon, and new partner Sprint. 

Opinions around the office on the new iPhone are mixed. Yours truly thinks the iPhone 4 is a definite step forward for the series, particularly where the new camera, 1080P video playback, and much-improved game performance and battery life are concerned, but others *coughcoughMARCOcoughcough* think Apple is relying on brand loyalty to trump customer sense and points out that features like 4G and 1080P playback have been available on competitor products for quite awhile. Apple claims that the new 4S will deliver 4G-like performance on 3G hardware--a claim that, if true, trumps support for a standard that hasn't reached much of the US yet.

There was no mention of the much-anticipated iPhone 5. If Sprint truly bought itself an exclusive launch, it isn't getting the product announcement today.