Apple iPhone 4S: Everything You Need To Know

Apple's new iPhone 4S is just last year's design loaded with a new brain and more memory. It will run your apps faster and Apple's new iOS 5's Assistant, an artificial intelligence program that listens and interprets your orders, and a new camera.

It just looks exactly the same, but there's plenty of changes inside:


It's the same old design as the iPhone 4. Nothing to say here. Same materials, same look.

The Guts

CPU and graphics: The iPhone 4S now has the iPad 2's dual-core A5 CPU. It also has dual-core graphics, which will allow for faster and more detailed 3D. Apple claims this hardware combination makes the iPhone 4S seven times as fast as the iPhone 4 on games, and two times as fast on normal tasks.

Apple didn’t discuss the amount of RAM the 4S has, so we know it has at least the 512 that the iPhone 4 had. But we wouldn’t be shocked if Apple beefed in this area to help Siri out. When the iPad 2 came out, they quietly doubled the RAM in that as well.

Internet speed: As rumoured, the new iPhone 4S runs on faster HSPA+ networks. That means that your telephone will download stuff faster from the internet. Before it was up to 7.2Mbps downloads. Now they claim two times as much: 14.4Mbps. This depends on the carrier, of course.

Apple claims that, in real life situations, they are fast or "faster" as the competition's phone on faster 4G networks. We will test that claim.

More: iPhone 4S Doesn’t Care About 4G

New camera: There's a new camera in the iPhone 4S. Its sensor is 8MP, compared to the previous 5MP. Much better than before. The most interesting thing is the sensor, however: It's a CMOS backside illuminated sensor. Apple says that gets you 73 per cent more light than the iPhone 4 sensor. The latter was already quite impressive, so I can't wait to try this one. Apple has also remodelled the lens system, with five lens elements. They say they get now f2.4, which is very good.

The camera system is also faster than the previous version. More: What’s So Great About The iPhone’s New Camera? New HD video: With the new sensor and new lens system, the camera now shots video at 1080p video with real-time image stabilisation and temporal noise reduction.

Battery life: Apple claims the new processor doesn't impact the life of the battery. All the contrary. They say it will give you eight hours talking battery life with 3G networks. If you set your phone to 2G, you will get 14 hours of talk time. 3G web browsing will give you six hours of battery life, while Wi-Fi access runs up to nine hours.

Video playback sets the battery at an impressive 10 hours maximum, while music goes up to 40 hours. These numbers best the iPhone 4's previous theoretical battery life.

New antenna design: Apple says that they have changed the antenna system, presumably to solve the signal attenuation problem. More: Apple Fixed The Antenna Problem In The iPhone 4S (Hopefully)

• Storage: The iPhone comes now with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage.

Siri, the Smart Assistant

Apple is also including Siri in the iPhone 4S, which will only run in this model (and presumably the iPad 2). The reason is the need for a faster A5 processor.

It can call people, play music, send and receive text messages and emails, reading them with a natural human voice or set up events and meetings, remind you of stuff... You can also dictate in any app.

But the key about Siri, according to Apple, is that it isn't just voice recognition. It really understands natural language and follows complex commands. It's conversational too, so it will reply back to you and you can reply back to it. Think Enterprise's computer vs the current crop of voice recognition software.

This thing actually seems smart, judging by the demos. It actually interprets what you are saying. You don't talk to it using commands. You just talk to it like you would talk to another person. So instead of asking "tell me the weather today" you can just say "Do I need a raincoat?" and it will reply "It sure does look like rain today!" Or if you say "Wake me up tomorrow at 6am" it will automatically set up the alarm for you. Or "hey, remind me to buy milk later" and it will remind you to buy milk as you pass near a supermarket -- yes, Siri is location aware.

Siri also pulls information from Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha to give you smart answers to your questions. You can even ask him for definitions, which Siri will read out loud.

Apple has not disclosed if Siri would be available for developers, but I don't see why not. It's only logical to expect all apps to be integrated in the assistant flow, so you can ask Siri to buy you two tickets for Avengers playing around 7 on a Sunday. That's the kind of stuff this thing seems able to do, although we would have to try it to know.

Siri will only support English, French and German in this release. Apple says that they will keep expanding the services as time goes by.

Australian Price and Availability

The iPhone 4S will be available in black and white. The 16GB model will be $799, 32GB for $899 and 64GB for $999 in Australia. An 8GB iPhone 4 will be available in black for $679.

Pre-orders start on October 8 in Australia, and ship from October 14.

iPhone 4S international availability: Initially, the iPhone 4S will only be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.



    Apple to world: Ok that's it.. we're oficially out of ideas. Hope you enjoyed the show.

      Well, Apple's not really big on "original".

      Their thing is "we'll make something that's shiny, and expensive, but also very functional and useful and hope that people like it".

      I think mobile technology is wonderful, whatever sort of OS it's running. I've had Androids, iPhones, a Palm and a Blackberry. They're all good.

    This makes me extremely happy that I just bought a Samsung Galaxy SII.

      Ditto, sgsII ftw :) still snappy as ever... even with all of Telstra's Bloatware

        Or a WP7 one :)

          Now that's just going too far dude! Even the original iPhone would be preferred to a WP7 device ;p

          or a nokia n900 AHAHAHAHA from the dust ;)

    Holy crap this is funny. I'm sure the fb's at work will be taking a sickie today out of depression and bruised egos. Today will be a great day. Now where is my sgs2?

    yet again its apple!!
    Marketing guys are doing well better than the actual designers of the products.
    i'll still buy it :D

    Once again, Australians get screwed. Can someone please explain how 199, 299 and 399 translates to 799, 899 and 999? :(

      The US prices are the carrier-locked, contract prices. It's always been the way. Locally, you're more likely to see $0 (or minimal monthly repay) on a contract, rather than the outright prices in the US. Once you factor in the US contract, the disparity is unlikely to be as large as it first appears.

      God, this question comes up ALL THE TIME. Learn to read properly, dammit.

    It has 512GB of RAM?

      512GB RAM? It must be true :-) I'll be buying a bunch just to cannibalize for the incredible superdense memory.
      Maybe correct the table guys.

        512MB RAM not confirmed, its only the supposed bare minimum it will have, but whispers on the internet suggest it has been doubled to 1GB RAM which I would have expected in order for them to stay in line with the (fierce) competition.

      Yes, yes it is. My HTC Incredible S, while not dual core, is smiling knowing it can remember more than the iPhone 4S

    This announcement made me realize I'm not as much of a fanboy as I thought.

    It's an incremental upgrade. Is it disappointing? Sure. Do I care? Not really. Am I open to going to a new platform this time next year if nothing amazing happens in the meantime? Absolutely.

    Oh well, time to wait for Nokia World for their WP7 stuff.


        Woah, we just agreed on a point!

        WP7 really is amazing.

          WP7? Really? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... no seriously, you think Nokia can survive this disaster their former MS employee CEO dragged them into. I hope they do, competition is great, but I just don't see many people or business willing to give MS a second chance after being screwed by them again and again.

    I'm not sure if you noticed, but your chart says the 4GS gets 512G of ram.....

    Wow... The iPhone 4 was already getting looking pretty sad compared to recent Android phones, so I was expecting them to at least try to catch up. Nope.

    And still no NFC? That's just embarrassing, Apple.

    Not that it will really matter in the end. After all, we all know Apple sales are all about the marketing rather than the quality of the product.

      just out of curiosity, what do you currently use NFC on your phone for here in Australia?

      I've got a SGS2 and I've never used NFC

      Also the 512mb has a star next to it... meaning it's unconfirmed... read the article properly rather than blindly following the chart... better still wait for a teardown to get some ACCURATE informatio...

      it's poorly informed arguments that give apple fanboys ammunition.. think before you type people

        Heh hate to break it to you, but NFC isn't implemented in the Australian SGS2's... it's only in the US 4.5" version.
        *shrugs* I still love my SGS2 though =)

    Here we go. Only thing worse than apple fanboys is the even worse anti-fanboys. If a PC had that sort of processor hike you'd be more than pleased. The haters generate the most hype of all.

      and the only thing worse then the anti-fanbois are those who complain about it!

      So you defend this announcement by saying 'Apple haters will never be happy because they just want a better phone' - If you want to pay good money for a phone that is already 12 months out date be my guest.

      The first step to dealing with a problem is admit you have a problem. Apple drops a truly crappy release and you spout the inevitable 'haters are going to hate' immature defence.

      Yeah I think its a pretty good upgrade. The only things missing from most of the level headed iPhone 5 rumours (besides the name itself) are the larger screen and teardrop design. Besides that it has all the other specs as well as bringing 64GB capacity with it. It ticks almost all the boxes as far as I'm concerned, especially if you include iOS5 in there.

    Not to mention that trashing the iPhone in one breath and hyping the Galaxy is exactly the same moronic thing. Congrats, hypocrites!

      Can't agree with Matt more! all these phones are great and amazing compared to phone 5 years ago.
      Can we stop with the hyperbole?

        Apple invented time travel to find technology this old!

      Sad fanboy is sad.

        This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

          Lucky for you trolls are make-believe :D

          Go on, admit it. Once you get over your anger you are going to go the Apple store and buy one anyway like a good little IBot.

          Off you go, there's a good boy.


      by the way WP7 is awesome

        I agree :)

          So do i

      It'magical! Amazing! Revolutionary! Oh wait,...

      it's boring :-(, dated :-(, regressive :-(

      Apple is really looking tired.

    While I'm disappointed there was no 'upgrade' to the externals, the internals were pretty much what I was hoping for (A5 process and 8 MP camera). My contract on my 3Gs is now up so I guess I'll be upgrading to the 4s.

    I'll stick with my good ol' 4 thanks. Sheeez all that hype and shenanigans for nothing.

    While we still have to wait on Ice Cream Sandwich to rear its head, IOS 5 seems to do a whole lot more than Gingerbread can. You cant just focus on the tech specs. Siri + iCloud are big enhancements if they work to perfection

      But Siri + iCloud aren't exactly "new".. My Galaxy S2 has a voice control feature.. and Google themselves have one too.. "Show me a map with a pharmacy on X street in Y", "send text to contact", "send email to contact. Hi (comma) let's meet for lunch at ten thirty (full stop) (new paragraph) Regards (comma) (new line) light487".. etc etc..

      When they announced Siri, I was like.. "uhmm... I wonder if Samsung is going to sue Apple over this tech.. or Google sue Apple"...

      I'm sorry.. but no. These are just gimmicks. They are gimmicks on the Galaxy and they are gimmicks on the iPhone.

        I have a galaxy s2. Ive tried the voice control and it doesn't register my voice half the time so I agree its a gimmick. I was just making the point that if apple get it right it might be a useful feature

          It's true.. and I agree with you, on both counts. I was just pointing out that it is not something that should be the main point of the phone, either of them..

          It's a real shame that there was something truly revolutionary about iOS 5 or the 4S.. as much as I love the Galaxy, I do feel a sincere sympathy for the iPhone 4S

            You feel sincere sympathy for an inanimate object?

            You are talking like it looks like a middle aged fat partner who doesn't put out anymore,... oh wait it's the Iphone4s - good call.

    I have to say that I am actually a little shocked at how ugly it looks. I wasn't expecting a total overhaul of the 4S (if it had been the 5, then sure..) but man.. that is one ugly phone. It even makes the screen look a lot smaller.. that is, it emphasises that the 3.5" screen is actually rather small by current standards.

    I'm a Galaxy S2 owner but I am not anti-Apple in so far as if it was a reasonably priced phone that looked good and functioned well, I wouldn't not buy it.. but there's no way I could consider the 4S.

    This is just my opinion and reaction.. nothing more. My girlfriend has iPhone4 and prior to getting my Galaxy, I was more than a little envious of it. I also own a iPod Touch.. so definitely not anti-Apple..

      Uh, the 4S has the exact same external design as the 4...that's kind of the whole reason for everybody's disappointment.

      Personally I'm a little sad that the screen isn't bigger, but I do like the design of the 4 and my 3GS is getting a bit long in the tooth so I can't wait to upgrade!

      You own a Galaxy SII and you think this iphone is "ugly"?
      The Galaxy SII is one of the closest phones in appearance to these iphones in the whole world.. apart from the fakes of course.

    Lol all the hype for nothing. SGS2 still owns it.

    epic fail

    I was eagerly awaiting this new release, hoping it would be an upgrade from my galaxy s2. I had an iPhone 4 upgraded to galaxy s2 when it was released, and thought this would be the next big thing =(

    I can't believe they even used the same casing, why make something that doesn't measure up to it's competition in any way. I guess they just want to save money and cash in on the people who will buy it so they can say they've got it.

    Apple: We are bringing out a new iPhone, get excited!
    Public: Will it look any Different?
    Apple: No....
    Public: What are the new software features as opposed to the iPhone 4?
    Apple: After the IOS 5 update, none....
    Public: So what is different then??
    Apple: We put a better camera in it, and a new processor. Pretty impressive right?
    Public: No!

    Well done Apple, all you have done is tweaked the new iPhone to match what is already on the market from HTC and Samsung. Way to lead the pack!

      Samsung: We have a new Galaxy.
      Public: Will it look any different?
      Samsung: YES !!!! :D
      Public: What new things does it do?
      Samsung: Errr.. Nothing but it does fix some of the bugs that make the old one unusable. ummm it runs the latest apps.
      Public: but i already have the old Galaxy.
      Samsung: Ah HUH.. new programs only work on the new one.
      Public: So what about my 1 year old phone?
      Samsung: What? I literally have no idea what you're talking about.

      There's only ever one Android phone that got it right and that's the perpetual next one.

        HTC: We have a new phone the Titan!!!
        Public: Will it look any different?
        HTC: Similar to the HD7.
        Public: What new things does it do?
        HTC: It'll run faster but the old phones will also get Mango - it's an incremental upgrade.
        Public: but i already have the old HD7.
        HTC: That's cool too, you get all the same stuff but your phone won't be as quick.
        Public: Isn't that similar to what Apple are doing 3 months later?
        HTC: Yea... Props to them for trying though!

          Yeah, Microsoft are doing it right. Still a bit early in the product cycle to jump in. I'm expecting Windows 8 on a phone to be mega next year.

        Sorry? The SII is extremely different to the SI when it comes to internals, not just it's flatter, bigger exterior. It does any "new" stuff the software and hardware allows, just like any upgrade.
        If you want to do the same "new" stuff on the older model it won't do as well, just like what happened with every iphone model so far.

    The 4s was everything I expected. I don't see why people where expecting more. When the 3G went to the 3Gs was the same thing. Changed on the inside but left mostly unchanged on the outside. If I was to buy outright will be the only way I'll get the 4s as my contract ends mid next year.

      Exactly.. but people were expecting the iPhone 5.. not iPhone 4S.. had they been expecting the iPhone 4S, I think they would be feeling just like you.

        I was expecting the iPhone 4S and this announcement was pretty much exactly what I was after.

        Now I have to work out if I should upgrade my iPhone 3GS to a Blackberry, Galaxy S2 or iPhone 4S. Going to be a tough decision but I'm leaning towards the 4S simply because of my familiarity with iOS. I bet that there are more than a few people in a similar position to me.

          I agree.

          I use custom audio books a lot and itunes has been great. That makes me lean towards 4S.

          Its a funny world when your phone choice is based on something nothing to do with a phone.

        That's what you get for reading/listening to rumours.

        Everyone on board the hype train!

    I just want to point out the cheap tactic of putting Adele behind the video. I think her music is good, but it's a cheap tactic none the less.

    Trolls, trolls everywhere

      No, just people taking pleasure in the suffering of FB's.

      I think they call it "Ischadenfreude"

    Get over it.

    They made multiple Iphone 3 series phones.. it was bound to happen. People only expected the 5 because they bought into the rumours.

    As for me, i usually like super fast stuff... but i had a 3gs .. it broke so i borrowed a 3 which was slow, then i got given a 4. Im content.

    So i'll say again... who cares about not having a 5, 4S was a smart move for people who havent got a 4 yet.

      The only person who gets it.


    Apple better keep up with the lawsuits if thats all they've got.

    iPhone 4s: A contending phone, at double the price. This changes everything, all over again.

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