Yesterday in Cupertino, a little company announced the coming release of a new cellular phone. Maybe you heard about it?

Apple will release the next generation of their popular iPhone, iPhone 4S, on October 14th in the United States. Here is the rundown of the new device in a handy-dandy list for you list nerds.

The List

  • iPhone 4S will come to AT&T, Verizon, and now Sprint in the United States
  • It will be priced starting at $199.99 for 16GB, 299.99 for 32GB, and 399.99 for 64GB while the last generation model will be reduced to $99.99 for 8GB. Of course a two year commitment is required for this pricing.
  • 4S comes in white or black (for some reason, Apple is pushing the white version hard in their promo materials)
  • The new 4S features an upgraded 8MP, 5-lense camera which will take sharper photos, have better white balance, and will supposedly challenge some of the better digital point-and-shoots on the market.
  • 4S has the updated Apple A5, 1GHz dual-core processor that has previously shipped with iPad 2.
  • 4S supports “rich” 1080p HD video recording up to 30 frames per second.
  • The antenna design has slightly changed and now 4S is a truly global device sporting CDMA and GSM bands. This allows for global use.
  • The general look and feel of the device hasn’t changed from iPhone 4; the exterior has the same dimensions.
  • iPhone 4S will sport the new Siri Assistant program that allows the user to search for things, schedule and move appointments on their calendar, email, text message, play music, dictate anywhere on the phone – basically anything that they can do on their phone – with their voice alone. Siri Assistant was the company that Apple purchased a couple of years ago for their voice technology. The company “went dark” since the purchase and yesterday was the unveiling of what they have been working on. Of note, on the iPhone 4S will contain the Siri Assistant (total bummer). This may be due to the processing demands but more likely because Apple wants you to upgrade.
  • There is a new Cards app that allows iPhone users the ability to create greeting cards right on their device with pictures from their library. The cards can then be mailed my Apple (yeah, like Postal Service, real kind of mail) to friends and family for $2.99 in the USA or $4.99 abroad.
  • iOS 5 ships on October 12th for existing iPhone customers and will be shipped with the iPhone 4S on the October 14th release date.
  • iCloud will also be able to be used on October 12th. With iCloud you can host your email, photos, calendar, contacts, music and more. 5GB for free and low prices for more storage after that.

Thoughts

Many pundits and news outlets are throwing around words that the new iPhone is “underwhelming” and that Apple hasn’t “delivered to their full potential”. In a world where we want more, better, faster (and want it all right now), this reaction is understandable. But, Apple delivers products that are polished and complete. Yes, the hardware is mostly the same, besides the upgraded camera and A5 processor, but I think that this announcement is about much more than the hardware.

Apple has single-handedly threatened Hallmark, “GTD” app makers, Gmail, Google Calendar, Instapaper, and even Dropbox by giving users new apps and access to iCloud. I am in no way saying that these apps are going anywhere soon or will be knocked-out by Apple’s stock offerings. What I am saying is that Apple is integrating services into their hardware and software lines to engrain users into their ecosystem further.

With the announcement of Siri, iPhone 4S users will be able to use their phones like mini HALs and will truly be doing some 21st Century feeling stuff. Just take a look at the iPhone 4S promo video (click on the video link under the big iPhone banner) with the man running and scheduling appointments. It’s unbelievable.

Yeah, it’s an evolution

So, while the 4S isn’t revolutionary and the software has been done on Android and other devices before, Apple has made it accessible and easier to use. Apple does an excellent job of providing their customers with use cases whereas their competitors just pile on a list of features and specs expecting that their users will just inherently know what to do with them. This is why iPhone 4S and Apple as a company is a big deal.

So, will you be picking up a new iPhone next week? Or do you think that the iPhone is gibberish and will be going for something else entirely? Let us know your thoughts and concerns in the comments!

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