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Breaking down the iPhone 4S

Courtesy of Apple

Apple announced their next iPhone on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S. The phone will be available for pre-order on Oct. 7 and will be released on Oct. 14 on the AT&T, Verizon and Sprint networks. Here’s a breakdown of its features.

Design

The iPhone 4S features essentially the same design as the iPhone 4. The only minor difference is that the iPhone 4S will weigh 140 grams, whereas the iPhone 4 weighed 137 grams.

Siri

The big draw to the iPhone 4S is Siri, a state-of-the-art voice-control system. In Apple’s iPhone 4S marketing video, users are seen asking Siri to remind them to do things when they get home, where certain restaurants are and can basically control everything for which you would use your phone. Since there was no major redesign on this iPhone, Siri functionality, which is available exclusively on the iPhone 4S, is the phone’s big hook.

Processor

The iPhone 4S will feature an Apple A5 dual-core processor, an upgrade from the iPhone 4’s A4 single-core processor. Using the same processor as the iPad 2, Apple says the iPhone 4S will be seven times faster than its predecessor, which will be a welcome upgrade for gamers.

Operating system

The iPhone 4S will come loaded with iOS 5, Apple’s new operating system, which will be available to download free on Oct. 12. IOS 5 will include a revamped notification and reminder system, as well as “Newsstand,” which will aggregate publications from news outlets, and Twitter (though not Facebook) integration, among other new features.

Cloud

Apple’s cloud software, iCloud, will be introduced in iOS5, and can sync all of your documents, photos and so on, so they can be shared across Apple devices.

Display

There’s no real upgrade in the iPhone 4S display. The screen is still 3.5 inches, which is smaller than the 4.3-inch screens on other smartphones similar in quality to the iPhone. It will retain the “Retina Display” and 960-by-640 resolution of the iPhone 4.

Camera

One of the biggest upgrades is the move from the iPhone 4’s five-megapixel camera to the 4S’s eight-megapixel camera. The camera is also capable of shooting 1080p video with image stabilization, an upgrade from the 720p capabilities on the iPhone 4. It will retain the front-facing camera and rear flash but is supposed to have improved light sensitivity.

Storage

The iPhone 4S will be available in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models. The iPhone 4 was only available in 16 GB and 32 GB models.

Antenna

After complaints about the poor performance of the iPhone 4’s antenna, Apple says the iPhone 4S will not only get better reception, but feature support for both CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) and GSM (AT&T) signals, meaning one device will work for customers on all three networks and virtually all networks worldwide.

Battery life

The iPhone 4S is a minor upgrade in battery life, being able to handle eight hours of 3G talk time, compared to only seven hours on the iPhone 4.

Price

The iPhone 4S will be priced $199, $299 and $399 on contract based on the corresponding storage space. The iPhone 4 will start at $99 when the iPhone 4S is released.

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