Like the A4 chip used in the iPhone 4, the A5 is based on an ARM Cortex design ; the latter, however is a dual-core processor built on the Cortex A9 that runs at 1Ghz. Calling it Apple's first "world phone," Schiller said that the new model will support both CDMA- and GSM-based networks, the two most popular standards used by mobile carriers, eliminating the need to stock different phones for, say, AT&T and Verizon customers in the U.S. A pair of antennas in the iPhone 4S, as well as supporting circuitry and chipsets, allow the single model to connect to both types of networks, said Schiller.
"Our engineering system has worked really hard at advancing the state of the art," said Schiller. "[The iPhone 4S] can now intelligently switch between the two antennas between transmit and receive." As expected, the new iPhone sports a higher-resolution camera with an 8-megapixel sensor, a 60 percent improvement over the 5-megapixel camera in the iPhone 4. For shooting video, the camera now includes stabilization technology to produce less jitter when hand-held and will shoot 1080p video.
Also as predicted, Apple did not roll out a smartphone designed specifically for the faster LTE, often called "4G," networks. "I think it would have been a mistake" for Apple to brave the LTE waters, said Milanesi, since that faster standard has not yet been widely deployed.
Apple's decision to not make a move on LTE, or other features found in Android smartphones, such as a larger screen, show that the company is comfortable with its current strategy, she added.
"For those expecting that pressure from Android would force Apple to go faster, and not follow the iPhone 4 with the iPhone 4S -- as it did with the 3G and then the 3GS -- it's clear that Apple doesn't feel that is that much pressure from Android," said Milanesi.
Among her highlights for the iPhone 4S was Apple's new "Siri" voice-controlled assistant, which will work only on the newest model.
During today's event, Apple's head of iOS development, Scott Forstall, demonstrated Siri. Later, Apple said that a beta of the voice-controlled agent will be available when the iPhone 4S appears.
Siri listens to natural-language instructions, and acts accordingly, letting users dictate email and text messages, set reminders, get directions, search the Web and more by simply talking to their iPhone.
In 2010, Apple acquired Siri, a maker of a personal assistant app for the iPhone, for a reported US$200 million. Previously, reports surfaced that Apple combined the technology from Siri with that of Nuance, the company best known for its Dragon Dictate line of voice recognition software, but Apple did not mention the latter today.
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