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iPhone 4S – Apple refines current model

An iPhone 4

No iPhone 5 in sight, as Apple takes the expected path and upgrades its current design

This evening Apple did exactly what most commentators thought it would – announce an upgraded iPhone 4 rather than a totally new iPhone 5. Easiest to predict was the addition of the A5 processor from the current iPad, a dual-core chip that brings the smartphone and tablet in line in terms of processing power – good news for app developers, and particularly for gamers.

Despite this, battery life has apparently been improved too – though that’s talk-time, as we’d imagine running full pelt the new processor must be more power hungry than the old one. No mention of the screen, so we presume that’s the same Retina display – no need to change it anyway, though we wonder if it will be better protected – time will tell.

Other improvements include an updated 8-megapixel camera, with some impressive looking performance, in terms of speed anyway – the first shot taking just 1.1 seconds and the next half-a-second later.

There are now two antennas in the phone, and the redesign will undoubtedly have banished any of the reception problems of the first model. There’s HSDPA too for faster internet connections, and the phone will work worldwide on all networks – good for travellers and good for Apple’s stock management.

American pricing will be $199, $299 and $399 for the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions respectively – all available in white and black. Those prices are with a two-year contract. So it’s certainly not the cut-price iPhone that many people thought might extend the market. The iPhone 4 is now $99 on a similar contract and the 3GS is still around and will be free on that contract.

Our reaction is a big shrug, nothing here that you couldn’t guess beforehand, and the pricing is a big disappointment. It fixes the iPhone 4’s issues and keeps it up-to-date hardware wise with the dual-core competition. Apple certainly won’t be extending its market share downwards by simply reducing the price of older hardware, people usually prefer something new and cheap than something old and cut-price when it comes to phones.

Anyhow, pre-orders will start on October 7th and sales on October 14th. That’s US of course, no confirmed dates for the UK, but we’re hoping they should be the same. So we should be able to bring you a full review very soon.

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