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Apple's iPhone 4S smartphone. Image provided by Apple Inc. Apple iPhone 4S brings new imaging features
(Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 18:01 EDT)

Cupertino, CA-based Apple Inc. has today announced its latest iPhone-series smartphone, and it's not the much-rumored iPhone 5, but instead a more modest update to the existing model dubbed the iPhone 4S.

Physically, the Apple iPhone 4S is very similar to the preceding iPhone 4. The exterior design is pretty-much unchanged, with the same 3.5-inch, 960 x 640 pixel touchscreen, exactly the same chassis dimensions, and a near-identical weight. (The 4S is just a scant three grams / 0.1 ounces heavier than its predecessor, an increase of some 2%.)

Of course, the imaging features of the iPhone 4S will be of most interest to Imaging Resource readers, and here there are some quite significant differences, at least for the rear camera. The fixed aperture of the iPhone 4S' new five-element, fixed focal length lens has been increased slightly, from f/2.8 in the iPhone 4, to f/2.4 in the iPhone 4S. The actual focal length is somewhat more telephoto, at 4.3mm on the new model, versus 3.85mm on the earlier smartphone. Apple also references a new hybrid infrared filter, said to assist in providing more accurate and uniform color. Sensor resolution has been raised from five to eight megapixels, and the iPhone 4S now sports face detection capability capable of accounting for up to ten faces in a single scene.

Video capture specs for the rear camera have also been upgraded, and the iPhone 4S is now capable of Full HD (1080p; 1,920 x 1080 pixel) video capture with audio, at a progressive-scan rate of 30 frames per second, where the earlier model was limited to 720p (1,280 x 720 pixel) capture. In addition, there's now a video stabilization function, although this is software based, rather than true mechanical stabilization.

The rear camera continues to offer autofocus capability, and still offers up an LED-based flash for night shooting of nearby subjects. This is said to have been refined, although Apple doesn't specify what's been changed. The front-facing camera specs look to be unchanged, offering only VGA (640 x 480 pixel) standard-def capture at 30 frames per second.

The iPhone 4S sports a new dual-core Apple A5 processor, and tweaked imaging algorithms said to improve color accuracy, white balance, and dynamic range of its images. Apple also claims "zero shutter lag", and suggests that the iPhone 4S' design offers up " an image signal processor that’s just as good as the ones found in DSLR cameras". Shot-to-shot time is said to have been halved, although no precise spec is given.

In other areas, upgrades including greater maximum capacity, with three different capacity options offered (16GB, 32GB, or 64GB). There's also uprated Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and an increase in 3G standby / talk time, but a simultaneous decrease in battery life when using wifi. The iPhone 4S ships with the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 5, which will also be available from mid-October for the iPhone 3GS and 4, as well as the iPad and iPad 2, and some iPod Touch models.

The Apple iPhone 4S goes on sale worldwide from mid to late October 2011. US pricing is set at around $200 for the 16GB model, $300 for the 32GB model, or $400 for the 64GB model. Several sample images shot with its new rear camera can be found on the Apple website.

Taking a picture with the upgraded rear camera in Apple's iPhone 4S. Image provided by Apple Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Taking a picture with the upgraded rear camera in Apple's iPhone 4S.
Image provided by Apple Inc.

Original Source Press Release:

Apple Launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5 & iCloud

iPhone 4S Features Dual-Core A5 Chip, All New Camera, Full 1080p HD Video Recording & Introduces Siri

CUPERTINO, California—October 4, 2011—Apple® today announced iPhone® 4S, the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple’s dual-core A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri™, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. With the launch of iPhone 4S also comes the launch of iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features; and iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices.

“iPhone 4S plus iOS 5 plus iCloud is a breakthrough combination that makes the iPhone 4S the best iPhone ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “While our competitors try to imitate iPhone with a checklist of features, only iPhone can deliver these breakthrough innovations that work seamlessly together.”

iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 200 new features including Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption and iMessage™, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users. iOS 5 will also be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers allowing them to experience these amazing new features.*

iPhone 4S also introduces Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Siri understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, for example, if you ask “Will I need an umbrella this weekend?” it understands you are looking for a weather forecast. Siri is also smart about using the personal information you allow it to access, for example, if you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mom when I get home” it can find “Mom” in your address book, or ask Siri “What’s the traffic like around here?” and it can figure out where “here” is based on your current location. Siri helps you make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and more. You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking.

iCloud is a breakthrough set of free cloud services, including iTunes® in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that work seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. When content changes on one device, all your other devices are updated automatically and wirelessly.

iPhone 4S includes an all new camera with the most advanced optics of any phone. The 8 megapixel sensor has 60 percent more pixels so you can take amazing high quality photos with more detail than ever. iPhone 4S includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter that produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images. The Apple-designed image signal processor in the A5 dual-core chip is built for performance, and coupled with the features built into iOS 5, makes the camera one of the fastest on any phone. With iPhone 4S, the Camera app launches much faster and the shot to shot capability is twice as fast, so you'll never miss another shot.

Cropping a photo with the Apple iPhone 4S. Image provided by Apple Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Cropping a photo with the Apple iPhone 4S.
Image provided by Apple Inc.

New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject; and the new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go. New iOS 5 features include built-in Twitter integration and iMessage, so you can instantly share your photos via Twitter directly from the Photos app and send photos via iMessage to individuals or groups. And with iCloud's innovative new Photo Stream service, a photo you take on your iPhone is sent to iCloud and automatically pushed to your iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. You can even view your Photo Stream album on your Apple TV®.

iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and with the new video image stabilization feature, you can take richer, smoother videos. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions. With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, you can now instantly share videos with family and friends.

iPhone 4S has the same beautifully thin glass and stainless steel design that millions of customers around the world love, while being completely redesigned on the inside. Apple's dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, all while maintaining incredible battery life—now up to 8 hours of 3G talk time.

Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive. iPhone 4S now supports twice the download speed with HSDPA of up to 14.4 Mbps and iPhone 4S is a world phone, so both CDMA and GSM customers can now roam internationally on GSM networks.**

Pricing & Availability
iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the new 64GB model.*** iPhone 4S will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPhone 4S will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on Friday, October 14 and customers can pre-order their iPhone 4S beginning Friday, October 7. iPhone 4 will also be available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two year contract. Siri will be available in beta on iPhone 4S in English (localized for US, UK and Australia), French and German. iOS 5 software will be available on October 12 as a free software update via iTunes 10.5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers.

iPhone 4S will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries by the end of October including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Apple's iCloud service aims to ease sharing of content between iOS 5 devices. Image provided by Apple Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Apple's iCloud service aims to ease sharing of content between iOS 5 devices.
Image provided by Apple Inc.

*Some features may not be available on all products.
**Carrier roaming policies apply. HSDPA availability and network speeds are dependent on carrier networks.
***Qualified customers only. Requires a new two year rate plan, sold separately.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iPhone, Siri, iCloud, iPad, iPod touch, iMessage, iTunes and Apple TV are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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