Well, the announcement has been made. It’s official – no iPhone 5 for now. Apple is releasing the iPhone 4S this month. Same form factor as the iPhone 4, same black and white colors, just some seriously bumped up specs.
* The CPU becomes Apple’s A5 processor, the same chip that’s in the iPad.
* A bumped-up graphics processor. This and the A5 mostly impact the hardcore gaming crowd, of which I’m not a member.
* A very bumped up camera – 8 megapixels, backlit CMOS sensor, 5 element lens that opens wide to f/2.4, 1080p video, and claims that far less lag time to get to your first shot and from shot to shot. All of which means very little to me.
* 4G network speeds (but not 4G LTE) which doubles throughput, 14.2 mbps downloads.
* New software includes what could be a revolutionary voice assistant called Siri that allows one to speak in “natural” language rather than remembering specific commands. If this works as advertised, this will be setting the bar pretty high for the competition. Apparently in order to function correctly, internet access is required.
* Increased storage; a 64 gig model will be available.
This gets rolled out to the first batch of countries on October 14th and the next batch on October 28th. The question many HKers are asking this morning is if the Apple Store opening last month was so monumentally successful, why isn’t Hong Kong included in the first or second wave of releases. No official word, of course. I am guessing it has to do with that 4G network speed. Probably 3 and SmarTone don’t have their 4G networks ready yet and maybe Apple has made that a prerequisite for country rollout? But by now we all know what that means – grey market iPhone 4S’s selling at Sin Tat for double (or even triple?) the retail price.
Aside from that, Apple also announced iOS 5, which can be downloaded on October 12th. A key part of that is their new iCloud service with 5 gig of free cloud storage, more available at a price. But so far, many of the iCloud features appear to be US-only.
The US Apple web site is accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4S starting on October 7th. On Apple’s HK web site, it merely says “coming soon.”
So what will I do? The 64 gig upgrade is meaningful to me. The voice assistant has potential. Better chip set and camera are not deciding factors for me. So I’m going to be very interested to see what next week’s Android announcement is.
My best guess is that the iPhone 5 is another 6 months away.