New iPhone, iPods coming next week
Posted October 4, 2011 1:05 p.m. EDT
Updated October 4, 2011 5:24 p.m. EDT
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple Inc. unveiled a faster, more powerful iPhone on Tuesday in its first major product event in years without Steve Jobs presiding.
New CEO Tim Cook led the show after Jobs, who has been battling health problems, resigned from the post in August.
Cook, wearing a navy blue button-down shirt and jeans, opened by calling his nearly 14-year tenure at Apple "the privilege of a lifetime." Those in the audience clapped as he entered, but the reaction seemed more muted than what Jobs had recently received.
Cook said the latest iPhone, which came out in June 2010, sold more quickly than previous models, but the iPhone still has just 5 percent of the worldwide handset market.
Apple will take pre-orders for the new model on Friday. Handsets will be available a week later, Oct. 14, for Sprint, Verizon and AT&T customers. The iPhone 4S will cost $199 for the 16 gigabyte version, $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB.
The new iPhone 4S has an improved camera with a higher-resolution sensor. The processor is faster, which helps run smoother, more realistic action games. It's also a "world phone," which means that Verizon iPhones will be able to useable overseas, just as AT&T iPhones already are.
Apple is including a "personal assistant" application called Siri, which responds to spoken questions and commands such as "Do I need an umbrella today?" It's an advanced version of speech-recognition apps found on other phones.
The new iPhone also comes with new mobile software, iOS 5, that includes such features as the ability to sync content wirelessly, without having to plug the device to a Mac or Windows machine.
IOS 5 will also be available on Oct. 12 for existing devices — the iPhone 4 and 3GS, both iPad models and later versions of the iPod Touch.
Apple said Oct. 12 will also mark the launch of its new iCloud service, which will store content such as music, documents, apps and photos on Apple's servers and let people access them wirelessly on numerous devices.
Apple also touted the popularity of its products and unveiled a new line of iPods, including a Nano model with a multi-touch display that promises to be easier to navigate. Apple made no mention of its Classic model, which many people had speculated the company might discontinue.
The event took place in Apple's Town Hall room, where the first iPod was launched a decade ago. Cook said Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods worldwide so far, including 45 million in the 12 months through June.
The iPhone came six years later and has gained millions of fans, thanks to its slick looks, high-resolution screen and intuitive software. There were 39 million iPhones sold in the first six months of this year.
Apple's stock fell $11.76, or 3.1 percent, to $362.84 in afternoon trading Tuesday.