Apple announces iPhone 4s, released October 14 in Australia

After months of rumours and speculation, Apple has announced the next model of the iPhone. With a better camera on-board, faster chip, and new voice assistant technology, the iPhone 4s isn’t quite the phone pundits were expecting, but still looks to be a solid handset.

Set to be released from $799 outright (also available on contract), the new handset is encased in the same glass and stainless steel design found on the iPhone 4. While the exterior is the same, the new “s” model receives the dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, essentially providing twice the speed and up to seven times the graphics speed of the last model.

The highly criticised antenna design of the iPhone 4 also gets an upgrade, switching to a dual-antenna system that can switch between two antennas to send and receive. While this won’t be the be-all and end-all on networks with reception problems, it should help to fix some of the connection issues that affected the handset to begin with.

Bluetooth spec jumps from 2.1 to 4.0, even though we’ve yet to see devices that truly take advantage of the faster wireless spectrum.

One of the more talked about features is “Siri”, a software assistant for your life integrated directly into the phone. Using voice commands that you issue, Siri will find information for you just by asking it – your phone – questions. For instance, if you were to say “Do I need an umbrella today?”, Siri will show you the weather forecast.

Apple tells us that Siri will be working for Australian voices when it’s released with the iPhone 4s next week, but that it’s unlikely to work or be available on older models.

Finally, Apple’s camera receives an upgrade, shifting from a 5 megapixel to an 8 megapixel camera with face detection, and bolstering the video capture mode with 1080p Full HD recording and video stabilisation.

With the new model here, the previous generation of iPhones see a shift in price, dropping the iPhone 4 to an 8GB model for $699 and the even older iPhone 3GS 8GB to $449.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 4s will be available in both 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variants from October 14.