Apple’s Big iPhone Launch Event & Keynote

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Apple’s big keynote address just wrapped up and there’s still no iPhone 5, although there is a new phone and a new operating system hitting the market. Tim Cook, who has headed up the company since Steve Jobs’ retirement in August, hosted the event at Apple’s Cupertino campus. He kicked off the event with “Good morning, this is my first product launch since being named CEO.” 

Here’s a full recap of the big iPhone launch, as reported by gdgt live (blogging from the event):

iPhone 4S

Launching on October 14th (pre-orders start this Friday, October 7th), the iPhone 4S is available for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint customers. It has the A5 chip, and it’s up to 7x faster than iPhone 4 with a dual-core CPU that’s twice as fast at CPU tasks. The phone has dual-core graphics that make games way more impressive. It has a longer battery life (8 hours of talk time), and can download data twice as fast. As for call quality, “it can now intelligently switch between two antennas between send and receive to make even better call quality,” said Phil Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing. 

And one of it’s neatest new features is Siri, the intelligent assistant that uses voice technology. “For decades technologists have teased us with this dream that we can talk to our technology. But it’s never come true! It’s such a let-down! What we really want to do is just talk to our device!” said Schiller. Just ask it a question, like “Can you find a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto?” and you’ll get a response such as “I’ve found five Greek restaurants and I’ve sorted them by rating.” Siri can also make calendar entries, read your messages or create messages – all hands-free!

Other cool stuff: HD video recording and an 8 megapixel camera with a new Image Signal Processor that enables face detection and better white balance. The iPhone 4S is available in black and white versions. Priced at $199 for 16 GB, $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB (all with carrier agreements). BTW, the iPhone 4 is now the number one smartphone in the world. “What’s amazing is that the iPhone 4 has sold over half of our total iPhones sold in the entire time we’ve been selling iPhones. It’s the number one smartphone in the world,” said Cook. 

iPad

Cook stressed the increase in iPad use for educational purposes, as well as in the medical field. “In schools they’re helping kids learn in amazing new ways. … every state in the US now has an iPad deployment or pilot in place today.” And apparently, “80% of the top hospitals in the US are now testing or piloting the iPad.” And of the 500,000 apps in the App Store, 140,000 are designed specifically for the iPad. “That gives anyone who owns an iPad a better experience.”  

iPod

Can you believe it was only 10 years ago that the iPod launched? “It revolutionized the whole music industry. It reminded us how much we all loved music,” said Cook. The iPod touch now comes in white, and includes iMessage and Game Center. It’s priced at $199 for 8 GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.  

The new iPod nano has a multi-touch display with bigger icons. And since people were already making them into watches, “we’ve added 16 new clock faces to make it fun for people who like to wear it as a watch. Why not, right?” said Schiller. It’s available today in seven colors, $129 for the 8GB and $149 for the 16GB. 

Cards App

Forget e-cards, now you can make and mail physical greeting cards right from your device! With the new Cards app, you just pick out the picture and choose a template. Apple will then print it out, add postage and mail it. And we’re not talking copy paper – “we’ll print it on high quality 100% cotton paper,” said Scott Forstall, SVP of iOS. 

Find My Friends

This is interesting. Find My Friends is like Foursquare, but using your Apple contacts. You can quickly and easily see the locations of those who’ve opted to share their location with you. “Now, when I’m in Disneyland, I can see where my family is,” said Eddie Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services. Worried about privacy? Apparently there are very simple privacy controls and the ability to set specific blocks of location sharing time. “At the end of the day, location sharing stops automatically,” said Cue. 

Camera

How many times have you seen something awesome, but by the time you managed to get your phone out, open it up, get into the camera app, and wait for the processor… whatever you wanted to capture was long gone. The new home screen shortcut would be a huge fix, but will they also fix the slow load time? We certainly hope so. Other camera updates: on-device editing so you can crop, rotate, remove red-eye.

iCloud 

Imagine iTunes in the iCloud, but for photos documents and apps. All your stuff will now live in the fluffy goodness of the always available iCloud. Did we mention that it does a daily backup across all devices and calendar events. 

MacBook Air

The Macbook Air is one of the most popular laptops on the market, and it’s just one piece of the company’s product line. The MacBook Pro and iMac are the best-selling notebook and desktop in the US. And Mac outgrew the PC market by almost 6 times. 

Lion Operating System

Cook talked about the success of Apple’s desktop operating system – Lion. “For the first time we’ve offered Mac OS as a digital download. The results are staggering, I’m proud to announce Lion has been downloaded 6 million times,” said Cook.

What do you think about the big announcements? Which new products or features are you the most excited to try?

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