Apple has revealed the latest incarnation of its iPhone handset design, the iPhone 4S, featuring voice recognition software.
Speaking to an audience in San Francisco, Tim Cook – Apple’s new chief following the resignation of Steve Jobs - unveiled a raft of updates for the brand, including iOS5, a new operating system for the company’s devices, and the eagerly-awaited new iPhone handset.
As well as running iOS5, the 4S features an intelligent assistant called Siri that allows the user to talk directly to the device. This includes asking questions, from the weather forecast to the state of the NASDAQ.
You can ask the assistant to read your messages, play a certain song, set a reminder or manage you calendar – all with your voice. It also has map integration, allowing you to plan a journey just by talking.
According to senior vice-president of iPhone software Scott Forstall, it offers “a whole new way of interacting with your iPhone.”
It is "your humble, intelligent personal assistant that goes everywhere with you and can do anything for you just by asking," said Forstall.
"I've been in the AI (artificial intelligence) field for a long time and this still blows me away."
Phil Schiller, senior vice-president of Apple, said the new phone looks similar to the previous iPhone4 and shares its glass front and back and trademark stainless steel band.
The camera has also been updated, boasting an 8-megapixel sensor and improved image stabilisation. It will also capture high definition video in full 1080p.
The new operating system will also feature iCloud integration, which allows you to share all your content across multiple Apple devices, while the A5 chip from the iPad 2 gives the 4S greater speed than the current iPhone 4, useful for games and data.
The iPhone 4S will launch in the UK on October 14th. The 64GB phone will sell for £260, the 32GB for £195 and the 16GB for £130.
Speaking to PA, technology expert Ernest Doku of uSwitch.com said some people would be "bitterly disappointed" at the announcement of an upgraded phone rather than a brand new model.
He added: "A phone which talks to you and answers your questions? That's the iPhone 4S. Slightly disappointing from a hardware standpoint, but Siri has the potential to revolutionise how we use our mobiles. Apple is gambling that people will see this as a reinvention of the wheel."
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