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Apple new iPhone 4S takes direct aim at Android

Tim Cook, who took over in August as Apple’s CEO when an ailing Steve Jobs stepped down, introduces Apple’s new iPhone 4S on Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif.

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Tim Cook, who took over in August as Apple’s CEO when an ailing Steve Jobs stepped down, introduces Apple’s new iPhone 4S on Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO — In its first product unveiling since Steve Jobs resigned as chief executive officer, Apple on Tuesday introduced a faster iPhone with voice features and a higher-resolution camera to help it vie with Google's Android system.

The new iPhone 4S's A5 chip is seven times faster than the old processor, Apple said. The model will cost $199, $299 and $399, depending on features, and will be sold by Sprint Nextel for the first time. Apple already has agreements with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

The update of Apple's bestselling product marks an early test for Tim Cook, CEO since Aug. 24, who hasn't yet shown he can match his predecessor's skills at product design and marketing. While the iPhone is the world's most popular smart phone, Google's Android software is more widely used, showing up in devices from Samsung Electronics and HTC.

"There is some disappointment that only one new iPhone has been announced," said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee in Birmingham, Ala.

Jobs, 56, who remains Apple's chairman, didn't appear at the event Tuesday. He has taken three medical leaves over the past seven years amid a battle with a rare form of cancer.

The iPhone 4S, available Oct. 14, will have a camera with 60 percent more pixels and can handle high-definition video. The device also relies on an "intelligent antenna system" that's designed to improve call quality and works with both CDMA and GSM wireless standards. Users will have up to 8 hours of talk time on one charge.

A new voice-recognition system, meanwhile, will turn the device into a hands-free personal assistant. The technology lets users check weather, get directions or surf the Web using speech commands. Apple already had basic voice-control abilities on the iPhone for placing a call or accessing a song.

Apple acquired a speech-recognition software company last year called Siri, which helped it develop the new features.

The features, combined with the more aggressive prices, will give Apple an edge, said Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore.

"Siri is very unique from what I've seen and should continue to differentiate them at the high end," he said.

The older iPhone 4 model will now cost $99, and the iPhone 3GS will be free with a wireless contract, Apple said.

Greetings from Apple

Apple, which revealed a new app Tuesday that lets users create and mail greeting cards with their iPhones, might want to consider crafting its own condolence card for traditional greeting card companies. A brief mention of the $2.99 app that lets people design and send greeting cards through the postal service sent the stocks of card companies tumbling as much as 10 percent. The announcement sent shares of American Greetings down 8 percent to $16.40. Shares of International Greetings fell 8 percent on the London Stock Exchange, where it's traded.

Associated Press

Apple new iPhone 4S takes direct aim at Android 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 9:07pm]
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