Say Hello to the iPhone 4S

And yea, verily, it came to pass that the handset maker Apple launched a new phone, and yea, to be fair, everyone expected it to be the iPhone 5, but as it happened, what Apple unveiled earlier today was the iPhone 4S, an update to the iPhone 4. It looks the same, feels the same, smells the same, but features a number of under-the-bonnet upgrades, including the A5 processor that powers the iPad 2; Siri voice control; and an 8-megapixel, rear-facing camera. Plus, of course, it runs iOS5, complete with Notification Center and iMessage, Apple’s answer to BBM, as well as around 200 other new features.

iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad and iPod touch (third and fourth generation) customers, while Apple also announced yesterday that iCloud will launch worldwide on 12 October. This will be available as a free download for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users running iOS 5 or a Mac running OS X Lion with a valid Apple ID.

iCloud is Apple’s cloud service that works with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store content in iCloud and push it to the user’s devices. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for mail, document storage and backup, but bought music, TV shows, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit. Additional iCloud storage upgrades are available to buy, in packages ranging from $20 a year for 10GB, to $100 a year for 50GB.

The iPhone 4S goes on sale on 14 October in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan, with the rest of the iPhone world getting it two weeks later. The handset will be available in black and white versions. US prices will be $199 for the 16GB version; $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB, all on a two-year contract.

As for the iPhone 5, maybe next year…