News / Science & Technology

Apple Unveils iPhone 4S to Tough Competition

Mike O'Sullivan

The high-tech company Apple has announced a new version of its popular iPhone, called the iPhone 4S.  The new device offers some innovative features, but faces growing competition in a crowded market.

Apple's new iPhone, unveiled by chief executive Tim Cook, offers a much faster processor and a better camera, as Apple's Phil Schiller explains:

"Of course it starts with the retina display, of course its glass front and back, and has an incredible stainless steel band around it making it the thinnest smart phone," said Schiller.

The phone also has a virtual personal assistant.  The function lets users ask a question, for example, about a nearby restaurant.  The iPhone searches the web and gets the answer.  It can schedule appointments and transcribe dictation.  The voice system will be available at first in English, French and German.

For Apple fans, any product announcement is big news.

At the University of Southern California, young people rely on their mobile devices, and doctoral student Daylen Riggs is a fan of Apple.

"I would say they are very cutting edge," said Riggs. "Whatever they come up with is new and original.  And it is the best.  As far as the software, it is the most stable, it is the most innovative."

Miami, Florida, resident Christopher Todd thinks the new device is an improvement.

"The thing that has my interest piqued the most is the new voice recognition improvements allowing you to send text and email by speaking various commands and copy, I think that is going to be exciting," said Todd.

But Apple may be a victim of its own success, says telecommunications analyst Elizabeth Fife of USC's Marshall School of Business.

"Because the competitive landscape has changed considerably for the iPhone, where in 2007 they were the path-breaker, said Fife. "There was no one else.  Today, they have lots of competitors, mainly Android."

The Android system, developed by the Internet-giant Google and its industry partners, is a growing alternative to Apple's.

A slight drop in Apple's stock price Tuesday suggests Wall Street wanted more, and some Apple fans complain that the new iPhone looks just like the last one.

But this Apple fan is excited.

"Because, I do not know why, but every time they release a new thing it is like I have to have it," said the Apple fan. "I guess because they add more things every time and I want the one that has everything that it could possibly have."

Apple says the iPhone is the world's best-selling phone, and the company is hoping the new model will keep it that way.

The iPhone 4S will be available October 14 in the United States and several other major markets.

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