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FAQ: The iPhone 4S

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What was announced today? Apple announced the iPhone 4S, an upgraded version of its latest handset. The unveiling disappointed some analysts, who were expecting a breakthrough smartphone with a new design or at least 4G capabilities.

So what are the new features? New features on the phone include a faster, 8MP camera which lags for less than half a second between photos, 1080 HD video recording, and a dual-core A5 processor. The 4S is also a “world phone” that runs on both CDMA/GSM networks.

The phone’s biggest new feature is a voice navigation assistant called Siri — the result of a 2010 acquisition — that lets users speak to their phone to ask questions about directions, the weather or definitions.

The assistant is designed to respond to natural speech, though tech columnist Joshua Topolsky wrote from the event that Apple executive Scott Forstall had to “talk to the machine slowly, like you would to a child or a foreign language speaker.”

How much does it cost? The iPhone 4S starts at $199 for 16 GB, will cost $299 for 32GB and $399 for the beefier 64 GB model.

Has Apple fixed the antenna issue? As you may recall, Apple had some problems with the antennas in the iPhone 4, which had a tendency to go on the fritz when you held the phone a certain way. Apple has put new antennas in the 4S so that it can run on both GSM and CDMA networks, but it’s not immediately clear whether the problem has been fixed. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

When can I buy it? Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S start Oct. 7, and it hits shelves on Oct. 14. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint will carry the phone.

Any other iPhone announcements? Apple also announced some more wallet-friendly news for iPhone fans. The iPhone 4 is now $99 for the 8GB model, and the 3GS is free on contract.

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