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Apple unveils iPhone 4S; but no iPhone 5

There was clearly some disappointment after Apple’s iPhone 4S announcement Tuesday. Many people had hoped the company would showcase a new phone, specifically called the iPhone 5, that would come with newly designed hardware.

Apple’s new iPhone won’t win any design awards. It looks exactly like the iPhone 4.

But Apple executives insist that the 4S packs a lot of punch and unveiled a host of new features for the phone on Tuesday at Apple headquarters here. In addition, they announced the first iPhone (the 3GS model) that will come free with a two-year contract.

“We believe that over time, all handsets will become smartphones,” said Tim Cook, the new Apple CEO. “This market is 1.5 billion units annually, and an enormous opportunity for Apple.”

The new iPhone features make it a different phone than its predecessor, the iPhone 4. Its camera’s resolution and sharpness have been nearly doubled. With an 8-megapixel camera packed into the phone, people won’t feel the need to carry around their point-and-shoot camera.
Web pages and videos load more quickly. Apple promises the download speeds on the iPhone 4S have doubled the download speeds when connecting to the Internet.
And it will be available to Sprint customers in the U.S. for the first time, a huge boon for the No. 3 wireless U.S. carrier. The phone is already available to Verizon Wireless and AT&T customers.

Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4S on Friday, with delivery scheduled for Oct. 14. The phones will come in black or white and cost $199 for 16 gigabytes, $299 for 32GB and $399 for a new 64GB model. The iPhone 4 will sell for $99.