This is the fourteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle CroninJason Salaz, and Nathan Greenstein.

Today, we cover Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event:

  • Apple announced Cards, an iPhone app for sending cards via snail mail. We talk about what the app is, but we can’t help but ask “Why?”
  • Apple gave a recap today of some of the key features of iOS 5. There was very little new info today, but we do have one thing: a release date, October 12th. The iPhone 4S will ship with iOS 5 two days later.
  • Also recapped today was iCloud. We learned that Apple will be expanding its Find My iPhone service to OS X, and will release Find My Friends. Find My Friends is a location-based service that tells you where your friends are at a given time, provided that they have chosen to share their location. Apple also confirmed a detail we were previously uncertain about for its iTunes Match service: music can be streamed, or downloaded to the device. iCloud ships October 12.
  • The first new product announcement to come out of Cupertino today was a new iPod nano.  The new nano will have the same hardware as the previous generation, but it features much-improved software. The nano is now easier to navigate, and includes extra fitness support. Apple will add 16 additional clock faces to all versions of the current generation of nano, available via a software update. Lastly, the price on the nano dropped from $149 to $129.
  • The iPod touch was not completely absent from today’s announcements: its price has dropped from $229 to $199, and now comes in your choice of black or white.
  • The iPod shuffle and iPod classic were left unchanged. They have not been updated, but will continue to be sold in their current form.
  • To the meat of the announcements: the new iPhone. Apple did not, in fact, announce an iPhone 5. Instead, they released the iPhone 4S, a souped-up version of the current iPhone 4. New features include an updated CPU, the dual-core Apple A5, intelligent antenna switching for faster download speeds, and the fact that the 4S is now truly a world phone, packing CDMA and GSM radios into a single device.
  • The other major hardware improvement to the iPhone 4S is its camera. The new camera has an 8 megapixel sensor, and includes numerous other image quality improvements. Combined with the updates iOS 5 is bringing, the delay between opening the Camera app and taking the first picture is down to nearly one second, and the delay between taking pictures at just half a second. The 4S will record 1080p video at 30 frames per second, and uses the gyroscope to provide imagery stabilization for smoother video.
  • The newest feature of the 4S is born from an acquisition Apple made over one year ago: Siri. Siri is a tool that lets you control your phone with your voice. It has numerous features that make it more powerful than the Voice Command features of the previous iPhones. For one, you can say things however you want and it will understand what you mean. Siri also has very deep OS integration: you can use it to make calls, send texts, manipulate your calendar, and many other things. Additionally, in places that would normally cause the keyboard to come up, you can tap a new microphone icon on the on-screen keyboard and Siri will allow you to type via dictation. All of these features will require the iPhone 4S, dictation requires an active internet connection.
  • The iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order on October 7th, and released on October 14th. It comes in three capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The prices are $199, $299, and $399 respectively, all requiring a 2 year contract. The 4S will be available on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. With this new phone also brings a price drop to the two previous models. The iPhone 4 drops to 8GB and $99 with a 2 year contract, and the CDMA model will also become available on Sprint. And finally, the iPhone 3GS 8GB remains on sale, for free, with a 2 year contract.
  • Nathan shares a final thought wondering whether the Siri service would be opened up to third-party developers. We discuss how Android provides the capability for the system to hook into third-party apps, and whether Apple will do something similar with Siri.
This episode was recorded on October 4th, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at


2 Responses to “Podcast #14: iPhone 4S, Apple’s October 4th Announcements”

  1. Yzorg (Chris Tracy) Says:

    I think you really downplayed the daily use of voice recognition as generic txt input, like txt messages and quick emails. I use it all the time on Android, and is the reason I’m getting 4S instead of 4. Dual core and iPad 2 graphics also important.

  2. Kyle Cronin Says:


    Possibly, but my previous experience with voice recognition has left me skeptical that something this amazing can be pulled of with phone hardware. But I look forward to playing around with a 4S at my local Apple Store and having my mind changed.