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Keeping That Funk Alive

Apple introduces... not the iPhone 5

Photo by Paul Sakuma, Associated Press

Defying most expectations, Apple on Tuesday rolled out a new version of its iPhone… but it wasn’t the iPhone 5, at least not at the time of this writing.

Instead, the company touted the new iPhone 4S, which is practically identical in its exterior design to the current iPhone 4, but adds more horsepower with a dual-core A5 processor, a higher-quality rear-facing camera and iOS 5, the new mobile operating system set to launch on Oct. 12 on a variety of Apple devices. The camera on the device will record 1080p video and has an 8-megapixel sensor.

It will launch on Oct. 14 (pre-orders start Friday) and will cost $199-$399 for 16, 32 and 64-gigabyte models. Yes, there’ll be a white version.

The iPhone 4 8 GB model goes to $99 and the 3GS will be available for free with contract.

It’ll also pack a virtual assistant voice-recognition feature that will allow much more extensive voice commands throughout the operating system. (Android phone users have had something similar, but Apple promises this will be game-changing.) It appears to be a feature exclusive to the 4S.

The other big news was that the iPhone will also be available on Sprint’s wireless network, which had been widely rumored.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has taken the reins from ailing Steve Jobs, spent much of the presentation recapping Apple’s presence in retail, music, the cloud and other areas before getting to the new iPhone model.

Other news from Apple’s event:

  • iOS 5, the latest version of its mobile operating system, will launch on Oct. 12. It’ll be compatible with both iPad versions, the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and the two most recent iPod Touch models.
  • iCloud will go live on Oct. 12 and iTunes Match, which WILL offer music streaming (and the ability to upload your own songs) is expected to launch later this month.
  • Contrary to some rumors, Apple did not kill off its iPod line of music players. In fact, the company introduced a white model of its iPod Touch. The Shuffle and the Nano also live on.
  • “Cards” an app that will allow iOS users to mail a physical card from their device. Win for the U.S. Postal Service? I’ll be a free download, available Oct. 12. The mailing will cost $2.99 per item in the U.S., $4.99 for international post.
  • Apple also touted its retail stores, saying it now has 357 total stores in 11 countries.

We’ll post more updates soon. We’re following Engadget, Mashable, CNN and several other live blogs.

See original: Google Apple introduces... not the iPhone 5