But the new iPhone was not named the iPhone 5 or reimagined to the degree that many tech bloggers and Apple fans had hoped it would be. Wall Street seemed disappointed, too: Apple stock lost more than 5 percent before bouncing back to close down less than 1 percent.
Still, Apple stock has nearly quadrupled since the first iPhone was announced in 2007. The device has been the cornerstone of one of the most remarkable runs in technology history. Apple is now one of the world's most richly valued companies, holding its own against oil companies and international conglomerates.
If Tuesday's unveiling seemed like a letdown, it was because Apple didn't do a good job of managing expectations. That's a familiar problem for Apple, whose penchant for secrecy invites hyperbolic speculation between its product announcements. Given that it had been 16 months since the last iPhone hit the market, imaginations had even more time to run wild this time.
"This is the typical Apple scenario: People keep wanting it to do the impossible," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst who has been following the company for decades.
Apple's approach to the event didn't do any favors for Tim Cook in his first major public appearance since he succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO six weeks ago. Jobs, the Apple visionary and co-founder, relinquished the reins to focus on his health problems.
As many people expected, Cook handled his presentation in a pedestrian fashion that lacked Jobs' flair. The format and stage setting were similar to the presentations that Jobs had orchestrated so masterfully, giving Cook little opportunity to make his own mark, said Adam Hanft, a marketing consultant who runs his own firm in New York.
"It wasn't fair to Tim in his inaugural because there he didn't have any product to show off that was a real barnburner," Hanft said.
"This allowed him to get his sea legs, but he still needs to find his voice and style. They need to come up with a new setting that is equally Apple-like aesthetically, but not the same that they had while Steve was there."
Even though the iPhone 4S is an improvement over its predecessor, it isn't being perceived as a breakthrough partly because it's not being branded as an iPhone 5 as most people had been expecting, said Prashant Malaviya, a marketing professor at Georgetown University.
Not all investors were disappointed.
Stephen Coleman, chief investment officer for Daedalus Capital and an Apple investor since 2004, calls his Apple stock "the safest investment that I own." He said Tuesday's upgrades were "incremental" — and praised Apple for not messing too much with a model that's working.
"To those who say they're underwhelmed, I'd say they've been fast asleep," Coleman said. "Anyone who's been paying attention at all would have to be dazzled by the product, and earnings."
He cited the run-up in Apple's stock price.
"What is there to lament? For people like me, it's peace on earth. This is one of the great economic stories of our time."
The new iPhone has an improved camera with a higher-resolution sensor. The processor is faster, which helps run smoother, more realistic action games. It's also a "world phone," which means that Verizon iPhones will be able to useable overseas, just as AT&T iPhones already are.
The fact that a more radical revision of the phone was a no-show leaves room for speculation that Apple will reveal a new model in less than a year, perhaps one equipped to take advantage of Verizon's and AT&T's new high-speed data networks.
There had also been speculation that Apple would include a chip that could talk to payment terminals at retail stores, turning the iPhone into a "mobile wallet." Competitors are starting to include this capability in their phones, though the payment systems are still immature. The iPhone 4S doesn't have this.
Apple is including a "personal assistant" application called Siri in the iPhone 4S. It responds to spoken questions and commands such as "Do I need an umbrella today?" It's an advanced version of speech-recognition apps found on other phones.
The new iPhone also comes with new mobile software that includes such features as the ability to sync content wirelessly, without having to plug the device to a Mac or Windows machine.
Cook said the latest iPhone, which came out in June 2010, sold more quickly than previous models, but the iPhone still has just 5 percent of the worldwide handset market. Apple is hoping to grow that with the new model.
Apple's new mobile software, iOS 5, will also be available on Oct. 12 for existing devices — the iPhone 4 and 3GS, both iPad models and later versions of the iPod Touch.
Apple said Oct. 12 will also mark the launch of its new iCloud service, which will store content such as music, documents, apps and photos on Apple's servers and let people access them wirelessly on numerous devices.
The new phone will come in black or white. It will cost $199 for a 16 gigabyte-version, $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB — all with a two-year service contract requirement. It will now be available through Sprint Nextel Corp., besides the existing carriers, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.
The previous version, iPhone 4, will now cost $99 for 8 GB. The 2009 model, the iPhone 3GS, will be given away for free with 8 GB. Both also require a two-year service contract.
Apple also touted the popularity of its products and unveiled a new line of iPods, including a Nano model with a multi-touch display that promises to be easier to navigate. Apple made no mention of its Classic model, which many people had speculated the company might discontinue.
The event took place in Apple's Town Hall room, where the first iPod was launched a decade ago. Cook said Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods worldwide so far, including 45 million in the 12 months through June.
The iPhone came six years later and has gained millions of fans, thanks to its slick looks, high-resolution screen and intuitive software. There were 39 million iPhones sold in the first six months of this year.
Bajarin, the longtime Apple watcher, is confident that Apple will quickly overcome the perception problem once technology reviewers get a better handle on all the new bells and whistles. He believes that the improved camera and speech-recognition technology are compelling enough additions to make the iPhone 4S another hit for Apple.
"People are going to get over their initial disappointment and want this phone," he said.
Apple's stock fell $2.10, or 0.6 percent, to close Tuesday at $372.50 after dropping earlier to $354.24.
애플, 아이폰4 후속모델 아이폰4S 공개
화질 800만화소•음성명령기능 탑재 '월드폰'
새 CEO 팀 쿡은 기조연설만…제품소개는 다른 임원이 담당
애플은 4일(현지시간) 기존 아이폰4의 후속모델로 '아이폰4S'를 발표했다.
애플은 이날 오전 미국 캘리포니아주 쿠퍼티노시에 위치한 애플 본사 내 강당에서 아이폰 신제품 발표행사를 열고 처리속도가 빨라지고 카메라 성능과 음성명령기능을 대폭 강화한 아이폰4S를 공개했다.
이날 신제품 발표는 당초 예상과 달리 새 최고경영자(CEO) 팀 쿡이 아니라 최고마케팅책임자(CMO)인 필 쉴러 수석부사장이 담당했다. 아이폰4 이후 15개월만에 새로 발표된 제품도 차세대 제품인 '아이폰5'가 아닌 기존 제품의 개량형이어서 투자자들과 업계는 실망스럽다는 반응을 보였다. 실제로 행사 직후 애플의 주가는 뉴욕시장에서 4.5%나 하락했다.
쉴러 부사장은 아이폰4S가 아이패드2에서 사용하는 것과 같은 듀얼프로세서를 장착, 기존 제품보다 내려받기(다운로드) 속도가 2배 빠르고 그래픽 처리속도도 7배나 향상됐으며, 화질은 800만 화소로 기존 500만화소에서 한단계 업그레이드 됐다고 설명했다. 그동안 불만이 제기돼 왔던 촬영속도도 33% 빨라졌다.
이와 함께 아이폰4S가 당초 예상됐던 대로 코드분할다중접속(CDMA)과 유럽이동통신(GSM) 방식에 적용되는 칩을 모두 탑재해 전세계에서 모두 사용할 수 있는 이른바 '월드폰'이라고 소개했다.
아이폰4S (EPA=연합뉴스, 보도용)
아이폰4S는 또 작년 인수한 음성검색 애플리케이션 개발업체 '시리(Siri)'의 기술을 접목해 사람의 목소리로 조작할 수 있는 새 음성명령 기능도 탑재했다. 애플은 이 기능을 이용하면 날씨나 주가 등을 대화형식으로 제어할 수 있고, 문자메시지를 읽어줄 수도 있게 돼 있다고 소개한 뒤 아이폰4S 출시와 함께 영어와 프랑스어, 독일어 서비스가 가능하다고 밝혔다.
애플은 미국에서 2년 약정시 64GB는 399달러, 32GB와 16GB는 각각 299달러와 199달러로 가격이 책정됐으며 오는 7일부터 예약주문을 받아 14일부터 배송하게 된다고 밝혔다. 미국과 함께 영국, 캐나다, 호주, 프랑스, 독일에서도 예약주문을 받게 되지만 한국은 1차 출시국에서 제외된 것으로 알려졌다.
이에 앞서 이날 시장과 업계의 기대를 모았던 팀 쿡은 기조연설자로 나와 20여분간 애플스토어와 아이패드 등 제품 전반에 대해 소개하는데 그쳤다.
짙은 청색 셔츠와 청바지차림으로 연단에 오른 팀 쿡은 "CEO가 된 이후 처음으로 제품 출시행사를 하게 됐다"면서 "애플을 사랑하고 여기서 일하는 것을 특권으로 생각한다. 새 직책에 매우 흥분해 있다"고 소감을 말했다.
팀 쿡은 그러나 아이클라우드와 운영체제(IOS), 아이폰 등 구체적인 제품과 서비스에 대한 프레젠테이션은 담당 부사장들에게 맡겨 주요 제품을 직접 소개했던 전 CEO 스티브 잡스와 대조를 이뤘다.(연합뉴스)