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Apple beefs up camera on new iPhone

October 5, 2011: Apple has incorporated a significantly improved 8-megapixel digital camera into its new iPhone 4S.

The Apple iPhone 4S, announced yesterday and available in Australia on October 14, includes a new camera ‘with the most advanced optics of any phone’ according to the Apple press release.

It features a combination of an 8 megapixel sensor and a new lens with an f2.4 widest aperture and an infrared filter. The sensor is described by Apple as a ‘next-generation backside illumination sensor’ – backside illumination being a Sony technology which improves light sensitivity.

Apple makes the claim that the Apple-designed image processor in the A5 dual-core chip ‘makes the camera one of the fastest on any phone’. The camera function launches faster and the shot-to-shot capability is twice as fast, according to the company.

It features face detection, HDR image capture, LED flash and images printable up to 8×10-inch according to Apple.

Though perhaps Apple has over-reached itself in claiming: ‘The A5 chip is designed with an image signal processor that’s just as good as the ones found in DSLR cameras.’

New camera and photos features give the user instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and the ‘volume-up’ button can be used to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up the shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject.

Photos can be cropped, rotated and enhanced – including red-eye removal – and organised into albums in camera (so to speak).

New features include built-in Twitter integration and ‘iMessage’: photos can be instantly shared via Twitter directly from the Photos app and sent via iMessage to individuals or groups.

With iCloud’s new Photo Stream service, a photo taken on an iPhone is sent to ‘iCloud’ (the Apple server) and automatically pushed to the owner’s iPad, iPod touch, Mac – or even a lowly PC. Photos can also be viewed on an Apple TV.

The iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and with a new video image stabilisation feature for smoother image tracking. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions.

With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, videos can also be instantly shared.

Other iPhone details are:
– New dual-core A5 chip for fast performance and improved graphics;
– ‘Siri’ a voice acrtivated ‘intelligent assistant’;
– iOS 5, ‘the world’s most advanced mobile operating system’;
– iCloud, a set of free internet-based services that work with the various Apple iThingies – or a PC! – to automatically and wirelessly store content on Apple’s servers.

With the iPhone 4S ‘Siri’ feature, no one need ever be lonely or clueless again. Here’s how Apple describes it:

‘Siri understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, for example, if you ask “Will I need an umbrella this weekend?” it understands you are looking for a weather forecast…If you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mum when I get home” it can find “Mum” in your address book or ask Siri “What’s the traffic like around here?” and it can figure out where “here” is based on your current location.

‘It helps make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses and get directions.

‘You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking.’

– Expect plenty of impromptu and unsolicited capabilities demonstrations wherever good lattes are served!

The iPhone 4S will be available in Australia for an RRP of $799 for the 16GB model, $899 for the 32GB model and $999 for the new 64GB model.

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