Архив метки: Wolfram Alpha

The Tale Of A Wolfram Research Co-founder And His Beloved “Periodic Table Table” [Video]


Out of the annals of history comes this doozy. A man known by the name of Theodore Gray is a co-founder of Wolfram Research, best known as the creator of Wolfram Alpha, the two-year-old computational answer engine, which Siri uses for 25 percent of her mobile searches.

Along with Stephen Wolfram, Gray helped develop Mathematica, the computational software used in technical computing that makes Wolfram Alpha, among other things, tick. He is an author, polymath, and, it seems, an amateur Chemist — or should I say, element collector. Yes, as the story goes, about 10 years ago, he built and created his own wooden “periodic table table” (presumably on company time), complete with compartments underneath in which Gray collects samples of the periodic table’s elements. This feat of carpentry, Rams-ian design, and wizardry won him an “Ig Nobel Prize” in Chemistry back in 2002.

Yesterday, a new video, or rather episode of “Bytesize Science,” emerged on YouTube wherein Gray discusses the tale behind his periodic table table. The video has been being passed around, and was tipped to us (thanks to Kirk Zamieroski). We thought it was worth sharing, based on pure awesomeness, the high quality kitsch, and DIY mastery. Luckily no radioactive elements made it into the table — or at least we didn’t spot any lead. No one was hurt in the making of the table, as far as we know, other than perhaps Schrodinger’s cat?

As the video’s uploader points out, Gray has gone on to win less Ig Nobel awards, becoming the 2011 winner of the ACS Grady Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public, and the periodic table table is a “testament” to his love for chemistry — and his compulsive eBay purchasing habits.

We hope you enjoy.

(Check out Theodore Gray’s website here.)

Image credit: Popular Mechanics

The Tale Of A Wolfram Research Co-founder And His Beloved “Periodic Table Table” [Video]

Last-Minute Gift Guide 2011: iOS Apps

iPhone Apps

Looking for a quick last-minute gift? Not feeling up to fighting the holiday traffic, crowds and checkout lines? Just too lazy busy to shop? Then you may want to consider giving the gift of an iOS app. You can gift any paid app from iTunes on your computer or from the app’s description page on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Just scroll down past the screenshot and look for the “gift this app” button. All you’ll need is the recipient’s email address to complete the transaction. This app list includes both new releases and old favorites. It’s entirely subjective! Note that some of this year’s best apps are free, so they aren’t on here. (Waving to Instagram, Path, Spotify, Flipboard, Pinterest, HBO GO, etc.) Also, everyone already has Angry Birds (the original). It’s not on here, either.

Apps Your Parents May Not Have Heard Of, But Would Really Enjoy

1. iMovie ($4.99) Everyone should have this app from Apple, the fun moviemaking app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Designed for multi-touch, iMovie puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips. Make a movie in minutes by adding video, photos, music and sound effects. Then give it the Hollywood treatment by adding a theme, titles and transitions.

2. Camera+ ($0.99 sale) Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos. Offers exposure, lighting controls, stabilizer, high quality zoom, scene modes, digital flash, cropping tools, effects, borders, sharing features and more.

3. Snapseed ($4.99) iPad App of the Year Snapseed makes any photograph extraordinary with a fun, high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips. Anyone can enhance, transform, and share their photos with ease.

4. SkyView – Explore the Universe ($1.99) Simply point the camera to the sky, tap on what you see and discover neat things about these sky objects. SkyView is unique as it blends the camera view with incredible 3D graphics of the sky objects to provide an Augmented Reality (AR) view of your sky.

5. Fahrenheit ($1.99) This super clever app is a weather application that shows you the current temperature of any location right on your iPhone/iPad homescreen using iOS’s push notifications (the red badges). Beyond the real-time temperature display, it also gives you detailed weather information from unlimited cities worldwide.

6. Numbers, Pages, Keynote ($9.99 each) From Apple’s iWork Suite, its own versions of Excel, Word and Powerpoint designed for iOS. All three work with iCloud, so your files stay up to date across all your iOS devices automatically. Alternate choices: QuickOffice Pro HD; for text only, Elements

7. Garmin StreetPilot onDemand ($0.99) Garmin StreetPilot onDemand offers rich navigation features for walking or driving, a simple and intuitive user interface. Using your data connection, StreetPilot onDemand always has access to the most up-to-date maps for the U.S. and Canada so you can navigate with confidence whether you’re on foot or in the car. (Premium features require monthly subscription of $2.99). Alternate choice: TeleNav

8. TripIt (ad free version) ($3.99) TripIt “automagically” takes all your trip details and creates one truly helpful itinerary that’s there when and where you need it – on your iPhone or iPad, synced with your calendar, and online at tripit.com. When you receive a confirmation email from anywhere you book, simply forward it to plans@tripit.com. TripIt instantly recognizes reservations from 3,000+ booking sites including cruises, restaurants, concerts and more.

9. WolframAlpha ($2.99) Building on 25 years of development led by Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram|Alpha has rapidly become the world’s definitive source for instant expert knowledge and computation. Across thousands of domains, Wolfram|Alpha uses its vast collection of algorithms and data to compute answers and generate reports for you.

10. Instacast($1.99) A better podcast manager for iOS, Instacast lets you manage all your podcasts (audio and video) in one place and get new episodes instantly. Supports AirPlay, download over Wi-Fi, Edge and 3G, show notes, 2x playback, pull-to-refresh, favoriting, and more.

Apps For Athletes And The Annoyingly Fit

1. Tiger Woods: My Swing ($4.99) Tiger Woods: My Swing helps golfers of all levels improve their golf swing through video analysis and instruction from golf great Tiger Woods. Compare swings against every club in Tiger’s bag and against friends.

2. P90X ($4.99) The breakthrough workout program that revolutionized home fitness now has an app that lets you Bring It! on your iPhone, so you can get even more amazing results—and work out with P90X anywhere. Keep track of your sets, reps, and weights, view your progress, log your nutrition, and share your results.

3. iMuscle ($1.99) iMuscle is a sophisticated workout aid that can be taken anywhere. Use it to identify a body part or individual muscle by zooming into a 3-Dimensional human body with the musculature exposed. Then access all the exercises associated with the development / rehabilitation of that muscle.

4. Tempo Magic Pro($4.99) Featured by Apple as a Fitness Essential, Tempo Magic Pro lets you change the BPM of your music. Perfect for DJs, Music Instructors and Dance Instructors or anyone who needs to set the pace for their workout.

Apps For Creative Types

1. GarageBand ($4.99) GarageBand turns your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses. They sound and play like their counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument.

2. djay ($9.99 iPhone – on sale for $0.99 / $20.99 iPad) Djay transforms your iOS device into a full-fledged portable DJ system and seamlessly integrates with your iPod library, giving you direct access to all your favorite tracks and playlists. A hyper-realistic touchscreen interface and ultra-low latency converge to offer you a true professional mixing experience, right in the palm of your hand. You can perform live, record mixes on-the-go, or enable Automix mode.

3. Procreate ($1.99) Procreate is a professional painting & sketching app, made exclusively for iPad. Engineered using the Silica painting engine, painting & sketching on an iPad has never been so responsive and precise.

4. Animation Desk for iPhone ($1.99) Animation Desk for iPhone is a mobile application that allows users to create hand-drawn animations on iPhone or iPod Touch. The drawing interface provided by the app resembles the real working environment of a professional animator who completes each frame of an animation on a specially-designed desk, the animation desk.

5. SoundHound ($6.99) SoundHound is an instant music search and discovery app for music recognition, including via singing and humming, lyrics, and on iPad, YouTube videos. 6. Brushes($4.99) The ever-popular painting application featuring an advanced color picker, several realistic brushes, layers, extreme zooming, and a simple yet deep interface.

Apps For “Serious” Gamers

1. Infinity Blade II ($6.99) The continuing journey of young Siris unfolds as you delve deeper into the world of the Deathless tyrants and their legion of Titans. Includes Unreal Engine 3 graphics, new styles of combat, an immersive 3D works and more.

2. Grand Theft Auto 3 ($2.99) Grand Theft Auto III brings to life the dark and seedy underworld of Liberty City. With a massive and diverse open world, a wild cast of characters from every walk of life and the freedom to explore at will, Grand Theft Auto III puts the dark, intriguing and ruthless world of crime at your fingertips.

3. Dead Space ($0.99) Featuring hardcore gameplay and a rich audio experience, immerse yourself in events that unleash the Necromorph horde again – and set the stage for the horrifying action of Dead Space 2. Hailed by fans and critics, this stunning vision of the Dead Space franchise is truly a landmark “must-play.”

4. StarFront: Collision ($0.99) Similar to Starcraft II, this real-time strategy title from Gameloft brings you to a Sci-Fi world on the planet Sinistral, where rare Xenodium crystals are coveted by a human mining conglomerate called the Consortium. The Myriad, an indigenous race of aliens, is addicted to Xenodium and will do everything they can to prevent the Consortium from plundering their resources. To add to the chaos, a sentient robot race called the Wardens is trying to turn the war in their favor.

5. Asphalt 6 ($0.99) Another Gameloft title, Asphalt 6 lets you build a dream collection from 42 cars and bikes, race your friends across the city streets of L.A., Tokyo, the Bahamas and more. 11 leagues and 55 events are included.

6. Shadowgun($2.99) Shadowgun puts you into the role of John Slade, the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter. Your mission: hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon, maniacal genius and leader of his own mutant army. Infiltrate Dr. Simon’s mountain fortress and fight his personal guard of cyborgs, battle droids, and genetically-enhanced humanoids.

Apps For Casual Gamers (Aka “Everyone”)

1. World of Goo ($4.99) A popular PC and Mac puzzle game has been transitioned to iOS devices, letting you drag and drop living, squirming, talking, globs of goo to build structures, bridges, cannonballs, zeppelins, and giant tongues.

2. Cut The Rope: Experiments ($0.99) Intrigued by the candy-eating monster Om Nom’s insatiable appetite for sweets, the Professor puts him through a series of experiments in this all-new game, a follow-up to one of the most original in the App Store.

3. Angry Birds Seasons ($0.99) Angry Birds’ holiday app includes 25 new levels in the Christmas edition featuring gingerbread cookies, bells, twinkling lights, and candy canes. The newest Angry Bird will also make an appearance. And on the last day you’ll meet the big pig himself.

4. Tiny Wings ($0.99) Players assume the role of a bird with tiny wings. You use hills as jumps to fly up, then gravity pulls you back down again. The goal is to see how far the bird can fly until the sun sets.

5. Scribblenauts Remix ($0.99) A popular Warner Bros. Nintendo DS puzzle game involves a character called Maxwell who solves puzzles by drawing or typing in tools like blocks or bridges. Includes 40 levels, 10 that are exclusive to iOS.

6. Fruit Ninja ($0.99) Fruit Ninja is a juicy action game enjoyed by millions of players around the world, with squishy, splatty and satisfying fruit carnage! Become the ultimate bringer of sweet, tasty destruction with every slash.

7. Words With Friends($0.99) Zynga’s version of Scrabble now has over 20 million people addicted to the word building, triple score seeking, chat bubble sending goodness of Words With Friends.

Apps To Keep Your Kid Quiet For At Least 2 Minutes

1. Bugs And Buttons ($2.99) Bugs and Buttons is a uniquely styled collection of games and activities that are entertaining and educational. The app goes beyond simply great graphics and beautiful music by engaging children through intriguing game play that progressively adapts to their skill level.

2. The Three Little Pigs ($1.99 -sale), Cinderella ($7.99) (Books from Nosy Crow) Fun, animated versions of children’s classics with great graphics, sounds and interactivity.

3. Peekaboo Barn ($1.99) Inside a little bouncing barn, friendly farm animals are waiting to pop out and surprise your little one. Work with your child to learn the names of animals and hear the sounds they make. Younger children will love opening the barn doors to find a new animal animation, as they learn about cause and effect and become familiar with animal names and sounds.

4. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($0.99) Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is a collection of six exciting educational games for your preschooler including games for memory, counting, letters, shapes and more. (ages 2 to 5).

5. Nighty Night!($0.99) The bedtime book “Nighty Night!” for iPad helps children get to know animals interactively while preparing to go to bed. Dog, Pig, Sheep, Duck, Cow, Fish and Chickens moo and bubble, hop and lay eggs, until a kid turns the light out and the animals go to sleep.

Apps For Bloggers, Social Networkers And Other People Who Don’t Need App Lists

1. Tweetbot ($2.99) Tweetbot is a full-featured iPhone (and iPod Touch) Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it’s the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds & animation, or features like multiple timelines & smart gestures, there’s a lot to love about Tweetbot.

2. Momento ($2.99) Momento is a unique diary/journal writing application which provides a quick and easy way to privately record moments throughout your day. Connect with popular web services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Foursquare, Gowalla, YouTube, Vimeo, Digg and Last.fm, to collect and display your online activity as part of your diary.

3. AP Stylebook 2011 ($24.99) The Associated Press Stylebook is an essential tool for writers, editors, students and public relations professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines on spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, with special sections on reporting business and sports.

4. Reeder for iPad ($4.99) A beautiful Google Reader client which lets you sync feeds, star, notate and save items to Instapaper, ReadItLater, Readability, Delicious, Pinboard, Zootool, or share with Facebook and Twitter.

Last-Minute Gift Guide 2011: iOS Apps

The iPhone 4S: Faster, More Capable, And You Can Talk To It


What does the “S” stand for?

When I ask Apple this, they’re vague in their response. They note that some people say it stands for “Special” or “Super”. Others say it’s for “Speed” — much like the iPhone 3GS, the successor to the iPhone 3G. Or maybe it’s “Storage” (this is the first iPhone with 64 GB option — and with iCloud storage). Or “Sprint” (this is the first iPhone to run on that network in the U.S.) Or perhaps it’s for “Speech” or “Siri”. Either of these last two would get my vote. The point is, the “S” can stand for any number of things depending on who is using the device. Here’s all I know for certain: this is the best iPhone yet.

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of talk in the blogosphere following the unveiling of the iPhone 4S last week. Some pundits seemed underwhelmed by what was unveiled on stage. “Where’s the iPhone 5?,” many wondered. Arguing over names is silly — Apple could have easily called this device the “iPhone 5″. But I assume they chose not to for the same reason that some actually felt underwhelmed: the iPhone 4S looks exactly like the iPhone 4. Fair or not, if a device looks the same, many will assume it is largely the same.

But that would be selling the iPhone 4S well short. While it does look the same as the iPhone 4, the 4S contains innards that are a significant upgrade over the previous model. The two biggest changes are the faster chip — the A5 over the A4 — and the much-improved camera. Combine those with the new iOS 5 software, and you have what will definitely be a worthwhile upgrade for many users. And when you throw in the amazing new voice-driven “intelligent assistant” Siri, it becomes a no-brainer, in my mind. These are the aspects I’m going to focus on.

The A5

First of all, the iPhone 4S blows away the iPhone 4 when it comes to speed. For the past week, I’ve been testing all of my most-used apps and the differences range from solid to awesome. At first glance, the speed difference may seem subtle. But over time, it adds up and becomes apparent. I would switch back to my iPhone 4 and get frustrated by the lag.

Apps that used to take a longer time to perform a task — applying a filter in Camera+, for example — now work much faster. More generally, every app seems to load quite a bit faster. The best way to see this is to load the Settings app that is built into iOS. On the iPhone 4, it can take up to 3 seconds to load. On the iPhone 4S, it loads in less than a second. And the 4S is faster at switching between apps when multi-tasking.

Better still is the performance boost that games get. Apple showcased Infinity Blade 2 during their demo last week, but the improvements to even less graphic-intensive games is impressive. Apple says that graphics can render up to seven times quicker thanks to the A5.

The Camera

The camera is an even bigger deal to me. As I’ve been following for some time, and Apple noted last week, the iPhone has become the most popular camera in the world if you go by the images uploaded to Flickr. And it’s not even close. This new camera in the iPhone 4S goes above and beyond. And it’s going to push that lead even further.

If the point-and-shoot market wasn’t in trouble before, it will be now.

Much will be made about the upgrade from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels with the iPhone 4S. But the bigger difference is the engineering behind the new camera. Apple notes with pride that their engineers were able to completely re-architect this tiny camera to produce images that are on par with the nicest point-and-shoots available. They credit five “precision elements” to record incoming light (versus four in the already excellent iPhone 4 camera) and the inclusion of a larger f/2.4 aperture to bring in more light.

I was actually in London last week when I got the 4S. For the trip, I brought my Canon S95, a $400 point-and-shoot which is generally considered to be one of the best. I barely used it. While it still bests the iPhone 4S in low-light settings, for all most other environments, it’s hard to tell the difference. Yes, the S95 is still better, but it’s no longer so much better than it can trump a device that I always have in my pocket with me anyway. Yep, point-and-shoots are screwed. (In case that wasn’t already abundantly clear.)

Also great is that the iPhone 4S camera can shoot 1080p video for the first time. The iPhone 4 is limited to 720p. The 4S also features video stabilization, to ensure your home videos won’t make viewers want to vomit. Testing this out, it seems to work pretty well.

Below, a video taken with the 4S (be sure to switch the embed to 1080p):

Below, an image taken with the 4S (more at the bottom of the post):

iOS 5 & iCloud

Considering that Apple has been talking about iOS 5 for several months now, and developers have been testing it out and showing it off for almost that long, I’m not going to focus on it too much. I too have been using a developer build of iOS 5 for months, and it is without question a worthwhile upgrade. If you have an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, you absolutely need to download it immediately (starting when it’s available tomorrow). With the iPhone 4S, all the new features simply run faster and a little bit more smoothly.

The best addition to iOS 5 is the revamped Notifications system. Yes, it’s a bit like the system that Android and webOS have had for a while, but once again, Apple took their time to make sure they did this right. Gone are the annoying blue pop-ups that would get lost when another notification came in. Now you have a full-on notification center to keep track of everything you miss when you’re away from your phone or simply not in the mood to check it. Again, having used it for a few months now, I’m spoiled. There is no way I could go back to the old system.

Other key new features of iOS 5 including Twitter integration (which we talked about more in-depth here), the new iMessage (SMS killer), Reminders (an Apple-built to-do list), and a faster version of the Safari web browser.

But the biggest change of iOS 5 may be that you can now setup and manage your iOS device without having to use a PC or a Mac at all. When you boot up a new device, a short tutorial walks you through how to enable the services you wish to use, and activate your phone. It’s quick and painless.

You can also now use iCloud to back up your phone and for the don’t-call-it-syncing of your data. iTunes in the Cloud and Photo Stream are great additions for people who simply do not want to manage content through the iTunes desktop software. Apple comes closer to an “it just works” system than anything I’ve seen previously. Regular people will be able to use this.


All of that sounds great. And these things would be enough to get millions of people to buy an iPhone 4S without any questions asked. But the true killer feature of the device is Siri.

Yes, others have done voice controls before — even Apple has had them baked into iOS for a few years. But most, including Apple’s previous attempt, have been awful. Others, like Google’s voice services built into Android, are decent. Siri is great.

In the coming weeks and months, we’re going to hear: “both fill-in-the-blank-Android-phone and the iPhone 4S have voice control functionality”. But that’s like saying both Citizen Kane and BioDome are films. True on paper. Decidedly less true when you have to actually experience them.

You really have to use it yourself to see just how great Siri actually is. Using it for the past week, I’ve done everything from getting directions, to sending emails, to sending text messages, to looking up information on WolframAlpha, to getting restaurant recommendations on Yelp, to taking notes, to setting reminders, to setting calendar appointments, to setting alarms, to searching the web. The amount of times Siri hasn’t been able to understand and execute my request is astonishingly low. I’ll say something that I’m sure Siri won’t be able to understand, and it gets it.

Also awesome: when I first tried out the service in London, Siri was set to UK English. It didn’t understand a word I was saying. The Apple reps couldn’t figure out what was going on. But a quick change of the settings had it working perfectly. Siri understands accents as well.

A number of folks have written that while Siri looks good, it seems like a feature that gives good demo but won’t actually get used. I disagree. I think this is a feature that will sell the device. And I think all of Apple’s rivals will have to act quickly to counter it. We’ve all seen the science fiction television shows and films where people talk to their computers like human beings and the computer understands them. That future is now.

Further, I do believe Siri has a real shot at disrupting the stranglehold Google has on mobile search. No one is going to beat Google at their own game, but with Siri, Apple has a way to change the game. Right now, just Yelp and Wolfram Alpha are partners. But this is just a first release of Siri — it’s actually in “beta”. Just imagine what will happen when Apple partners with other services to expand Siri further. And imagine when they have an API that any developer can use. This really could alter the mobile landscape.

To activate Siri, you simply hold down the home button for a couple seconds (similar to the old voice controls). Or there’s a setting you can turn on so that when you bring your iPhone 4S up to your ear, it will activate Siri. Obviously, if you’re on a call, it knows not to do this.

The one downside of Siri: because it uses server-side software to decipher what you’re saying (likely using Nuance-licensed technology), you have to be connected to the Internet in order for Siri to work. But that shouldn’t be an issue in most circumstances.

Before you ask: no, Siri will not be available as part of the iOS 5 upgrade for other devices. It will be an iPhone 4S-only feature. Apple is vague as to why this is, but they do say that part of it has to do with processing power. I also asked about the possibility of Siri coming to the iPad 2 (which has the same A5 chip) — I was told that for now, Siri will be iPhone 4S only.


Those are the key elements on the iPhone 4S, in my mind. Each of them makes the iPhone 4S a worthy purchase in their own right. But it’s Siri that really puts it over the top.

As for upgrades, it’s a tougher call. If you already have an iPhone 4 and still have time left on your two-year contract, it will be a pricey decision to upgrade to an iPhone 4S — especially since you’ll get the iOS 5 features (again, minus Siri) as an upgrade for free. If either speed or the camera are of the utmost importance to you, you should upgrade. If not, go to an Apple Store and see for yourself just how cool Siri is and then decide.

If you’ve had an iPhone 3GS and have been waiting a couple years for the next iPhone to come out, now’s the time to upgrade. If you’re worried just because this is not called the “iPhone 5″ , you’re being foolish.

If you’ve never owned an iPhone before and the 4S will be your first one, you’ll love it. I suspect that millions of Verizon and Sprint customers in the U.S. are going to be in this bucket.

As a bonus: the one issue I’ve had with my Verizon iPhone 4 is that it’s basically useless in much of the rest of the world (which uses GSM, not CDMA). But the iPhone 4S is both GSM and CDMA compatible. Even if you’re a Verizon (or Sprint) customer, you can take it overseas and use it there (for an undoubtedly large carrier fee).

As for battery life, the 4S seems solid. That’s impressive given the faster processor. I would get about 7 hours in heavy usage over mainly 3G on any given day. If I was only on WiFi, more. Apple’s own specs do note that standby battery time has decreased a bit, but it’s not something I noticed enough to make note of.

Leading up to last week’s event, like everyone else, I kept reading the rumors about a new iPhone with a larger screen and completely different form factor. Quite frankly, I was hoping they were wrong. (For the record, I stated that I heard the screen size rumor was wrong weeks ago.) The iPhone 4′s design is the pinnacle of smartphone design in my opinion. I simply could not imagine how they could alter it to make it better. Even making it thinner would mean that it wouldn’t fit as nicely in your hands for taking pictures. Android fanboys are going to love that statement.

I’m happy that Apple decided not to change the form factor even though they had to know there would be some backlash from a certain segment of the population (read: idiots). Instead, Apple focused on the other thing they do best: refining already great products to make them better. The iPhone 4 was a great product. The best smartphone ever made. Now it cedes that title to the iPhone 4S.

Launch Date:
January 4, 1976

October 12, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

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The iPhone 4S: Faster, More Capable, And You Can Talk To It

The iPhone 4S—It’s What’s On The Inside That Counts

iPhome 4S

If you were hoping for a brand new iPhone 5 today, you might be a little disappointed. Instead, Apple announced the iPhone 4S, which looks exactly like the iPhone 4—on the outside. On the inside, it’s a whole different story, and that the message Apple tried to get across during its presentation today. So let’s unpack the iPhone 4S and take a look at its guts to see what’s new.

First, and most importantly, the iPhone 4S will be powered by a new A5 processor. The A5 is a dual-core processor which will be up to twice as fast as the current A4, and seven times faster processing graphics. Apple is also claiming faster data speeds (with maximums of 14.4 Mbps download speeds, and 5.8 Mbps upload). The battery life is slightly longer *8 hours talk time versus 7 hours for the iPhone 4), but standby time is much less (200 hours versus 300).

Second, it’s got a dual CDMA/GSM chip for different networks, making it a world phone (and cheaper to manufacture to boot since Apple won’t have to make two different models for different carriers). The antenna is also redesigned to improve call quality (AT&T should be loving that tweak). There are actually two of them, which can switch between transmitting and receiving.

Third, the camera is much better. Not only is it an 8-megapixel sensor with 60 percent more pixels than the one in the iPhone 4, but it is also designed to capture 73 percent more light 33 percent faster. The camera includes a high end infrared filter as well as five layered lenses which should improve the sharpness of pictures by up to 30 percent. And since the camera is one of the most used features on the phone, double-tapping the home button now opens the camera. The time it takes to get off your first shot is 1.1 seconds, and half a second for each shot after that. And it shoots 1080p video as well.

That’s the hardware. The iPhone 4S also will ship with iOS 5, and all the iCloud-enabled apps. AirPlay will aslo work on the phone so that you can stream videos wirelessly to your Apple TV.

But the biggest new piece of software that takes advantage of the A5 chip is the Siri Assistant, a voice-controlled assistant you can call up anytime by holding down the home button for a few seconds. You can ask it the weather, time, directions from Yelp, schedule a meeting on your calendar, reply to messages, play a song from iTunes, or ask any factual question via Wolfram Alpha. All with voice commands.

Prices start at $199 for a 16GB phone, and go up to $399 for 64GB. Who’s buying one?

Screenshot via Engadget

Launch Date:
January 4, 1976

October 5, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

Learn more


Apple’s iPhone was introduced at MacWorld in January 2007 and officially went on sale June 29, 2007, selling 146,000 units within the first weekend of launch. The phone has been hailed as revolutionary with its bundle of advanced mobile web browsing, music and video playback, and touch screen controls. The iPhone is exclusively carried on the networks of both AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.

An iPhone can function as a video camera (video recording was not a standard feature…

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The iPhone 4S—It’s What’s On The Inside That Counts