Does it feel like we’re doing a lot of these things lately? After big unveiling announcements from both Facebook and Amazon in the last few weeks, the tech world had its main event this afternoon in the form of Apple’s big “buy our stuff!” party. Since assuming power from Steve Jobs in August, new CEO Tim Cook has stayed largely out of the public eye, but today he took the stage at his first major product launch to do the same song and dance that helped make his predecessor an icon. After an hour or so of the fairly boring stuff, Cook got to the part everyone was waiting for — the new iPhone — and then he broke their hearts.
Instead of the much-anticipated iPhone 5, Apple addicts will be allowed to buy the iPhone 4S later this month. The phone will have the same design as the old model, but comes complete with a better camera (eight megapixels), HD video, faster data speeds, better battery life, and the voice-controlled “assistant” called Siri. But it’s not the 5!
The news sent Apple’s stock price down nearly 4 percent almost instantly, although it has leveled out a little bit in the minutes since. Minutes! Calm down, people.
The iPhone 4S will be available (on AT&T, Verizon, and even Sprint) for $199 in 16-gigabyte form, $299 for 32-gigabytes, and $399 for the 64-gigabyte whopper. The suddenly ancient iPhone 4 will cost $99, and a basically useless iPhone 3G will be free with a contract. Pre-orders start October 7, and the phones land one week later.
In one part of the speech guaranteed to be overlooked on account of a shiny new thing that’s not quite new enough, Cook said early on that Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods worldwide. For some perspective, he said it took Sony 30 years to sell 220,000 Walkman cassette players. Oh, and the Zune is dead.
This post has been updated with additional information.