Apple says hello, waves goodbye

iPhone 4S
Apple launched the iPhone 4S this week, but sadly that wasn't all that happened

This week was always going to be about Apple, but sadly not in the way we expected: a typically exciting Apple product announcement was overshadowed by the death of Steve Jobs.

The week started on a much brighter note, though, with the usual excitable predictions about the forthcoming iPhone 5. It would be bigger, faster, completely different, filled with tiny elves and able to make biscuits fly, the rumour sites said, but our resident grump Gary Marshall wasn't convinced. "We'll get the

iPhone 4S

," he wrote, "an evolutionary step rather than a revolutionary one."

Marshall's prediction? "It will have an A5 chip, more storage, more RAM, [a] better camera and the same basic form factor as the iPhone 4," he wrote. "There will be a black one. There will be a white one. There will be Facebook integration alongside the Twitter integration we already know about. The iPhone 4 will take the 3GS's place as the entry level iPhone."

He was pretty close - the Facebook integration didn't materialise, and the 3GS lives on - but he was right when he said "if that's all Apple announces, there will be groans." But were the groans justified?

Patrick Goss's Hands on: iPhone 4S review admits that "it's difficult not to feel a little underwhelmed" but pointed out that "Apple has a way of making the features that rivals implemented years ago seem shiny and new." For Goss, "the iPhone 4S lives up to its billing as the best ever iPhone."

"The interesting thing here isn't the iPhone 4S," Marshall wrote after the keynote. "It's the 3GS... what's happening here is history repeating." Just like it did with the iPod, Apple is expanding its iPhone line-up so there's a device for everyone.

"There's an iPhone for the early adopters, one for the "I'll wait until the price comes down" crowd, and one for people who fancied an iPhone but couldn't justify the cost. That's a lot of market coverage."

iPhones for every pocket

Apple now has three iPhone models on sale: the 3GS, the 4 and the 4S. Wouldn't it be great if somebody compared all three? Enter Dan Grabham, who's done just that. We've also found out the iPhone 4S UK price, and we're tracking the iPhone 4S UK deals as and when they're announced - although we suspect some firms will keep schtum until the iPhone 4S goes on sale on 14 October.

iOS 5 is released on the same day, so even if you don't buy an iPhone 4S you'll be able to make your 3GS or 4 feel shiny and new too.

One of the most interesting things about the iPhone 4S is its camera, with Apple providing some utterly stunning demo shots - but were they realistic, and if they are, would you be better off with an iPhone 4S than a point-and-shoot camera?

Amy Davies investigated, and found that "the iPhone 4S is unlikely to be able to compete with some of the premium compacts on the market", but as smartphone cameras get better and better, budget camera manufacturers should watch their backs.

Sad news

Just as everyone settled down into the usual Apple-yay, Apple-nay arguing, we received sad news: Apple founder Steve Jobs died on Thursday, aged just 56. As Bill Gates put it: "the world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come". The world of technology has lost a giant.

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