iPhone 4S a Better 4, Voice at the Center

The iPhone launch is over: it was a 4S and not 5. An iPhone 5 is lurking but won't be released for an uncertain period of time. You can read coverage of the Apple event until you're blue in the face here. Post-game analysis starts now.

Basically the device is a much upgraded version of iPhone 4: it's faster, has a better camera and works on CDMA or GSM networks. In other words you can take it anywhere and it will work. It doesn't have a larger screen and won't work on 4G networks. Those things are probably being reserved for the iPhone 5. 

Most intriguing today was the announcement of the Siri voice assistant. It's Siri, which was bought by Apple in April of last year, but more polished and integrated into the operating system. My colleague Authour will have more to say about it, but it will perform a broad array of functions, including search and local search.

This will be the most prominent use of speech on a mobile device. The speech front end is powered by Nuance. The Siri part is the intelligence inside that knows how to answer or route a query or what app to invoke. It has a "beta" label attached, however. Apple apparently doesn't feel totally confident about how it will work, although it has got to be very polished at this point.