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Apple’s iPhone 4S: Faster, Not Slimmer

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The iPhone 4S: Available on Sprint from Oct. 14.

Just don’t call it the iPhone 5. The just unveiled iPhone 4S may not look any different on the outside, but it’s souped up on the inside with a faster operating system and better graphics. And when it goes on sale Oct. 14th, it will be the first iPhone available on Sprint.

Unlike its predecessor, the 4S uses the faster chip developed for the iPad. As predicted, it’s a “world phone,” so you can choose any overseas carrier when traveling. Oh, and it’s got a cool new camera. “This will be the best still camera they’ve ever owned and the best video cameras they’ve ever owned,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told the press conference in Cupertino, Ca.

Here’s how the new model compares with the previous model:

iPhone 4S: $199/16GB, $299/32GB, $399/64GB. (iPhone 4 will now be $99/GB and free for 3GS on contract).

Availability: Sprint, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. (iPhone 4: Verizon and AT&T).

Roll out: It will be available in 70 countries with 100 carriers.

Camera quality: 8-megapixels and 33% faster. (iPhone 4: 5-megapixels).

Video quality: 1,080p HD video. (iPhone 4: 720p).

Color: black and white (iPhone 4: black and white).

“Siri” technology: Voice-activated “personal assistant” software supported by Yelp.com to find restaurants.

That’s all good news for Sprint, which has something that the others don’t: Unlimited data. Sprint, the country’s third-largest cell phone carrier, comes late to the party, but analysts say its unlimited data plan will set it apart from the rest. Sprint currently has three flat rate plans for unlimited data: $70, $90 and $100. Verizon and AT&T have both stopped offering unlimited data. When AT&T and Verizon’s existing contracts with unlimited data plans on the iPhone 4 expire, their customers will kiss goodbye to all-you-can-eat data.

Samir Sakpal, industry manager and senior analyst for Frost & Sullivan, says this is a big advantage to Sprint for one very simple reason: Consumers buy smartphones to browse – check their Google Maps or send messages to their friends on Facebook. “A good mix of carriers would do well for consumers,” he says. Although the big three – AT&T, Verizon and Sprint – could see some shifts in plans with that extra competition from Sprint, Sakpal says Sprint is likely to keep unlimited data as a driver to its faster network.

What do you think of the iPhone 4S?

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    • the i phone 4 is such an incredible phone. What a blessing to be able to own one of these phones. How could one not want an i phone 4s with a faster operating system, a bigger and better camera and now, it is a world phone. No problems using the phone when travelling overseas. Thank you apple!!

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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