iPhone 4S

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2011-12-29 Print this article Print

iPhone 4S

Throughout 2011, rumors abounded about Apple's next iPhone. Supposedly informed sources told various news outlets that the company's upcoming device would feature a radically different exterior, in addition to upgraded hardware and software. Apple itself, however, remained close-lipped; the company had long since learned that keeping its collective mouth shut was worth millions in free publicity.

Summer, the usual unveiling time for the new iPhone, came and went without a peep from Apple. Instead, the company chose to whip the curtain back in October. Instead of "iPhone 5," the new device was the "iPhone 4S," and seemed virtually identical in appearance to the iPhone 4. Nonetheless, it boasted a more powerful processor along with Siri, a "personal digital assistant" that responded to the user's voice queries. It also came loaded with iOS 5, a significant upgrade to the company's mobile operating system.

The iPhone 4S sold more than 4 million units during its first weekend in release in mid-October. By then, of course, Apple was wrestling with one of the biggest events in its history.

Steve Jobs' Death

Steve Jobs had been fighting cancer for years, although he did seemingly everything in his power to prevent the details of his condition from leaking to the press. In August he surrendered the CEO reins to Cook, insisting in a statement that he was unable to carry out his duties; from that point forward, speculation abounded that he was indeed sick again.

On Oct. 5, Apple announced Jobs' death, its Website opening with a black-and-white photo of him. The accompanying statement read: "Apple has lost a visionary and a creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being." 

Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, published a short time later, featured passages in which his subject publicly worried over Apple's ability to endure in his absence. The big question in 2012-and beyond-will be whether the current roster of executives will indeed keep Apple in its enviable position.

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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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