At a press conference at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters on Monday, new CEO Tim Cook introduced the next iteration of its popular iPhone. While some had hoped for a totally new phone (the "let's talk iPhone" messaging on Apple's event invite led to rumors of an "iPhone 5") the company instead unveiled the iPhone 4S, a reworked version with a faster processor, new antenna and better camera--all of which may thrill gamers and amateur concert photographers, but seemed to disappoint those who were hoping for a new design.
Below, some highlights from the event:
• "I love Apple," Cook--dressed in a a dark shirt and jeans reminiscent of his predecessor Steve Jobs--said at the start of the press conference. "And I consider it the privilege of a lifetime to have worked here almost 14 years to work in this new role."
• While the event was centered on the iPhone, Cook--as Jobs used to do at previous events--highlighted all of Apple's products. Cook said one out of every four computers sold in America is a Mac, and that Apple owns 70 percent of the portable music market with the iPod. (He also said Apple sold 45 million iPods in the year-ending in June, and half went to people who had never before bought an iPod.)
• Cook noted that Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods around the world. It took Sony 30 years to sell 220,000 Walkman cassette players, he said.
• Despite the flap over the iPhone 4 antenna, Cook claimed that Apple leads the world in customer satisfaction--with 96 percent of users claiming to be "very satisfied" or above. Despite the booming sales, the iPhone makes up only 5 percent of the 1.5 billion cell phones on the planet.
• Cook said 80 percent of American hospitals and 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing iPads, and while other companies scramble to get into the tablet game; Apple dominates sales on a scale of almost three to one.
• The Apple's app store now boasts more than a billion downloads a month, and to goose sales further they are now offering something called Cards, which allows you to craft a message on your iPhone or iPad and then send that message the old fashioned way--on high quality paper, in an envelope with a stamp through the mail. As a bonus, you get a text message letting you know when the card has arrived.
• As expected, Apple unveiled its new operating system, iOS 5, for iPads and iPhones--adding new bells and whistles to 10 different apps, including a camera, which will now live on the lock-out screen and allow you to pinch-to-zoom and auto focus on a specific face or object. It has red-eye removal as well.
• A new app called "Find My Friends" shows you if your iPhone-carrying kids made it to school or exactly where your buddies are at the beach. It comes with privacy and parental controls, and is one of the features of the new iCloud service. iCloud stores music, photos, books and apps and syncs them across all your Apple devices automatically and wirelessly. The free service comes with 5GB of storage.
• There had been speculation that ten years after launch, the iPod would be phased into extinction with the rise of the iPhones and iTouch. "We're still making iPods," Apple's Phil Schiller said before showing off enhancements to the iPod Nano.
• After nearly an hour touting sales success and improvements to the operating system and apps, Schiller finally segued to the announcement we've been waiting for and unveils ... the iPhone 4S.
• The phone's new 8 megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S has better sensors, filters and a lens that is "30 percent sharper." The video camera now shoots in 1080p high definition.
• Without an entirely new iPhone design to unveil, Apple appeared to milk a press conference, underwhelm and ultimately annoy media and fans alike. Unlike Apple events helmed by Jobs, this was no "game-changer." As one user put it on Twitter, "It's like expecting George Clooney and getting your old boyfriend in a new car."