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Apple launches iPhone 4S

Industry heavyweight Apple has unveiled its latest product development – the iPhone 4S – at an invitation-only event at the company headquarters in Cupertino, California.

And while the announcement is significant, it seemed to fall flat with audience members who were expecting the launch of the much-hyped iPhone 5.

However, the iPhone 4S is still an impressive technological feat and the team at Apple have improved on previous models of their flagship product.

The latest smartphone comes with faster graphics, an eight mega-pixel camera, 1080 HP video recording, temporal noise silencer and a dual core A5 processor, which is also available on the iPad 2.

It seems that Apple has learnt from customer feedback and applied popular features to its latest development.

Yet the ability of this mobile to compete with Google's Android operating system appears limited, predominately due to the fact that it does not have near field communication (NFC) technology.

In effect, this means that iPhone users will not be able to 'tap' – the term Google uses to describe how its mobile credit feature functions – and pay for services using their handset.

Failing to update this feature may undermine the innovation test the company obviously places on itself, however, it is widely rumoured that the iPhone 5 will step up to the challenge presented by Google.

Apple may be seeking to broaden its user base by also releasing a trimmed-down version of the iPhone 4.

The economic mobile has eight gigabytes of storage and will be made available for consumers in North America on contracts for as little as US$99.

Australians may find themselves waiting to join their American compatriots who will be able to use the new services in coming weeks.

At present the local 4G telecommunications network does not appear to service the latest smartphone from Apple.

It is also unclear when the more affordable version of the phone will be launched in Australia, although it is expected to happen shorty.

Given the high rate of take-up for Apple products by consumers Down Under, it would be uncharacteristic for minor delays to prevent users from updating their phones.

The launch was the first for new chief executive officer Tim Cook who took over from Steve Jobs in August this year.