Apple shares fall after new iPhone launch

Steve Dinneen
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APPLE yesterday unveiled an update to its world-beating smartphone but disappointed fans by failing to launch the anticipated iPhone 5.

The markets sighed in unison with the fan-boys, with Apple stock falling as much as five per cent yesterday, before recovering most of the lost ground.

Tim Cook made his inaugural product launch as full-time chief executive of the company, ten years on from – and in the same room as – the launch of Apple’s first generation iPod.

The iPhone 4S is faster than its predecessor, featuring a dual core A5 processor designed by Cambridge-based ARM, improved battery life and a more powerful camera.

Its biggest draw, though, is the new Siri voice recognition feature, which finally appears to have succeeded where many other companies have failed. During the demonstration, an Apple executive wrote text messages, asked for the spelling of words and scheduled meetings, all through conversational voice prompts.

However, the 4S chassis remains the same as the iPhone 4 – Apple’s most popular handset to date – dashing the hopes of fans dreaming of a complete overhaul.

And anybody hoping the iPhone 5 will be along soon may be disappointed – there was a wait of a year between the iPhone 3GS and the 4.

Cook also said Apple’s grasp on the personal computing market is tightening, with sales of its Mac range growing more than 20 per cent quicker than its rivals and now accounting for 23 per cent of the market.

He also said 18bn apps have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store, with the number growing at a rate of 1bn a month.

The iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order on Friday and ship a week later.