As Apple announced this morning one million iPhone 4S pre-orders in just 24 hours and some customers began receiving shipping notifications, someone out there already has the handset in their hands and they have a video to prove it (via MacRumors). The interesting bit is the Siri section in Settings which lets you choose between activating Siri by holding down the home button or simply raising your handset to your ear, which 9to5Mac indicated back in August. This feature isn’t simply activated via the iPhone’s proximity sensor sensing your ear (like the Google app for iOS), but also taps motion sensors for accuracy as well. Other Siri options in the Settings interface include language choices (English, French and German at launch, Apple promised more to come at a later stage), Voice Feedback, My Info and enabling/disabling Siri system-wide. According to early benchmarks, Apple wasn’t lying describing iPhone 4S as “twice as fast”. The handset scores 2222.1 milliseconds in the SunSpider benchmark and 89567 in the BrowserMark benchmark. This compares to a BrowserMark score of 44856 on an iPhone 4 with iOS 5.
Much of the speed gain stems from the A5 chip which first appeared in iPad 2 this Spring. Apple says the dual-core A5 chip inside iPhone 4S enables two times faster CPU performance and up to seven times faster graphics versus nine times graphics performance on iPad 2. The discrepancy in graphics performance between iPad 2’s and iPhone 4S’s A5 chip likely is attributed to a lower clock frequency on the latter, a concession to preserve battery life. Apple says Siri, an AI-driven personal assistant feature exclusive to iPhone 4S, cannot be realized on earlier iPhone versions due to significant computational requirements (although that doesn’t stop hackers from trying). The A5 chip is thought to pack in a dual-core Cortex-A9 processing core from ARM Holdings, Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX543 MP2 graphics unit (also dual-core) and 1GB of RAM. None of this has been officially confirmed because Apple doesn’t go into chip details and its partners are mum on the matter as well, so we’ll have to wait for an x-ray analysis for some clue. In addition to Siri, the chip’s digital signal processing capabilities are also being utilized to stabilize shaky video in real-time when recording clips using the built-in Camera app (and likely in other places as well).
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