Oct 04 AT 3:20 PM Dustin Earley 54 Comments

New Apple iPhone 4S availability, pricing creates fierce competition for Android

iPhone 4 4S

Apple has just announced their latest version of the iPhone–a reworked version of the iPhone 4 known as the iPhone 4S. Design wise, nothing has changed. Internally, Apple is finally catching up. And in pricing and availability? It looks like Android will finally face some stiff competition when it comes to who sells the iPhone and for how much.

For those of you who didn’t watch any live-blogs or disconnected from Twitter, here’s how the pricing and availability of the new iPhone breaks down. The iPhone 4S is the world phone (GSM + CDMA) and will be available on October 14t for AT&T, Verizon and finally Sprint.

Pricing for the iPhone 4S with a 2-year contract:

  • 16GB – $199
  • 32GB – $299
  • 64GB – $399

As far as the older iPhone 4 and 3GS go, there will be an 8GB iPhone 4 available for $99 on contract (will rely heavily on “the cloud,” should be available through AT&T, Verizon and Sprint), and the iPhone 3GS (AT&T only) will be free. Now before we go any further, I know what you’re thinking. This pricing by no means gives Apple the edge when it comes to selling phones on contract. What it does do, however, is put the company in a much more competitive position in several different arenas.

The iPhone has always been considered a premium product. Pricing models have reflected that. In fact they still do ($399 on contract?!), but now there is some sort of option for iPhone buyers across the board. Before, when someone walked into a store with $100 looking for a phone, they couldn’t get an iPhone 4. Now they can. And comparatively, the iPhone 4 can still hold its own. Of course there are far superior Android phones for the same price (or less) specs wise. It’s going to come down to which devices carriers try to push harder.

AT&T has stayed faithful to Apple and probably will continue to do so. Verizon has been very open with the devices they push. They have always placed a lot of emphasis on how awesome Android is, iPhone or not. Sprint, on the other hand, is an entirely new factor in the equation.

Recently, Google has placed a lot of faith in Sprint and vice versa. Sprint has allowed Google to try things out with the carrier, including Google Voice integration and Google Wallet. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint’s newly acquired iPhone deal wasn’t cheap. WSJ has sources saying that Sprint will pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 billion for 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years. In other words, Sprint has inked a deal for the iPhone that means they won’t be actually making money until 2014.

This Is My Next has pointed out that Sprint sees around 12 million upgrades per year and that they will need to sell 8 million iPhones to stay on track with the deal. Out of 12 million devices, Sprint needs 8 million of them to be iPhones. At this point, one can’t help but wonder, has Google just lost a partner in the mobile space? How could Sprint possibly sell the iPhone 4S at these kinds of numbers while still giving Android an equal amount of attention? It would seem they can’t.

Of course Sprint is just one carrier. The iPhone’s release on Verizon didn’t hurt Android in the way some analysts predicted. And there’s a good chance a Sprint iPhone won’t have a devastating impact either. Apple is merely putting more pressure on Google to stay focused. With the pricing of handsets, choice of carriers and huge variety of form factors, Google and Android will continue to do great if they continue down the path they’re on.

That includes focusing on a wide availability of devices (please don’t release the next Nexus only on Verizon!) and competitive pricing. Google is going to close 2011 out with a bang. And whether you like it or not, Apple has helped push them to do it. Fierce competition has pushed Google to constantly work on how they can make their products better for us, the consumers. Don’t expect that to stop anytime soon.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • triangle

    From the commentary in the blogosphere, it sounds like even apple fanboys were underwhelmed by today’s announcement. While Sprint will sell more iphones, it will probably take more subscribers away from the other carriers with its unlimited plan. I think the Prime is going to blow the iphone 4S out of the water, though hopefully, there is no letdown like the one that the apple fanboys are feeling today.

    • R.S

      Underwhelmed is putting it nicely. I’d say many were raging!

      I found it ridiculously funny how many have the “I don’t want my new phone to look like and be confused for last years model!” elitist attitude.

      As for whether or not having it now available on Sprint will hurt Android, I doubt it. As it was already mentioned, having it on Verizon (a much better network than Sprint) didn’t hurt sales much, if at all. Having it on Sprint will make less of an impact especially since I don’t see anyone leaving their current carrier to go to Sprint for it’s iPhone.

      • ags29

        Underwhelmed is definitely enough to explain it all.

        Hopefully Google will now improve Voice Actions though because Siri is giving it a good run for its money now. Win-win for us.

    • 569

      the iPhone 5 will maul this iPhone 4ass

  • kwills88

    I don’t get get how people get impressed with apple, they do this every year, they create a new device with minor updates that they could have easily done with an ota sent to their older models..and have a big event for it, people get excited and throw their money at them..I just hope ICS make a really huge impact so I can have another reason to stare at my iPhone user friends all funny.

    • CactusCat

      I’m going to respond to your good observations. Apple is indeed good with what they do. However, you have to remember, they only have ONE item to take care of. The OEMs release many different models so there is much more to keeping them updated. That’s the drawback if you want to call it that. In return, the OEMs offer CHOICE and freedom. So yes, while Apple does well with its one model of phone, and then keeps them updated, it’s much much easier to do when they offer such a limited number of items. I’ll take the freedom and choice. And because of the way Apple does things, they will ALWAYS be behind. They were definitely ahead when the iPhone first appeared but they have been passed and will have to always depend on hype and customer loyalty to maintain. For example, the new SIRI Voice Assistant, meh… we’ve had it for a long time. But they make a big deal out of it. Sigh… Lastly, as in most things, all of this stuff runs in cycles. Remember Nokia a few years back? They ruled the phone industry. But no longer. Apple will have the upper hand for a little while then it will move on to someone else.

  • Dan

    All it means is than my mom has a phone to upgrade too!!!! I’m worried about the unlimited data though?

  • Phil

    Let Sprint try it. If they think they are loosing customers now see how many they loose when they aren’t pushing the latest and greatest Android devices.

    Folks still live in this little distorted iPhone world and completely miss that the iPhone is small potatoes when you look at the entire smartphone landscape

    • Marcus Atrozius

      I think Sprint made a HUGE MISTAKE spending $20 BILLION for the 4S.
      If the 4S flops, they are dead in the water…

      • sprint is done

        sprint is done

  • http://smartic.us bryanl

    I think the real winner from today is the Siri functionality. The video on Apple’s site is pretty impressive. Imagine asking your phone to remind you to do something when you get home. I’m sure this is possible with apps like Locale on the Android platform, but the integration from Apple makes it all appear seamless. Bring on the introduction of ICS!

    • Interpol91

      Yeah Siri really got some attention, especially during the unveiling. I can’t believe so much focus was put into something that is still in beta.

    • Cody Callaway

      I have to say I agree with you and I hope Google has something in store with ICS release and if not they go back to the drawing board because it is well known voice rec is already pretty good on Android and would be even better with some of what Siri has going. I was pretty impressed, and I would be pretty upset if I was a iPhone4 owner and this feature wasnt being pushed in the iOS update.

    • decanem

      but understanding human voice is still not 100% perfect.

      it needs to be TOTALLY reliable in noisy surroundings, not something that you use and think “i hope that worked”

  • Nate B.

    I’m glad it came to Sprint because it’ll just benefit my carrier. I’m waiting for the Nexus Prime though. As a phone geek I’m glad it was announced. I have to admit they excite me but I’ll stick to android. This wasn’t Apples best. I’m sure it’ll perform just as good as any phone out now and even the Nexus Prime. It would of been better on a bigger scale as far as screen and maybe other physical features and looks. I mean their innards are awesome.

    You know what though? This says a lot about Android. We as Android users scream over specs, but we have those and always did. What we need is a unified OS(IC) to play naturally with the beast of specs we get. What make up for Apple all the time is the user experience. Personally the average consumer won’t see the difference right away from the 4S aand 4. We as people who look at the stats as well and understand it will.

    All in all, next week is Prime time.

  • Nathan

    I’m not an apple person but when I first saw it, I was even under whelm. All they did was put a dual core on slap a new 8mp camera and got a new ios with voice controls. Now let me ask how long did android had them? But at least they are catching up right?

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    Looks like the iPhone 4S is not the phone to beat this year, except maybe in the camera department.

    I’m way more down with Android and I have to admit it was a bit surprising to see that Siri was the star of the show. Yes, it looks well polished and groomed, but damn, I was really thinking A6 or a tweak to the A5, maybe more RAM (then again the iPad 2 RAM upgrade was quiet), a slightly larger screen perhaps?

    The one thing I’ve always noticed is that people who support Apple keep claiming they don’t care about specs but they will when Android eventually surpasses iOS in hardware and software.

  • Richard Yarrell

    I applaud Sprint it’s a business choice to add iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S to there profolio ok 2claps. Meanwhile everyone on sprint already knows what sprint cares about most and that is and always will be android. Google and Sprint’s business relationship will only get stronger and that new NEXUS PRIME will be on sprint day one you can rest assured with that because there no reason google will allow verizon any exclusive deal they don’t do business like that especially not with Verizon. Regardless my Evo 3d pimp slaps both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on it’s worst day.

    • snowbdr89

      Haha dick a few days ago you totally ripped apple now you’re lame ass is on the icrap banwagon and google is letting big red have the exclusive rights to the prime!! ASSFACE

      • Nate B.

        I don’t think he’s on the bandwagon, its the fact its for our carrier so we get excited because it helps our carrier customer wise.

      • Richard Yarrell

        PISS on this FOOL he is only a troll nothing more I laugh at him because he stands for nothing other than CRAPPY VERIZON.. Bottomline line Mr. Snowbdr89 you need to buy a life you and that other troll that leaves useless comments in this space squiddy20 you BUMS are definitely brothers

        • squiddy20

          “Crappy” compared to what? Last I heard, it was Verizon’s vastly larger network we Sprint users roam on when we have no Sprint signal. Last I heard, it was Verizon’s 4G network that was still expanding at a stead pace while Sprint’s has been practically dead in the water for about 10 months. Last I heard, Verizon still had the “perk plans” to retain their current customers while Sprint has pretty much gotten rid of all of them (Sprint Premier).

          What’s “useless” to some people is “useful” to others. Go troll somewhere else moron. You’ve failed miserably. Again.

    • Dick


    • angermeans

      I think you are wrong and you will see it. The Nexus Prime will land as an exclusive on Verizon (at least at launch) and let me tell you why in one word, LTE! That is more than likely the feature that Google went for and for good reason as it is light years ahead of WiMax and especially what TMo and ATT are calling 4G these days. I guarentee that is the number one thing Google looked at when looking at partners here in America especially considering where Verizon’s LTE is today (covers over half of America’s people) and even more where it will be in the coming year.

      If you don’t think for a second that Sprint isn’t going to put all their marketing muscle behind the iPhone you are kidding yourself. Did you read the article? They only sell 12mil upgrades a year and they are under contract (which let me reiterate that they basically are betting their company that this phone works) to sell 8mil iPhones a year and I hate to burst your Sprint loving bubble, but grabbing the iPhone and the ever growing library of underwhelming WiMax phones (that will soon be even more outdated when Sprint finally launches LTE, which they will be way late to) doe not compute to enough to keep Sprint backing Android the way they have been. I am willing to bet the deal with Verizon getting the Nexus Prime comes with more behind doors deals between Google and Verizon (especially now that Moto was purchased). Verizon has the money for marketing (much more than Sprint will ever have) and they have the next gen network that is now more than a year ahead of the competition and growing everyday. Sprint will not get the Nexus Prime at launch and I would be surprised if they get it soon. Apple needed Verizon more than Verizon needed Apple and that is the opposite when it comes to Sprint and I promise the behind doors negotiations (knowing how Apple dealt with the iPhone exclusivity with ATT and trying to squash competition with rediculous things like not allowing ATT to have a better phone spec wise than the iPhone or no Android updates). You will see the great Android and Sprint love is heading in the opposite direction than you think, bud

      • Richard Yarrell

        At best VERIZON and there shinny LTE NETWORK IS A JOKE.. What happened to your Galaxy S2?? Get back to me on that one. Truth is your network is great at airports and not in as many areas as you think. Nothing of any importance exist on Verizon what devices do they have?? Droid Bionic some useless Thunderbolt or Droid X2 or LG Revolution there profolio is a OVERPRICED JOKE just like the people leaving these comments. Sprint ushered in the 4G service almost 2yrs ago LTE and verizon was late to the party just like there dualcore devices were late to the party. Say what you want about sprint but they have been kicking carrier butt all year long and there profolio makes verizon look like the garbage they are. Verizon needs the Nexus Prime so badly it’s a joke. REGARDLESS where is the Nexus S4g, EVO 4G, EVO 3D, PHOTON 4G, Galaxy Epic Touch 4G, now IPHONE 4S and IPHONE 4 all on sprint the UNLIMITED NETWORK. People on Verizon wouldn’t know a quality device if they were walking down the street in broad daylight. On October 7th Sprint will have the floor here in New York with there new announcement of there LTE NETWORK we will be laughing on that day as well as on October 11th when the Nexus Prime arrives on sprint.

        • squiddy20

          The real joke is you and Sprint’s Wimax network. No real expansion in 10 or so months? Such a joke it’s not even funny. Not to mention that Wimax will pretty much be abandoned in favor of the SAME “battery draining” (your words, not mine) LTE you are bashing. And in case you haven’t been keeping up with the rumors, Verizon is most likely passing up the SGS2 in favor of the Nexus Prime. Why don’t you just shove your ignorant face further up your a**?

    • squiddy20

      “…there no reason google will allow verizon any exclusive deal they don’t do business like that especially not with Verizon”
      1. Learn to use a f**king period or comma. This is only part of your “sentence” and it’s STILL a run-on sentence. And you’re idiotic enough to call me “useless”? At least I sound educated and check my facts before posting stuff. That’s a HELL of a lot more than you’ve ever done.
      2. Isn’t the Droid brand a “Verizon exclusive” deal? Didn’t Verizon get the first tablet (Xoom) with Honeycomb on it? Isn’t Verizon/Motorola’s extensive ad campaigns what brought Android to prominence in the US? Name for me one logical reason that Google won’t to exclusive business with Verizon. And don’t give me that “they won’t because they don’t” crap, when they obviously do.
      3. WTF did Verizon do to you to deserve your negative opinion of them? Did they turn you down for a phone because you were too poor or something? Get a f**king life.

      • Richard Yarrell

        Jobless bum go buy a real device matter of fact buy a life if you need the money I will send you some by Western union because I already know your jobless

        • squiddy20

          1. I do indeed have a job. Not that you’d know or anything. You know nothing about me and can’t possibly pretend to. Try to make an insult that you might actually be right about and/or doesn’t also include yourself. It’s sad that I have to tell you these things. Shouldn’t you have learned that in all these months?
          2. You can’t “buy” a life. You “get” a better life by going to school, college, life skills classes, etc. Something you obviously don’t know about since you’re the same person you were 4 years ago. A sad, hypocritical, self-centered little child. Try acting your age for once.

          • Richard Yarrell

            Your a sad sacked verizon fanboy put that razor away and go buy a real smartphone

          • squiddy20

            You’ve made a grievous error once again Dick. Need I say AGAIN that I have been a Sprint customer for 9 or so years, I still am a Sprint customer, and I have no plans on switching? I can’t count the number of times I’ve said this in direct response to your sorry ass, but you still can’t seem to get it through that tiny little head of yours. Need I say AGAIN that I don’t have a Razr, but a Samsung Moment which is a Sprint only phone and was marketed as a “smartphone” when it was still being sold?
            Can’t you get anything right? What a joke. The insults you come up with are downright pitiful. 5 year olds could do better. Grow the f**k up.

            BTW, a “razor” is is the thing you shave your grubby little face with. I think the word you were looking for was “Razr”, as that is the correct name of the extremely thin phone made by Motorola several years ago. TRY to get something right once in a while.

  • Dee

    The ball is in Google’s court. Google can use this underwhelming press event to their advantage and really blow us out the water. Apple probably decided to wait and see what Google is coming up with so they can copy it and say its “magical”. i sincerely hope the the PRIME is a beast. Coming to VZW might be a tactic though imo. Remember Apple released the iphone on VZW to curb android? Imagine if the PRIME is released to totally sweep the iphone under the rug..just a thought.
    sidenote- i hope PRIME comes with transformers. lol

  • http://fauxtronic.com fauxtronic

    Well, I’m not an Apple fan by a long shot. When they first came out, their tech specs were well behind non-touch smartphones like the Nokia N95, and although more intuitive to use, they are technically behind most flagship Android handsets. *However*, I am all for competition because it can only mean good things for end users. The tech will become more innovative and prices will tumble. So bring it on I say!

  • Interpol91

    Even I was disappointed with the iPhone 4S. Though the addition of the dual core A5 was good, people were looking for a whole new look which they didn’t get. About a year and a half since the iPhone 4 and this is the best Apple could do since then?

  • Ryan

    It’s really sad that Apple does this to its customer base. They haven’t done anything in terms of pushing the envelope this time around, still lacking a larger screen, 4G, and better camera hardware. It’s clear that they know their fan-base is centered around the name, and their loyal fans will continue to buy the product, even when there is much better available. Terrible consumerism.

    • WickedToby741

      It also doesn’t help that it seems like they’re giving more funding to their legal team than their engineering team. If they would compete through innovation like they used to instead of trying to choke every successful Android device that debuts, they might actually be better off.

  • Prashu

    no wonder steve jobs retired…

  • mrjlwilliams

    This is not create competition for the android phones, an android will continue to be on top. The galaxy s 2 is the best phone on the market, and it will continue to be long after the iphone is gone.

    • Nate B.

      I own the Nexus S 4G and Epic Touch 4G(SGSII) It is the best phone on the market by far. Battery life is amazing. I get through a day with ease and a little above moderate use I would say. But when the Nexus Prime drops, it’ll second behind that.

  • Lars H

    ironically, many customers will now buy the iPhone 3GS (free on contract).
    well, my sister wants to get rid of her blackberry and now wants a 3GS

  • E

    And this is why I came to Android and from the looks of what ios is offering Android is going to be my choice for a very very long time my old outdated EVO 4G with its single core snapdragon seem more inovating that dis huge dissapointment they call the 4S

  • WickedToby741

    iPhone availability on the three main carriers (provided T-Mobile disappears one way or another) is a good thing for Android. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are less likely to push iPhones because they all have them and they’re all the same. Most Android devices are carrier specific and the carriers make more off of the sales of Android devices than iPhones. AT&T may continue to push the 3GS as a budget device and Sprint has a lot on the line if they really shelled out that much, but Verizon will continue to mainly push Android and I think you’ll see AT&T doing so too as they roll out their LTE network. iPhones don’t sport the latest and greatest network technologies and aren’t carrier specific, so I think you’ll see Android phones touted more often.

  • Richard Yarrell

    I wish the trolls that frequent this site @snowbdr89 and @squiddy20 would retire like steve Jobs did this way we wouldn’t have FACELESS PEOPLE LEAVING COMMENTS DAILY because they have nothing better to do. Try filling out applications for a job to improve your standing in life.

    • squiddy20

      Ummm this isn’t a paying “job” dumbass. Not that I’d want to, but I can’t put it down on a resumé or anything like that. Therefore, I can’t “retire” from it. Shouldn’t a 40+ year old man know that?
      Besides, you’re just as guilty of ” LEAVING COMMENTS DAILY because [you] have nothing better to do”. You’re on here every day aren’t you? You leave a comment daily on at least one of the articles this website puts out, right? See how easy it is to twist your own words against you? Unless you enjoy making yourself out to be a complete moron, I’d suggest you shut up. I’ve schooled you so hard these past few days, you can’t even make a comeback (logical or otherwise) without reverting to calling me “useless” or a “bum”. How childish.

      • Richard Yarrell

        Your a sad joke at least your funny. Imagine you schooled someone man o man this site has some real sick people trolling. Please GO BACK to your phandroid you never was here before and your only her now because I’m here and the fact that you can post in seclusion keeping your ugly face unknown. Loser

        • squiddy20

          1. “you never was here before” Wow. Thanks for reminding me I’m talking to an uneducated 2 year old. The word you were looking for is “were”, as “you never were here before”. Do all 40-50 year olds act and spell like this? How sad.
          2. I have been schooling your sorry ass since the only rebuttal you’ve ever given is to call me “useless”, “faceless”, a “bum”, and other 3rd grade insults. Not once have you backed up your claims with cold hard facts and/or made any real logical sense with your statements. I mean, “buy a life”? “People on Verizon wouldn’t know a quality device if they were walking down the street in broad daylight”? Haha, I’d love to see you justify that statement. “…profolio ok 2claps”?? WTF does that even MEAN??? And these are just from this webpage alone! Imagine all the ridiculous crap I could find that you’ve said if I just dug through a few other pages! Yeah, I’ve definitely been schooling your ignorant, nonsensical ass. Come back to me with a real argument if you wish. I’d love to see you try.
          3. It’s true that I’m here because you’re here. I won’t deny that. But lets get one thing straight. You were the moron that posted links all over Phandroid (when you still could post there), Android Central, and Android Police to your “review” on this website of the Evo 3D. You baited me and guess what? It worked. So here I am Dick. All because of your boastful, narcissistic self. You have only yourself to blame.

          BTW, have you looked at the comments section of your “review” lately? Every. Single. Comment that you’ve made on that page is rated negatively. Every single one. The ratings speak for themselves. And you have the audacity to call me a “loser”? Haha ok. Whatever you want to believe little kid.

  • Gold D Roger

    i would like to make something clear…Richard…if that’s even your real name…Firstly you cannot say that the galsxy s2 sucks…and we all are different..we like different things,,,we do different things..what android offers is for each of us to own a device that is truly our own,,,a device we can customize and make it like our self…so what if they like Verizon, sprint or what ever….if they feel comfortable where ever they are then let them be…

    • Richard Yarrell

      Yes Mr. Gold D Rodgers..If your real there seems to be so many fake people being able to post comments without knowing FORSURE who these people really are. What you like you like great for you in the real world android is HTC and SAMSUNG case closed..

      • squiddy20

        “in the real world android is HTC and SAMSUNG” Haha, wrong again dumba**. Try reading just the intro here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Handset_Alliance. You’ll notice it says “a business alliance of 84 firms to develop open standards for mobile devices.” And guess what? Pretty much all of those “84 firms” have at least something to do with Android. This again proves my point about your nonsensical, completely absurd comments. In no way does your statement have any truth to it.

        And FYI, this isn’t Google+ or Facebook. Having our “real” names and identities as our profile isn’t necessary. Like any other commenting forum out there, all you need is a unique username, and valid email address. If you want to know “for sure” that the people you are talking to are who the say they are, troll the above mentioned websites to your heart’s content. Otherwise, I’d suggest you stop complaining about something you have absolutely no control over. Grow up. You’re such a bitchy little girl.

  • kazahani

    $20 billion / 30.5 million iphones = ~$655 each?? That doesn’t even make sense…

    • red

      Apple gets an additional piece of the revenue cake it seems

  • mrjlwilliams

    This still does not do any harm to Android.

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