CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple unveiled Tuesday a new iPhone 4S smartphone, which includes a new camera and processor but otherwise closely resembles the model the company has been selling for more than a year.
The new phone, shown by Apple executives at an invitation-only event at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, was greeted with tepid applause from an audience expecting an iPhone 5.
Apple cut the pricing on its existing iPhone 4 to $99. The iPhone 4S will sell for $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 64GB, with a two-year contract. Pre-orders start Oct. 7, and it is available on Oct. 14.
The phone will also be available on Sprint for the first time, in addition to existing carriers AT&T and Verizon.
The announcement seemed to underwhelm investors and online tech bloggers. Shares of Apple fell 4.6 percent recently to $357.53.
The iPhone 4S will feature Apple's A5 chip, which is used in the iPad 2, and an 8-megapixel camera. Those hardware improvements put it on par with some high-end Android-based smartphones that have challenged Apple.
The iPhone 4 came in two flavors -- GSM and CDMA -- depending on the carrier. But the iPhone 4S is a world phone, and will work on both networks. This system will benefit people who travel around the world -- and want to switch wireless carriers.
The iPhone 4S also has a new antenna design, as Apple moves to address complaints about dropped calls. While the antenna still wraps around the edge of the phone, the new design can switch between two antennas to improve call quality and download data more quickly, Apple executives said.
With Tuesday's event, the spotlight shifted to Tim Cook, Apple's new chief executive, as he faced his first public test since taking the reins from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who had been on medical leave since January for an undisclosed illness. Cook was wearing a black button-down shirt and jeans but no turtleneck, unlike his predecessor.
"This is my first product launch since being named CEO -- I'm sure you didn't know that." Cook said. He added the company "has enormous momentum" and spoke about the success that the company has had with its retail stores and devices.
Apple also showed off its service that will back up and synchronize data between Apple's devices and computers.
Dubbed "iCloud," the service allows customers to tie its gadgets together and share photos, music, address book contacts, calendars and other data through the internet. Apple first unveiled the free service in June but is making it available now, shipping Oct. 12.
In addition to iCloud, Apple also said iOS5 -- its new operating system for wireless devices -- will be available as a free update on Oct. 12. The new system includes features like a new messaging service, more Twitter integration and ways to edit photos.
The iCloud product is seen competing with a rival service introduced last week by Amazon.com Inc. With its Fire tablet, Amazon also unveiled cloud features such as a web browser that the company said is faster than others because it is powered by software in Amazon's servers.