Apple built Siri-specific proximity sensor into iPhone 4S

During iFixit’s teardown of the iPhone 4S, the site came across a component that it couldn’t immediately identify. After subsequent testing, iFixit has determined that the iPhone 4S has an infrared LED that acts as a secondary proximity sensor, and its functions appear to be tied directly to Siri.

All earlier models of iPhones have had a proximity sensor designed to shut the handset’s touchscreen off when you raise it to your ear. This is designed to prevent your face from dialing numbers while you’re on a phone call. The sensor is normally only active during phone calls or when using a VoIP app like Skype.

In contrast, this new infrared LED is constantly active if you have enabled “Raise to Speak” in Siri’s settings. The whole purpose of the sensor is essentially the same as the iPhone’s traditional proximity sensor, just with a different function; instead of deactivating something, this sensor instead activates Siri when you raise it to your ear.

Although the LED is constantly active if you have “Raise to Speak” enabled, it’s most likely drawing a minuscule amount of power and thus not the cause of widely-reported battery issues in the iPhone 4S (which aforthcoming iOS 5 update hopes to address). It’s also worth noting, as iFixit rather humorously does, that although the iPhone 4S will constantly be emitting an infrared beam in your direction as you use it, the beam is completely harmless.

iPhone 4S 16 GB costs US$196 to build

Thanks to iFixit we know what the iPhone 4S looks like inside, now iSuppli also took its turn with the iPhone 4S and has evaluated the cost of the materials that go into the handset.

According to its analysis, the iPhone 4S 16 GB costs US$188 in materials and and extra $8 to build, a dollar value that’s close to the $187 of the iPhone 4. The 32 GB has a bill of materials of $207 and the 64 GB is at $245.

Inside the iPhone 4S, the most expensive part is the NAND flash memory which costs $19.20 in the 16 GB model, $38.40 in the 32 GB and $76.80 in the 64 GB model. The second and third most expensive components are the mechanical/electro-mechanical parts which costs $33, followed by the wireless radio which is a custom part from Avago and costs $23.54.

For all the nitty gritty details head over to iSuppli’s report.

Apple releases iOS 5 Golden Master

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Yesterday Apple announced that iOS 5 would get an October 12 release date. 5. Today Apple already posted the Golden Master (GM) release of iOS 5 to developers, with a build number of 9A334.

Apple notes that users

“must use iTunes 10.5 beta 7 to install iOS 5 GM seed on your devices. iOS 5 GM seed is not available via over the air software update”

Furthermore they encourage users to back up their devices via iCloud before installing the GM.

Apple posted a GM seed of Xcode 4.2 as well, and notes that:

The GM seed “can now be used to submit iOS 5 applications to the App Store for review.”

Since the GM doesn’t require a developer account this release is available for everyone to use, due to copyright infringements we can’t post the downloads here, but there are several sites which provide how to guides as well as the files needed.

iOS 5 and iCloud get October 12th Release date!!!

Apple has announced that its next-generation mobile OS, iOS 5, will launch to the public on October 12. It will be a free upgrade for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touches.

iOS 5 includes a number of new features, including a revamped notifications system, improved Camera app, iMessages, and many other tweaks and improvements.

Furthermore Apple will also unleash iCloud to the public on October 12th!