Apple's new iPhone 4S announcement predictably turned into a major social media event, prompting techies to post tens of thousands of related tweets on Twitter, thousands of thumbs-up likes on Facebook, and hundreds of comments on popular news sites during the 90-minute event.

The event knocked several websites  -  including www.macworld.com and www.apple.com - temporarily offline, while slowing down others such as The Wall Street Journal, which offered a live blog of the event.

Interest in the iPhone announcement on Twitter seemed to eclipse the simultaneous announcement by Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey that he would not run for president.

As Patrick Hackett of Denver tweeted shortly after 1pm EDT: "Is Chris #Christie really trying to occupy the same media time as the #iPhone5 announcement?''

On Twitter, the analytic tool Twitterfall recorded more than 33,000 tweets with the hashtag #iPhone5 in its queue during the Apple event. The Atlantic's website noted that the iPhone 5 was a trending topic on Twitter in 21 cities nationwide, particularly those in the Southeast, including Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Orlando, Greensboro, Richmond, Norfolk and Nashville.

Interest in the Apple announcement was strong on Facebook, too. A fan page titled iPhone 5 listed 5,243 likes, 965 comments and 113 shares. Saurabh Patel wrote: "iPhone 4S coming out on 14th Oct...there is no Iphone 5 this time." [sic]

Dozens of websites, including Gizmodo, Wired, Engadget and Mashable offered live blogs of the Apple announcement that all fostered interactive discussions during the event.

The Wall Street Journal's live blog racked up more than 1,000 comments - some excited for the new iPhone 4S and others disappointed that Apple hadn't made a bigger announcement of the much-anticipated iPhone 5.

"I will definitely buy one!" wrote Epcot. "I have a 3GS now that is available to upgrade. The best features/specs of the 4S for me are the 8mp camera, 64 GB storage and the new voice features."

"If you are already an iPhone 4 user, then there is NO real incentive to upgrade even though the S is faster and better but lacks the WOW factor," wrote Percy. "Only a special upgrade plan-trade in your old set for a new one if offered by carriers could convince current [users] to move over to iPhone 4S."

Agreed Robert: "I'm greatly disappointed there is no iPhone 5 Release."