Apple iPhone 4 Overview

Today, at WWDC 2010, Apple announced the iPhone 4.  Sadly, there’s no news of the iPhone moving to other carriers, but the iPhone 4 is still going to make quite a bit of noise in the smartphone market.  The iPhone 4 runs $199 for 16GB or $299 for 32GB, and is available in white or black starting June 24. The iPhone 3Gs will drop to $99.

For the full rundown of the new iPhone 4, read on.

Key Features

  • All New Design
  • Video Calling
  • Retina Display (960 x 640 resolution)
  • Apple-developed A4 Chip
  • Gyroscope
  • 5MP Camera w/ HD Video Capture
  • iOS 4 (New OS)
  • iBooks
  • iAds (Apple’s own Ad platform)
  • 16GB for $199
  • 32GB for $299
  • Available in White/Black on June 24
  • Pre-Orders Start June 15

New Design

The iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thin and only weights 4.8 ounces.  It is hailed as the world’s thinnest smartphone, and is 24% thinner than the iPhone 3Gs.  Part of the genius of the new design is that the metal band around the edges is acutally an antenna – or, rather two antennas.  On one side, you’ve got the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS antenna.  On the other, is the UMTS and GMS antenna for cell reception.

The bottom of the iPhone 4 gives you the standard 30-pin dock connector, microphone and built-in speaker.  On the top, you find a 3.5mm stereo headphone minijack, along with a second mic and the sleep/wake button.  Along the left edge is the ring/silent switch and volume buttons.  The standard Home button rests in its normal location on the front.  On the backside of the iPhone 4 is the camera lens for the new 5MP camera and an LED flash.  There’s also a camera on the front for the more traditional video calls (more on that below).

Apple used glass on both the front and the back of the iPhone 4.  It’s aluminosilicate glass, which is the same material used for windshields of helicopters and high-speed trains.  Apple says it’s 20x stiffer and 30x stronger than plastic because of chemical strengthening.  It’s also supposed to be ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever.

FaceTime (aka Video Calling)

Video calling is a one of the biggest new features; however, it also has its limitations.  It’s iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only (which is kinda obvious), and it only works over Wi-Fi.  You can capture video on video calls using either the front or rear camera, and it works in portrait or landscape mode.  You can use the LED flash as a constant video light source during FaceTime calls.  There’s no setup required to get it rolling on your iPhone 4.

Retina Display

The new iPhone 4 Retina display offers 326 pixels per inch, which is more than 4 times the number of pixels on the iPhone 3Gs.  The actual resolution of the iPhone 4′s display is 960 x 640 pixels.  It has an 800:1 contrast ration, which is 4 times better than the 3Gs as well.  The iPhone 4 also has an LED backlight in the display and an ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the screen brightness.  In short, text should be smoother and easier to read, and images and video should pop more on the iPhone 4 display.

A4 Chip

The Apple-developed A4 chip is the heart of the iPhone 4.  The A4 chip is both powerful and efficient.  Because of it, the iPhone 4 can more effectively handle multitasking, video editing and FaceTime calls.  Battery life is improved by a combination of the A4′s efficiency and increased size of the new battery.

  • 3G Talk Time: 7hrs
  • Browsing – 3G: 6hrs
  • Browsing – WiFi: 10hrs
  • Video: 10hrs
  • Music: 40hrs
  • Standby: 300hrs

Along with the A4 chip, the iPhone 4 offers up to 32GB of storage, quad-band HSDPA / HSUPA at 7.2Mbps down and 5.8Mbps up, dual mic noise suppression, 802.11n WiFi and GPS + accelerometer.

Gyroscope

The iPhone 4 is the first iPhone to offer a gyroscope, which will enhance gaming controls.  It will provide a 3-axis gyro (angular velocity), pitch, roll and yaw, rotation about gravity.  And, coupled with the accelerometer, the iPhone 4 provides 6-axis motion sensing.

New 5MP Camera w/ HD Video Capture

A new 5 megapixel camera in the iPhone steps up image quality more in line with what we are seeing on other recent smart phones.  The sensor is backside illuminated, which should help with low light photos.  Even though they’ve increased the pixel count, the pixel size has stayed the same at 1.75µm.  The camera also features a 5x digital zoom, tap to focus controls, and a new LED flash.

On the video side of the coin, the iPhone 4 will capture 720p HD video at 30 fps.  You can use the LED flash as a constant video light when recording in low light.  Additionally, Apple has introduced an iMovie app for the iPhone, which runs $4.99 in the App Store.  With iMovie on the iPhone 4, you can edit your film clips in a time line, add title sequences and themes, then upload the video via MMS, MobileMe, YouTube or email.

iOS 4

Apple has changed the name of the iPhone OS to iOS with the introduction iOS 4.  The new iOS 4 is improved in a number of areas, including multitasking, the addition of folders for organizing apps, a better designed Mail app, iBooks (discussed below), and more.  iOS 4 also allows you to connect a wireless keyboard via Bluetooth to your iPhone.  While iOS 4 works with the iPhone 4, 3Gs and 3G, some of the functionality may not work with the 3Gs or 3G.  Sorry, 3G users, still no multitasking.

iBooks

Along with the new hardware, Apple is now making iBooks available to iPhone users.  If you download a book on your iPhone, iPad or iPod, it will be available to download on all your other devices for no extra charge.  iBooks will also wirelessly sync your current place, all your bookmarks, and all your notes across you devices.

In the keynote, Jobs was really pushing iBooks hard.  And, I’ll have to say that it looks pretty cool.  However, I haven’t yet tried to read a novel on my iPhone screen.  One thing that the iPhone 4 has going for it is the higher resolution Retina display.  As a result of this, ebooks will certainly look better on the iPhone 4.

iAds

Apple is about to make a huge splash in the mobile advertising pool with iAds, which will be built into iOS 4.  Apple will sell and host the ads and app developers will get 60% of the revenue originating from display in the apps.  Jobs says this is to encourage developers to continue to create free and low-cost apps.  Advertisers have already committed a total of $60,000,000 to iAds advertising for the second half of 2010.  This mobile advertising thing just got real.

Putting It All Together

Jobs started out by saying that the iPhone 4 was “the biggest leaps since the original iPhone.”  And judging from the brief overview of new features and specs, I have to agree.  Unfortunately, AT&T has peed in the iPhone punch a bit by choking data plans with the death of unlimited data.  One thing I didn’t mention above, was the new Netflix for iPhone app, which allows you to stream video from your Instant Queue over 3G.  That’s awesome – but you’d better keep an eye on your data, or AT&T is going to make you pay dearly for that “free” app.  In sum, the iPhone 4 looks to be a killer piece of hardware.  Really, I’m more excited about the developments in it than I was with the iPad.  It’s really too bad that the iPhone 4 has to survive on AT&T’s crappy network.

In closing, check out Apple’s iPhone 4 design video below.

More images of the new iPhone in gallery below (all images credit: Apple).

Comments

  1. says

    Before anyone shells out their hard earned on iPhone 4, I suggest they check out the HTC Desire & do a detailed comparison. By the way, are you sure you’ve got your iPhone pricing right? The 3Gs was around £500 here in the UK but you’re showing $99 – or is that just the upgrade price?

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