When it comes to the looks of the Apple’s latest iPhone, everything seems old hat. The exterior of the phone was revealed nearly two months ago when Gizmodo gave a full shakedown on the device. While the fallout from that incident could be talked about for another 2,000+ words, we’d rather spend the time talking about the new features of the iPhone that we don’t already know.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new iPhone 4 and stated that there are over 100 new features on the phone, but he touched on just a few today. The iPhone 4 features what Apple calls a Retina Display which has four times the pixel density of the current iPhone 3GS within the same amount of space (326 ppi). As has been previously rumored, the iPhone is now confirmed to feature a 640×960 display which makes it the highest resolution display on the smartphone market (most high-end Android phones feature an 480×800 display). The actual display size remains unchanged at 3.5-inches and has an 800:1 contrast ratio.
Under the hood, Apple’s new A4 processor — which first made an appearance in the iPad — is running the show. This replaces the 612MHz Cortex A8 processor found in the year-old iPhone 3GS. Interestingly, storage capacity is still capped at 32GB. There is now a larger battery which provides 7 hours talk, 6 hours 3G, 10 hours Wi-Fi, 10 hours video, 40 hours music, and 300 hours of standby.
When it comes to network speeds, the iPhone’s Wi-Fi radio has been bumped up to 802.11n, while 3G download/upload speeds now max out a 7.2Mbps and 5.8Mbps respectively.
Speaking of the network, early during the demo, Steve Jobs was having troubles getting his iPhone 4 to connect to the Wi-Fi network. When he switched to 3G, he was bombarded with even more network errors while trying to pull up the New York Times website. When he deferred to one of his crew on how to correct the problems, an audience member yelled out “Try Verizon!” Ouch!
Another new feature of the iPhone is a built-in 3-axis gyroscope which then provides 6-axis motion sensing when combined with the accelerometer. The gyroscope will make use of new CoreMotion APIs.
The rear camera is now 5MP which is up from 3MP. However, Steve Jobs pointed out that megapixels aren’t everything and that picture quality is king. Apple has thrown in an LED flash, 5x digital zoom, one-click sharing, and 720p (30fps) HD video capture. On the software side, Apple displayed a mobile version of iMovie to handle editing of video although you’ll have to pay $4.99 for it.
IPhone OS 4.0 — now called iOS 4 — was also detailed, but we’ve already covered that in a previous article. IOS 4 features support for multitasking, folders for applications, Mail.app improvements, better enterprise features, iBooks, and iAds capabilities. The Gold Master of iOS 4will be available for download later today — it will be made publicly available for iPhone 3G/3Gs customers on June 21.
For Jobs’ “One more thing”, he unveiled “FaceTime” video calling for the iPhone 4. Jobs demoed the capability by calling up Apple design guru Jony Ive. The feature is obviously limited to iPhone 4 devices and required you to have an active cell connection and Wi-Fi to work. Both the rear and front-facing cameras can be used for video calls — portrait and landscape orientations are supported. Using FaceTime completely over 3G is expected to come next year.
The new iPhone 4 is available in white and black and will be priced at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model. The phones will be available June 24 (pre-orders start June 15). The iPhone 3GS will drop down to $99 starting on June 24 (for an 8GB model).
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