After a leakier lead up than a colostomy bag in a pin factory, the iPhone 4 was officially announced today by Apple. And because of the pre-announcement leaks, there were very few surprises. That’s not to say it’s dull, Apple have done a pretty good job of updating what was already a pretty decent device, it’s just that what with all the leaving iPhone 4 prototypes all over the place we already had a good idea of what was coming.
Let’s get this out of the way first. There’s a camera in the front, and one in the back, so you can make video calls. Apple call it FaceTime. Enough said, video calling is neither very new, nor very exciting. But it’s there. Use it or snooze it.
Something that will benefit every user, all the time, is the new screen technology, which Apple call Retina Display. The iPhone 4’s screen displays 960 x 640 pixels, four times that of the iPhone 3GS. Easier to read, and your video and photos will look a lot clearer. And speaking of photos, the iPhone 4 has had a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash dropped in, addressing a common complaint about earlier iPhones. Oh, and the front-facing camera – it will be handy for those who like to take a self-portrait shot or two.
Another iPhone bugbear has been addressed – the iPhone 4 will have multi-tasking capability. So you can run multiple apps, switch between them, and the phone will mange the load so as to not slow down the phone, or drain the battery.
Noise-cancelling has also been added, with the addition of a second microphone, so background noise will be suppressed.
Gaming will have a little more zing to, as built into the iPhone 4 is a 3-axis gyro working with the accelerometer to provide more game control – up and down, side to side, forward and backward and pitch and roll.
All up there are 100 new features on the iPhone 4. Needless to say this will be a device that we here at TechStyles shall revisit.
The first three iterations of the iPhone didn’t look very different from each other. The iPhone 4 is not by any stretch of the imagination a radical departure, but I think it’s safe to say a lot of attention has been paid to the design.
It’s thinner, at 9.3 mm. It’s made of aluminosilicate glass, front and back, which Apple claims is 30 times harder than plastic. The glass has an oil-resistant coating to keep it clean. A narrow band of stainless steel is wrapped around the edge of the phone, and contained within the band are buttons that are a little more solid and attractive than those on previous models.
The user interface has also had some refinement. You can now compile your apps in folders, which you can arrange and name, just as you do with your computer. There is also more scope for personalisation of your phone, the Lock and the Home Screens can be populated with a choice of wallpapers, or your own photos.
So the good news is yes, the iPhone 4 looks better than it predecessors. The bad news? Your cases and whatnot for earlier models – they won’t fit.
New operating system, new naming style: iOS 4
Normally, Apple would have called the new operating system iPhone 4.0. Instead, it has had permission from Cisco to use a name Cisco ‘own’, so the new operating system is known as iOS4. In addition to of course being loaded on the iPhone 4, it can also be added to:
- iPhone 3G
- iPhone 3GS
- 2nd and 3rd generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB)
That said you will need an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) to have multitasking working.
The iOS4 software update will be available a few days before the iPhone 4 goes on the shelves in the USA – meaning you’ll be able to have the iOS4 on your compliant non-iPhone 4 devices a month before the iPhone 4 is on sale in Australia.
- Network: UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)
- Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Talk time: 3G: up to 7 hours; 2G: up to 12 hours
- Standby time: up to 300 hours
- Internet use: 3G: up to 6 hours; Wi-Fi: up to 9 hours
- Video playback: up to 40 hours
- Camera: 5-megapixel still camera, video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio, LED flash, photo and video geotagging
- Assisted GPS, digital compass
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR wireless technology
- Storage: 16GB or 32GB
- Screen: Retina display, 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display, 960 x 640-pixel resolution at 326 pip, 800:1 contrast ratio (typical)
- Buttons: Home, On/Off/Sleep/Wake, Volume, Ring/Silent
- In the box: iPhone 4, stereo headset with mic, dock connector to USB cable, USB power adapter, documentation
- Dimensions: 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm (H x W x D)
- Weight: 137 grams
The official Apple iPhone 4 video
Here’s the official Apple video run-through. It’s a little ‘kool-aidy’, a little hyperbolic, but it gives you a good idea of what’s on board the iPhone 4, and what you can do with it.
Price and availability
The iPhone 4 will be available in Australia in late July. There is no firmer information available than that at the moment, but I really wouldn’t expect the pricing to be much different to that of the iPhone 3GS.
As I said, there’ll be a lot more written on the iPhone 4 between now and its release. So, what do you think? Worth an upgrade? Enough to make the switch?
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