The new iPhone 4, inside and out
At WWDC 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off the iPhone 4. Here's what you need to know about the new iPhone, from the two-axis gyroscope to the 'retina display' to the HD video camera.
Matthew Shaer / June 7, 2010
Be still, our beating hearts. After one of the wildest product launches in Apple history – even the police and Jon Stewart got involved! – Steve Jobs today introduced the iPhone 4, the boxy, high-powered successor to the iPhone 3G S. The iPhone 4 won't help solve the Middle East crisis, or patch up that strange sink hole in Guatemala, but it's a pretty sleek handset, fitted out with next-gen functionalities by the bucketload.
Here's what you need to know about the iPhone 4:
Like the iPhone 3G S, the iPhone 4 is built out of stainless steel and glass. But unlike the iPhone 3G S, the new model has a boxy look to it, and plenty of sharp angles. That doesn't mean, however, that the iPhone 4 is overweight. According to Apple, the phone is 24 percent thinner than its predecessor. Jobs claims that the new iPhone the is "thinnest smart phone in the world."
With the advent of smartphones such as the Sprint EVO 4G, which ships with a 8 megapixel camera, the 3-megapixels on the iPhone 3G S were starting to look pretty puny. So the 5-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4 will be a welcome addition for many Apple fans. Ditto for the new video camera function, which Jobs says will record HD video at 30 frames-per-second. And a smaller, front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 will increase video chatting options.
Much noise has already been made about the two-axis gyroscope built into the iPhone 4. And for good reason: the gyroscope helps the iPhone 4 pick up a range of motions, including yaw, pitch, and roll. Steve Jobs used the gyroscope to demo a puzzle-type game at WWDC, but we can just as easily see the iPhone 4 technology being adapted for more complex games. Flight sims, anyone?
Speaking of iPhone gaming, Jobs says battery life on the iPhone has been greatly improved. No longer will your iPhone cut out on you in the middle of a good session of Tetris. The iPhone 4 gets 7 hours of 3G talk time, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 40 hours of music, 10 hours of video, and 300 hours of standby. Enough said.
The iPhone 4, like the Apple iPad, will run on an A4 chip, which should make for faster processing speeds. Jobs say the iPhone 4 will get the new iPhone OS 4.0, which was first unveiled back in April. OS 4.0 supports app multitasking, tap-and-zoom support for video files, and a new ad platform called iAd. The operating system comes standard on all iPhone 4 units.
The iPhone 4 will apparently ship with a next-gen screen that Jobs is calling a "retina display." That name conjures images of a sci-fi thriller, but the "retina display" doesn't scan your eyeballs. Instead, it offers "a better display than the human eye can even process." Jobs says the iPhone 4 screen will feature 326 pixels-per-inch, four times the pixel density of the iPhone 3G S.
Price and availability
The iPhone 4 will hit shelves on June 24, and retail at two price points: $199 for a 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB device. The phone will come in white and black. If you have an iPhone now, and your AT&T contract expires at any point in 2010, you're in luck: Apple will allow you to purchase the iPhone 4 at the discount price, provided you re-up your AT&T contract for another two years.