Top 8, err... 9 features of Apple iPhone 4

Summary:As expected, Steve Jobs announced the Apple iPhone 4 today at WWDC 2010. Here's a list of the top 8 (I mean, 9) features of the new phone.

As expected, Steve Jobs announced the Apple iPhone 4 today at WWDC 2010. He highlighted 8 9 features as being particularly important in the new device:

1. All new design. The new phone is very thin, only 9.3mm. It has a stainless steel outer cover that doubles as the antenna for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, UMTS, and GSM. There's a camera and LED flash on the back, and two microphones for noise cancellation (like the Nexus One). There's a black and a white version.

2. Retina Display. At 326dpi, the iPhone 4 has the densest display on the market. According to Jobs, 300dpi is about the limit that the human retina can distinguish at 10-12 inches away from the eye, so he's calling this the "retina display". It uses IPS technology for a wide viewing angle (just like the iPad) and has an 800:1 contrast ratio.

Using the same 3.5 inch diagonal size as the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 packs in 4 times as many pixels (960x640). Because the aspect ratio is exactly the same as older iPhones, no change is needed from developers and all old apps run unmodified. However, developers can include higher resolution graphics if they choose.

3. New processor. The iPhone 4 will use the same A4 chip used in the iPad. Along with a bigger battery, the chip provides up to 7 hours talk time, 6 hours 3G browsing, and 300 hours of standby. Up to 32GB of storage is provided.

4. Gyroscope. The new device has a real gyroscope in addition to the accelerometer that is standard now in most smart phones. The combination gives you 6-axis motion sensing. Developers can use a new CoreMotion API for extremely precise movements. The standard compass, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor is there too.

5. Camera. The camera's megapixels have been increased to 5, plus they're using a backside illuminated sensor for higher quality. In addition to great pictures it will also record HD video, 720p at 30fps. Geolocation embedded for both photos and video. There's a camera in the front too (more on that later).

To go with the new camera, Apple has written a new app called iMovie for iPhone. It allows you to edit movies with transitions, music, titles, and so forth right on your phone. It's for sale now for $4.99 in the App Store.

6. iOS 4. Formerly called "iPhone OS 4", the new operating system has a ton of new features including multitasking, unified inbox, conversation threading, and so forth. Google will still be the default search engine on the iPhone but users will have the option of choosing Yahoo or Microsoft Bing.

The name change simply reflects that the same system will be running on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The golden master candidate of iOS 4 is being released to developers today. iOS 4 will be free to all 3GS, 3G, and iPod Touch 2nd generation users on June 21st.

7. iBooks. The iBooks app that originally appeared on the iPad is now available for the iPhone as well. That includes a new capability to read any PDF files, and iBookstore integration. You only have to buy a book once and it's available on all your iOS devices. iBooks will automatically sync your place, bookmarks, and notes.

8. iAds. Advertisements allow developers to make money on free and low-cost apps in the App Store. With the new iAd platform, there's a standardized, supported platform to create in-app ads that don't bounce the user out into the browser. Apple sells and hosts the ads, and developers get a 60% cut via iTunes connect (the same way you get paid for your apps).

iAds will be enabled July 1st but Apple has been selling spots for 8 weeks. So far they've sold over $60 million. JP Morgan estimated the entire mobile ad market to be worth $250 million this year, so that's a significant number.

Originally Steve said he was going to highlight 8 features, but he couldn't resist adding "one more thing"...

9. FaceTime. Video calling makes its Apple debut on the iPhone 4. It works with WiFi only right now. You can set it up so the other person sees you (via the front camera) or what you're looking at (via the back camera). FaceTime is being proposed as an international open standard. It uses other standards like H.264, AAC, SIP, STUN, RTP, SRTP, TURN, and ICE.

So how much is all this going to cost you? With a 2 year contract, $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model. AT&T will let you upgrade to an iPhone 4 6 months earlier than usual if you re-up for another 2 years.

Preorders start June 15th, with the phone in stores on June 24th. 18 more countries in July, 24 more in August, and 40 more in September (total of 88 countries).

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

About

Ed Burnette has been hooked on computers ever since he laid eyes on a TRS-80 in the local Radio Shack. Since graduating from NC State University he has programmed everything from serial device drivers and debuggers to web servers. After a delightful break working on commercial video games, Ed reluctantly returned to business software. He... Full Bio

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