Apple Announces iPhone 4 And iOS4 - InformationWeek
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6/7/2010
02:56 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Apple Announces iPhone 4 And iOS4

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference to introduce the latest iPhone and iPhone software. The entirely new hardware is indeed similar to the device found by Gizmodo in April. The new OS has been renamed and has several new features.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference to introduce the latest iPhone and iPhone software. The entirely new hardware is indeed similar to the device found by Gizmodo in April. The new OS has been renamed and has several new features.The newest iPhone is called the iPhone 4. It's the fourth-generation iPhone, but it is not the iPhone 4G. The newest iPhone is completely new and different from the iPhone 3GS, which itself was nearly identical to the iPhone 3G. Let's look at the improvements.

The display is one of the biggest stories to come out of Jobs' keynote. The original iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS all had the same 3.5-inch 480 x 320 display. The iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch display that packs 960 x 640 pixels, has in-plane switching (same as the iPad), offers 800:1 contrast ratio, and has what Apple calls Retina Display. Pixels are packed into the iPhone 4's display at 326 per inch. That's more than the human eye can even detect, which maxes out at 300 pixels per inch. It looks amazingly crisp.

The camera is also all-new. A new 5 megapixel sensor replaces the iPhone 3GS' 3 megapixel sensor. It also brings a flash to the iPhone for the first time, 5x digital zoom, and has a nifty touch-to-focus feature. The iPhone 4 also has a secondary, user-facing camera, which works with the new FaceTIme video-calling application. The iPhone 7 records 720p HD resolution at 30 frames per second, and the new iPhone will work with iMovie for on-device video creation and editing. According to the demonstration today, it looks great.

Other changes include the design, which is new glass on the front and back, with steel bands around the outside. According to Apple, the steel bands, which are a break from its typical design language, were engineered to be its radio antennas. It also now packs a gyroscope in addition to the accelerometer, compass and GPS for improved gaming.

The iPhone 4 keeps the 16GB and 32GB storage allotments, and I think that's fair. I have a 32GB iPhone 3GS and rarely ever fill it up, despite (or because of?) all the content I have on my laptop. The 16GB model will cost $199, and the 32GB model will cost $299. The iPhone 4 will be available in white and black starting June 24.

On top of the hardware itself, Apple also announced that it has renamed "iPhone OS 4" to "iOS 4" to reflect the fact that the operating system powers not only the iPhone but the iPad and iPod Touch, as well.

New features coming to iOS 4 include a new-and-improved version of iBooks, which adds the ability to read PDFs. It also has 1500 new APIs and over 100 new features built into the OS.

One of the coolest new features Apple showed off was FaceTime, a Wi-Fi-based video calling feature. Too bad that it only works via Wi-Fi and not cellular radios. Apple said it is still in discussions with AT&T over the ability to use FaceTime over 3G. It also only works iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, meaning you can't call grandma and show her the kiddies unless she has an iPhone 4, too.

iOS 4 also adds optional Bing search (but still keeps Google and Yahoo). It also adds a cool Netflix streaming app, though I am not sure how well that's going to work with AT&T's new lowered data plans.

In sum, the device, the software, and the price are all impressive. How can the rest of the smartphone world keep up?

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