What's new about Apple's latest handset?
The wait is over. After months of building speculation and churning rumour mills, Apple – or more specifically Steve Jobs – has lifted the lid on the new iPhone, the much-anticipated iPhone 4.
- Apple iPhone 4: Our live coverage of the announcement
- Apple iPhone 4 specs: The full details revealed
- Apple iPhone 4: The story so far
- iPhone 4: The leaked pics and videos
What’s new then? Quite a bit actually. It would have been impossible for the new handset to boast every feature that the behemoth gossip machine had suggested, but Apple’s certainly done enough to ensure that this new iPhone can hold its own against the growing Android brigade. Read below for ten things you need to know…
Apple calls it the ‘Retina Display’, which quadruples the amount of pixels to 326 pixels per inch. The end result is extremely fine print and smooth curves. Steve demoed the new display against the 3GS, and the difference was striking. He claimed that its IPS technology is "quite a bit better than OLED." The contrast ratio is a pretty impressive 800:1.
At 9.3mm thick, the iPhone 4 is 24% thinner than the 3GS. “Glass on the front and back, and steel (f0r strength) around the sides. It's like a beautiful old Leica camera,” says Steve. He claims it’s the thinnest smartphone on the planet. It’s essentially the same phone we saw in May that Gizmodo stumbled upon in a San Francisco bar, looking like a 3GS that’s been planed into a smooth, straight wedge. It's available in white or black, in 16 or 32GB models.
Like the iPad, the iPhone 4 runs on the Apple A4 processor. “You take the back off,” says Steve, “first thing you notice is that the iPhone 4 is packed to the gills. There's the A4 right there.” It should make the handset more frugal when it comes to power, and speedier with apps and web browsing.
4/The battery life
Thanks to the increased battery size and the dexterity of the A4 processor, the iPhone 4 boasts “7 hours of 3G talk, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours standby time”. A decent step up.
Again, just like the iPad, the iPhone 4 will be packing a Micro-SIM slot. Apple claims this was necessitated because there’s so much crammed into this new device, including the bigger battery and the A4 processor. Does this mean you’ll be able to use your iPhone SIM in your 3G iPad? We’ll keep you posted.
A big one. “Everybody loves to talk about megapixels,” said Steve, “but we tend to ask the question how do we make better pictures? Megapixels are nice, but what these cameras are really about is capturing photons and low light photography.” To that end, there’s now a 5-megapixel cam with a backside illuminated sensor, 5x digital zoom, tap to focus and LED flash.
7/Video and iMovie
The new camera lets the iPhone 4 record in 720p HD video at 30fps. Not only that, but the iMovie app lets you go to town with editing – adding titles and effect right on the phone. It looks fairly substantial and the quality looks stunning. “You can record, edit, and then with a few taps email it right on the phone," Steve added. iMovie will cost $4.99. Does this spell the death of the Flip video cam revolution?
The stainless steel band around the side of the iPhone 4 -with a couple of precise indents - is designed to boost the antenna signal. This will help with Wi-Fi, GSM, GPS, UMTS and Bluetooth reception.
To add yet another level to the gaming experience on the iPhone, Apple has added a 3-axis Gyro. "We tied the gyro, accelerometer, and the compass together for six axis. It's perfect for gaming,” said Steve Jobs at the announcement. Think similar to the 6-axis controller for the Sony PS3.
Introduced right at the end of the keynote with the banner "...one more thing", video calling is coming to the iPhone thanks to a front-facing camera. The feature is called FaceTime, and does pretty much what you'd expect from a video calling app. In that it lets you do video calling. As you'll need that front-facing camera, FaceTime will only be available fpr iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 calls. It's only available over Wi-Fi at present, but 3G will probably follow in 2011.
The iPhone 4 will be shipping on 24th June in 5 countries, including the UK, and pre-orders start a week tomorrow (June 15th). No UK prices have been announced yet, but we'll keep you posted.