Apple Unveils iPhone 4
iPhone 4 brings higher resolution, higher contrast, 720p video, and a lot more.
The iPhone 4 brings higher resolution, higher contrast, 720p video, and more.
June 07, 2010 by Stephen Hopkins

We all knew it was coming, and now it’s here.  The speculation is over and the iPhone 4 will land on June 24.

Leaked pictures have been circulating for months, and there was the whole Gizmodo prototype FBI sting, so the overall shape of things to come has long been known.  That said, there’s some great stuff packed into the new iPhone (see iPhone 4-iPhone 3GS comparison chart below).

There’s a lot new to take in, but the pricing scheme will sound quite familiar.  $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and the 8GB 3GS will stick around for just $99.  The 3G is gone for good, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see some refurbs pop up here and there.

New Design
The first thing you’ll notice is the somewhat squared side-profile, giving the new iPhone a constant thickness.  Steve Jobs likened the new design to that of an “old Leica camera”. As a photo-buff in another life, that might be pushing it a bit, but I do like the new profile. Other physical updates include a whopping 2 grams of added heft, but slimmed down the total thickness by a full 3mm. The screen is the same 3.5” diagonal, but packs some surprising new punch. 

Screen Resolution
The new iPhone 4 screen resolution has jumped from 480x320 to 960x640, double in each direction or four-times the total pixel count.  The increased pixel count is supposed to be natively supported by all apps through internal conversion of fonts, images, and stock buttons/rollers/sliders. New APIs for developers are also intended to aid in native app conversion for the new resolution.  Beyond resolution, the new IPS (inter-plane switching) LCD panel, like that used in the iPad, also brings an 800:1 contrast ratio, four-times that of the iPhone 3GS, and wider viewing angles. 

Video Chat
The big upgrades aren’t just limited to the screen.  One of the most talked about additions can be found directly above that pretty new screen.  The iPhone 4 comes packing a VGA resolution front-facing secondary camera for video chat. Along with the new camera also comes the FaceTime video chat app, though right now it’s limited to WiFi connectivity. Speaking of WiFi, that’s been upgraded too, now carrying 802.11n to go along with the b/g speeds of the 3GS.

New Processor
When you dig inside the iPhone 4, the hits just keep on coming.  The biggest upgrade of all may be the A4 processor carried over from the iPad.  The 1GHz A4 is a big step up from the 3GS’ 600 MHz Cortex CPU and the facilitator of the iOS 4’s most requested featured - multitasking.  Other OS improvements include folder support, unified Mail inbox with threading, and more robust enterprise support. 

Better Battery Life
Even though the iPhone 4 is a tad slimmer than the 3GS, they found room to squeeze in a larger Lithium Ion battery claiming seven hours of 3G talk or data time, 10 hours of WiFi data browsing, 10 hours of video playback, and 40 hours of audio playback.  One of the ways they may have saved space that will be a bit disappointing to all those sim-unlockers out there is the adoption of the new Micro-SIM slot. 

5 Megapixel Camera
Flip the iPhone 4 on its back and there’s even more to love.  The new 5mp camera not only packs higher still-image resolution, but also an LED flash and 720p video capture.  You won’t be stuck with horrible pans and endless video clips of nothing happening, either, thanks to the built-in iMovie video-editing software.  Tap-to-focus functionality has also made it into both still-image and video capture modes.

Other announcements surround the iPhone 4 include a Netflix App this summer, Bing being added as a default search option along side Google and Yahoo, as well as Farmville and Guitar Hero apps in the works as well.

(Credit: Engadget)

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Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.

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