iPhone 4 unveiled
So there we have it – the newest iPhone, which is due for launch in the coming weeks.
Steve Jobs unveiled the handset, photos of which had already been leaked online, at WWDC. So what did we get?
First off, it looks pretty nice. Glass back and front (scratch resistant, oil resistant) with the antenna as the metal band around the phone. It’s also about 24 per cent thinner than the 3GS.
One of the most interesting things about the announcement is the screen. It’s the same size, but infinitely improved. Dubbed “Retina” by Apple, it claims to have a higher dots per inch pixel resolution than the human eye can discern. It’s 960 x 640 pixels; that’s four times as many as the iPhone 3GS and is promising crisp text, images and video.
The higher capacity battery, one of my major bugbears about the iPhone, which promises seven hours of talk time . That’s about 40 per cent more than the current 3GS. We’ll see exactly how well that stands up to real-world use when the iPhone launches over here. The 3GS promised improved battery life too, but I can’t say I noticed much of a difference (unless, as suggested, I switched off everything I wanted to use like 3G, GPS and Wi-fi, and didn’t use it for any apps). Fingers crossed this new battery will live up to claims.
A second microphone plus technology to suppress background noise should improve call quality too. Wifi is 802.11n.
It’s also got a front facing camera. Which I think might be better used in an iPad for Skype calling, but anyway.
I will admit to being a little puzzled at the big deal being made of “FaceTime”, Apple’s name for video calling. The press release says this:
“Apple today presented the new iPhone 4 featuring FaceTime, which makes the dream of video calling a reality”
The dream of video calling? Really?
And then Steve Jobs is quoted as saying:
“FaceTime video calling sets a new standard for mobile communication”
New standard for mobile communication? Er, Steve? Video calling has been available on other handsets for some time. In fact, I believe that was what the networks were focusing on when 3G actually launched. Guess what? Not all that popular. Not among anyone I know anyway.
When was the last time you actually made a video call on your mobile? Can you even remember? Mine was about five years ago, I think, and I was actually the recipient because a friend had got a 3G phone for the first time. I have one video message that I keep forgetting to check, which was left by my mother by accident when her phone was left unlocked in her handbag.
I use Skype quite a bit, but that’s at home, in the privacy of my own home. On a decent sized screen. I’ve yet to do the same on my mobile phone, despite having the capability for several years.
Also, it contains the important phrase “anywhere there is Wi-Fi”, which rules out 3G calling and ties you down, like Skype on iPhone first did, to wireless networks. So I’m not exactly blown away by that bit, although other people may feel differently.
What we didn’t get was a higher capacity iPhone. Sorry, but t seems we’re stuck at 32GB for a little while longer.
The new iPhone will also contain Apple’s A4 processor, a 3-axis gyro and come with iPhone OS 4 (or iOS 4, as it’s now known). Say hello to multitasking, folders and other functions.
One thing to note is that the new iPhone OS won’t support the original 2G iPhone model. That’s one way to shove people towards buying a new phone, Apple.
Actually, if I had run out and bought an iPhone when they first launched, I’d be a little peeved right now. Oh sure, you could have upgraded, but it isn’t exactly cheap technology. And while you’ll still be able to soldier on with your current operating system, it’s conceivable that in a little while, you won’t be able to get too many apps that don’t require iOS 4.
When I hauled the iPhone 2G I was using out of its drawer a few months ago, most, if not all, of the apps I wanted required version 3 of the iPhone OS to work. In fact, it was difficult to find one that didn’t (believe me, I tried). So should developers begin to look at building in multitasking, an increasing number of apps will be built that need iOS 4.
iPhone 4 will be available in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan on June 24th, the rest of us will get it some time in July.