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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 7, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

    iPhone 4 unveiled

    Ciara O'Brien

    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.

    • Keeeryst says:

      OK I’ll start again less of the warstories so :)

    • Keeeryst says:

      Looks nice. 64gb doubtless coming out presently. Toshiba have the nand. But I think I’ll go for this one and retire the heroic 6820.

    • dealga says:

      It’s basically the screen at the end of the day. I don’t see why anyone with a 3GS would bother.

      I have a jailbroken 2G on 3.1.3, which I’ll now try flogging on eBay before its spiral to obsolescence gathers too much pace.

      Also the front facing camera in this iPhone makes the lack of a built in webcam on the iPad even more laughable.

    • David says:

      Not a great review Ciara… The sarcasm is hilarious for a piece reviewing a new product launch. In reality, the hardware that has been implemented is leading edge – it will take 1-2 years for another manufacturer to match performance and price.

      Anecdotes regarding video calling previously on other handsets are bullshit. If The Irish Times requires a free analysis of the iPhone 4 by a Chartered Engineer (Electronics), from an Irish perspective, let me know…

    • It’s not intended to be a review, as we haven’t seen the phone in hand yet. I fully expect to get an iPhone 4, but it won’t be for video calling, because I’ve had that available to me for several years and I don’t use it all that often. Out of interest, why shouldn’t we compare it to what functions are already available in other phones?

      I’m far more interested to see how the processor and screen will enhance what the iphone offers, and more importantly, the call quality – the noise suppression and dual microphone will hopefully make a lot of difference.

      I’d be interested to see what others think of the claim that it will take other manufacturers 1-2 years to match performance of the hardware.

      Also, this is a blog, which means it will contain personal opinion and reaction to announcements. In the interests of disclosure, I use an iPhone 3GS and am currently typing this on a MacBook Pro. I’m not against Apple, I just don’t take absolutely everything the company says at face value.

    • Roggiep says:

      Check out Glee star Jane Lynch’s hilarious spoof of the iconic Apple ads… taking on the new Iphone 4… she’s a potty mouthed little minx…! http://bit.ly/bF6o5y

    • brian says:

      I wouldn’t wipe my arse with one of those, to be quite honest.

    • David says:

      OK, my bad – Don’t think I had my morning cup of coffee earlier this morning. Points are fair enough. I just thought credit where credit is due – I for one am impressed with the effort Apple produced here. As an aside, they are also employing a lot of people down in Cork so I suppose, go team go!

    • Donnchadh O h-Ainle says:

      Yeah, not a great review (Sorry blog post, granted. Just a bit misleading under the IrishTimes flag). e.g. There is more to the “FaceTime” than the ability to make video calls; that is the open standards it is based on, reported here: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/apples_biggest_news_video_calling_as_open_standard.php.
      This is just as the Mac wasn’t the first PC, IPhone the first mobile phone or IPad the first tablet device. Apple has the proven ability to surprise.
      In terms of specs, the IPhone excels at key common functionalities, particularly simplicity of common tasks. Their focus on software and hardware design is renowned. So many industry players are miles behind in this regard. And that probably is the very reason for their success, their willingness/insistence on tackling hardware and software against the odds.
      Their restrictive attitude regarding some of their software and iTunes/IPhone/iPod syncing etc. may be their eventual downfall.

    • I’m not quite sure what you mean by misleading, it’s clearly marked as a blog, as are the others here.

      Given that it was only announced yesterday, it’s a first impression. We won’t get the handset until July. When it is available for review, it will be looked at in full.

      However I’m not the only one sceptical about FaceTime.

    • dealga says:

      You shouldn’t have bothered defending yourself, never mind twice. Who criticises a blog post that was clearly just musing on a product launch? Jesus wept.

    • Barry says:

      A very negative review of a phone you haven’t gotten yet – though it is a popular view amongst bloggers. The main reason for this attitude has nothing to do with the phone and more with the fact that all of the secrets had already been leaked. It’s the ‘There’s nothing new here’ syndrome of bloggers.

      In fact there is a lot of new things in iPhone 4. I personally think that your opinion of faceTime is spot on – a wonderful technology (that only works between iPhone 4s – why??) that won’t be used a lot. I was also astonished that the FM radio (with Live pause etc) currently on a nano is not included. I’m also eagerly awaiting news of how the battery life stacks up. Yes the battery of the older models is not great, but making the battery bigger doesnt fix the phone’s real problem – the power REALLY drains when getting data from 3G networks (and the phone can get hot).

      But let’s look at the huge advances – the big one is multi-tasking (which you barely mention) and the obvious example is SKYPE. Previously unusable as the app had to be always on (and nothing else), Now it can be left on in the background to get free instant messages and (where there’s wi-fi) free calls. O2 and Vodafone won’t like that one bit.

      The A4 processor will make a big difference to me as my 2 year old 3G is starting to show it’s age – using the facebook app on it is torturously slow and it can take the ipod almost 5 seconds to open. It also needs re-booting on a daily basis. But it still works and the speed issues are mainly due to OS upgrades.

      The new screen should be good – but like getting HD TV, you will probably only notice the difference when you put it beside the old model.

      iAd, universal mail boxes, quick app switching, etc etc etc – all fine as long as they dont get in my way frankly.

      I love my iPhone 3G. I will be buying the new iPhone. My 2 year old son will inherit my iPhone 3G (airphone mode … ON) as watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on it is brilliant (for all concerned) – and I’ll have less drool to contend with on my iPhone 4G. Reason enough to embrace the new model.

      O2 and Vodafone …. let the fight for my custom …. begin!

    • Multitasking isn’t an exclusive feature of the iPhone 4. It’s included as part of the iOS4 update, which will be available to 3G and 3GS models too. Just not to the original model, which I already mentioned above.

      I’ve already explained it’s not a review of the phone, for obvious reasons. Just my opinion based on Apple’s announcements. I think the battery and the screen will be more interesting than FaceTime. FaceTime will be an open standard, so could be built into other devices – how many will actually do this is another thing.

      Also, if rumours are true, 3 Ireland could also be fighting for your custom…

    • Barry says:

      Multi-tasking wont work on 3G (according to Apple). It will work on the 3GS but I bet the speed of the phone will suffer as a result.

      Great news on 3 getting in there. I politiely declined offers (from O2 and Vodafone) of a free iPhone 3GS last February-March telling them (to an incredulous response) that I was waiting for the new phone.

      I await wooing……

    • Well, that’s only a rumour for now – I was told by a girl in the Three store that they would be offering the new one, but not sure if that’s a done deal yet.

      I missed the multitasking reference in the Apple press material (it’s in the footnotes); that’s disappointing. I suppose most people who have 3Gs will be upgrading if multitasking is essential.

    • godowd says:

      Why are people going so crazy about a phone – front facing cameras have been around for years, who wants to watch TV, Videos etc on a tiny screen. It can run more than one app at a time – wow I am sure I have read about phones doing that already. Oh Yes and there are now over one million pretty pointless apps available. Sooner or later people will realise that this is just an overpriced piece of hardware – nothing new there

    • kynos says:

      My E72 has a front facing cam. Only use if for taking pics of meself in front of Kavanagh’s grave. Don’t know anyone else with a video capable cam who I’d want to call or be called by and look at. Think there’s a proto-market for some clever clever who can write software that can put different backgrounds in from the ones actually behind you when needed. Like, an office, where there should be a pub. Or something.

    • better to live in the Korner of an house-top says:

      Could save a lot of domestic disharmony.

    • rubyrubyruby says:

      Kynos post one of your grave/n images on the blog…I dar’ ye!

    • Comments are text only, sorry! I’m the only one who can post images…

    • rubyrubyruby says:

      Is that general or specific to this blog? I only ask because people paste links to pix and media..?

    • Crossed wires sorry. Links are fine, I just meant images themselves can’t show up in comments, only in the main text of blog posts.

    • kynos says:

      Hmmm. Might but it’ll feature sunglasses and an hat don’t want to be too recognisable wouldn’t do the old secret soldier tinker tailor spy thing any good otherwise. Might on the other hand do it the world. Big into risk management us old customs officers.

    • Kynos says:

      Yirrah grrlz yizzer so persuasive. Pure coincidence was wearing that hat two weeks ago visited Mr K’s grave. THought he’d appreciate update on how things are gettin on in the country he loved. Annyway this one’s quite modren Ireland. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonykynos

    • rubyrubyrubyruby says:

      Wouldn’t a known a bit a ya….sure it’s better lookin’ yer after gettin’ ! You might want to lose that oul’ stony expression tho’…Now I never had you down as a law enforcement type…

    • rubyrubyrubyruby says:

      hiya kyno are you on facebook? if so under which name…?

    • Nokys says:

      Under me own name rubycubesday. The one they poured holy water on. Allegedly. You chattin’ me up or something? Savin meself for that special grrl I am til then

    • rubycubesday says:

      Don’t be absurd kynos…Facebook is a social networking site I thought it would be the appropriate way of being in contact without any misunderstanding…Obviously I was wrong…Do you think everyone who contacts you is ‘chattin you up’?

    • kynos says:

      It’s Kool an the Gang Ruby. I was havin a laugh and setting up for the clever clever (fondly imagined) distortion of me usual handle give me a break sure you could be Deaglán for all I know. No I don’t think everyone who contacts me is chatting me up. Anyway I’ve pointed you in my direction on another poll. Not often on Fbook nor on my personal gmail becaiuse I’m suffering information overload from the 100 odd emails I get a day at work sometimes. So don’t take offence if I take awhile to reply. I appreciate the nice things you say but always bear in mind pls that most of what I say these days is firmly tongue in cheek.

    • Kynos says:

      Only havin the craic ruby. Must check the ol’ Fbuke see if you’ve found me yet.

    • rubyxcubes says:

      Well you’ll just have to check your f’buke and see…!
      I had a BoHo Dylan Moran image/character in my head…so no too far off…!