Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Monday announced the fourth-generation iPhone during a keynote speech at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Jobs described the phone as, “beyond a doubt, the most precise thing and one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever made” before highlighting a number of its new features.
The iPhone 4 will ship on June 24, with pre-shipment orders starting on June 15. The iPhone 4 will ship initially in the US, France, Germany, the UK and Japan. By the end of September, it will be available in 88 countries.
Apple says the iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick, or 24 percent thinner than the iPhone 3GS. It includes new camera with an LED flash on the black, but a second, front-facing camera as well. There are new volume buttons, a mute button, plus a second microphone on the top for noise cancellation. Just like the iPad, it now incorporates a micro-SIM tray.
Apple has also engineered three integrated antennas into the design: one for Bluetooth, one for WiFi and GPS, and one for UMTS and GSM.
A new screen technology called a retina display add much higher precision to the iPhone. In fact, at 326 pixels per inch, it’s double the 163 pixels per inch resolution of the iPhone 3GS.
The new display is the same 3.5 inches diagonally, but at 960 by 640 it has four times as many pixels as the previous model. And the 800:1 contrast ratio is also four times that of the iPhone 3GS. It uses the same IPS display technology as the iPad and the iMac for good color fidelity, brightness, and viewing angle.
Designed by Apple, the A4 chip is tiny and has good power management. Apple went with the micro-SIM design to save space, mostly for a new battery that, coupled with the new chip, Apple says provides 40 percent more talk time. The company says talk time is up from 5 hours to 7 hours; 6 hours of 3G browsing; 10 hours of WiFi browsing; 10 hours of video; 40 hours of music; and 300 hours of standby.
Environmentally, the new iPhone is arsenic free, BFR-free mercury-free, PVC-free, and made from highly recyclable materials.
It comes in sizes up to 32GB of storage (the same as the iPhone 3GS) and includes quad-band HSPDPA/HSUPA networking with a maximum of 7.2Mbps down and 5.8 Mbps up.
"That’s theoretical because the carriers don’t support it yet," said Jobs.
There’s also 802.11n WiFi wireless networking, an improvement from 802.11g in the previous model.
The iPhone 4 add a three-axis gyroscope for measuring angular velocity. It can figure out pitch, roll, and yaw; and rotation about gravity. The gyroscope plus the accelerometer provide six-axis motion sensing. There are also new CoreMotion APIs that developers can call for extremely precise position information—ideal for games.
New camera system
The iPhone 4 has a new, 5-megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom and an LED flash. It also adds 720p HD video capture at 30 frames per second. To go along with the new video capabilities, Apple has created a version of its iMovie consumer video-editing application for the iPhone. With it, you can record or edit you videos (and add photos as well). You can add titles, changes themes, and use music from your iTunes library.
iMovie for iPhone will be available for $5—“if we approve it,” Jobs joked, in reference to the App Store.
For Jobs’ patented (well, probably not, but it should be) One More Thing moment, he sat down on a chair to show off the iPhone 4’s video chatting capabilities. Using either of the two cameras, you can make video calls—a feature called FaceTime—between iPhone 4 phones over WiFi only—at least through 2010. Jobs said Apple needs to “work a little bit with the cellular providers in the future”. You can switch between cameras and chat in landscape or portait mode.
Pricing and availability
The iPhone 4 will come in black and white, at $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB (with the same qualifications and two-year contract with AT&T as in the past). Apple will also have an 8GB iPhone 3GS for $99.
In the UK, O2, Orange and Vodafone all confirmed that the carriers will be carrying the new iPhone, however UK contract prices have not been released at time of writing.
Jobs said that AT&T is going to make “an incredibly generous upgrade offer.” If your contract expires any time in 2010, you’re immediately eligible for that pricing, for up to six months early eligibility.
The iPhone 4 goes on sale in the UK, US, France, Germany, and Japan on June 24, with pre-orders starting on June 15. It will ship in 18 more countries in July, in 24 more in August, and in 40 more by the end of September.
Apple also showed off some accessories: a $29 dock and a $29 case that comes in different colors.
The iPhone 4 sports a new look and is the thinnest smartphone, he said. At 9.3 millimeters (0.36 inches) thick, the new iPhone is 24 percent thinner than iPhone 3GS, Jobs said.
The phone has a 3.5-inch display that will show images at a 960-pixel-by-640-pixel resolution. The phone includes a sharper display that will show four times as many pixels in the same amount of space as earlier iPhones.
The new smartphone also has about 100 new features, including a front-facing video camera and a new camera system. The phone will support UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System) and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) 3G networks, and has Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS capabilities. It has a Micro-SIM tray on the side.
The phone has improved battery life over its predecessors, including seven hours of talk time and six hours of Web browsing time through 3G networks. It also offers 10 hours of browsing through WiFi networks, 10 hours of video and 40 hours of music.
The phone will include an Apple-developed A4 chip, which includes an Arm-based processor, which should help it run faster. It also has improved graphics capabilities. The new iPhone will be able to record 720p video at 30 frames per second, Jobs said.
Apple announced the iMovie video-editing application for the iPhone, which will be available later this year for $4.99. Users will also be able to read e-books through the iBooks application, with the ability to download the same e-book to other devices, including the iPad or iPod Touch, at no extra charge.
The phone will run the Apple iOS4, which was previously released as iPhone OS 4.0 beta in April. The new OS enables true multitasking, which allows multiple applications to run at the same time. Previous phones were able to run only selected applications such as e-mail at the same time.
The iPhone will also integrate Apple's new iAd mobile advertising platform. iAd will allow developers to earn revenue by serving ads in applications for the iPhone. Apple will host the ads on its servers and get a 40 percent cut, with the rest going to the developers. Apple is implementing iAd to help developers earn money, which could help them continue offering free and low-cost apps, Jobs said. The company has been selling iAds for eight weeks, and commitments for the second half of the year have reached $60 million, according to Jobs.
Apple also introduced the FaceTime application, which will enable video calls. The application will work over WiFi networks for now, and the company "needs to work" with carriers for the application to work over cellular networks, Jobs said.