Despite a much publicized media leak of its next-generation iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs still managed to rev up fans and developers Monday as he unveiled next-generation iPhone 4, a powerful successor in its smart-phone line.
“Stop me if you’ve already seen this,” Jobs quipped as he introduced the iPhone 4 to a packed audience at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
From his customary spot onstage, Steve Jobs previewed the new, slimmer smartphone. “That is the iPhone 4,” Jobs said. “We think it’s the biggest leap we’ve taken since the original iPhone.”
As expected, the latest iPhone 4 features a high-resolution display, a faster processor, and video calling, but it also sports unexpected additions like a new antenna and a gyroscope. It will be available exclusively with AT&T starting June 24.
The phone will be available in white or black, retailing at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for 32GB. They go on sale June 24th, and AT&T will be giving some extra grace upgrade timing — up to six months early.
However, during the presentation in San Francisco Mr Jobs had trouble connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi on several occasions.
It failed when he tried to show how clear pictures would appear on the new screen. The problem occurred again later when the Apple boss attempted to show the audience how video calling would work on the device.
Mr Jobs urged more than 500 journalists in the room to turn off their Wi-Fi connections as he thought the large number of networks was causing the problem. “I think bloggers have a right to blog, but if you want to see the demos, we’re not going to be able to do it,” said Steve Jobs from the stage.
Many of the iPhone 4’s larger hardware developments were predicted after gadget blog Gizmodo purchased a lost iPhone prototype in April for $5,000 and ran an exclusive story on the components of the new device. The story shed light on many of the new features, including the two cameras and a bigger battery, as well as the boxier look of the device.
iPhone 4 in details: Even from the outside, you’ll see that the iPhone 4 marks the biggest upgrade since the iPhone 3G. The device is thinner and you’ll notice a new front-facing camera (more aboit it below.)
The iPhone 4 also serves as the debut device for the newly named iPhone OS 4, which brings such much-needed features as multitasking, a unified e-mail in-box, and app folders for the home screen.
The Design: The new iPhone’s design is a sharp departure from the previous iPhone models. The front and back sides are glass, both surfaces are flat, and a stainless steel border circles the entire phone.
“When creating iPhone 4, Apple designers and engineers didn’t start with a clean sheet of paper. They started with three years of experience designing and building the phones that redefined what a phone can do.”
“iPhone 4 is the result of everything they’ve learned so far. And it’s all contained in a beautiful enclosure a mere 9.3 millimeters thin, making iPhone 4 the world’s thinnest smartphone,” according to the Apple’s official website.
Engeneered glass: It’s really shiny and beautiful, but the glass attracts smudges by the ton and durability remains a concern.
“All the breakthrough technology in iPhone 4 is situated between two glossy panels of aluminosilicate glass — the same type of glass used in the windshields of helicopters and high-speed trains.”
“Chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, the glass is ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever. It’s also recyclable,” according to the Apple.
Retina Display: “The 960-by-640 backlit LCD display boasts a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, making it the highest-resolution phone screen ever.”
“To achieve this, Apple engineers developed pixels so small — a mere 78 micrometers across — that the human eye can’t distinguish individual pixels. That makes text remarkably sharp and graphics incredibly vivid. IPS technology also provides excellent color and contrast from almost any viewing angle.”
Camera and LED: “The iPhone 4 camera shoots gorgeous 5-megapixel photos and stunning HD video. And with its advanced backside illumination sensor, it captures beautiful images even in low-light settings.”
“The built-in LED flash does double duty. When you’re taking pictures, it works as a flash. When you’re shooting video it can stay on to light up the scene. And on the front of iPhone 4, the built-in camera is perfect for making FaceTime calls and shooting self-portraits.”
Though the new handset isn’t called the “iPhone HD” (one of its rumored names), it records 720p high-definition video at a constant 30 frames per second. The demo looks great, even if the iPhone isn’t the first cellphone to offer this capability.
Mic and Speaker: We haven’t had an opportunity to test noise-cancellation microphones, though we expect that they can only do their best.
Apple said: “While most phones have only one microphone, iPhone 4 has two. The main mic, located on the bottom next to the speakers, is for phone and FaceTime calls, voice commands, and memos.”
“The second mic, built into the top near the headphone jack, is for making your phone and video calls better. It works with the main mic to suppress unwanted and distracting background sounds, such as music and loud conversations.”
“This dual-mic noise suppression helps make every conversation a quiet one,” according to the Apple.
Apple A4 Processor and battery life: The iPhone 4 will feature the same A4 chip that’s found in the iPad. The result is a faster processor, plus improved battery life given the A4’s efficient power management.
Apple says: “With it, iPhone 4 can easily perform complex jobs such as multitasking, editing video, and placing FaceTime calls. All while maximizing battery life.”
Add in a bigger battery and we get a promise of 7 hours of talk time now, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, and 300 hours of standby.
iPhone OS 4: As mentioned, the iPhone 4 has all the goodies that come with the latest iPhone OS that Apple announced last April.
Jobs said that the OS will now be called iOS 4 rather than iPhone OS 4. Why?! Because of the fact that the new OS will run on both the iPhone and the iPad.
Gyroscope and Accelerometer: The iPhone 3Gs gave us a compass, but the iPhone 4 raises the bar by offering a three-axis gyroscope.
Apple says: “iPhone 4 is the first phone with a built-in three-axis gyroscope. When paired with the accelerometer, it makes iPhone 4 capable of advanced motion sensing such as user acceleration, angular velocity, and rotation rate.”
“Translation: More motion gestures and greater precision for an even better gaming experience.”
FaceTime: Jobs’ “One more thing” concerned FaceTime, a new video-calling feature that will be exclusive to the iPhone 4. You’ll be able to use FaceTime in both portrait and landscape modes, and it uses both the front and rear cameras.
Apple says: “People have been dreaming about video calling for decades. iPhone 4 makes it a reality. With the tap of a button, you can wave hello to your kids, share a smile from across the globe, or watch your best friend laugh at your stories — iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi. No other phone makes staying in touch this much fun.”
For 2010 year , FaceTime will work only on Wi-Fi, but we don’t think that’s a bad thing. Video chat uses a ton of data so we’re sure the experience would be better on Wi-Fi than on AT&T’s strained network.
Apple says: “FaceTime works right out of the box — no need to set up a special account or screen name. And using FaceTime is as easy as it gets. It’s all perfectly seamless.”
Jobs said Apple is working with iPhone carriers to carry the feature, but he didn’t offer other details. Jobs also promised that Apple would ship “tens of millions of FaceTime devices this year,” which leads us to wonder whether we’ll see the feature on non-iPhone devices in the future.
Though it’s not a feature that we were burning for, we’re more than happy to see FaceTime get its day. Apple has another talent for repackaging existing technology and attracting wide consumer interest. Outside of other VoIP services like the Skype app, carriers have been unsuccessful at making video-calling services useful.
iMovie, iBooks, Home Screen and Folders for Apps:
Apple says about iBooks: “The iBooks app is now available as a free download for iPhone, so you can read your favorite books anywhere. On iPhone 4, the high-resolution Retina display renders every page beautifully.”
“Vibrant colors, rich illustrations, and crisp, sharp text make reading a pleasure. Turn pages by tapping the right or left side of the screen or by dragging the page corner (just like a real book). Jump to a different part of the book by visiting the table of contents and tapping a chapter.”
“When you’re finished reading, iBooks bookmarks where you left off. It syncs with iPad, too, so the story you started on your iPhone can be finished on your iPad..”
About iMovie technology Apple said: “Make beautiful HD movies anywhere with iMovie, the fun, feature-rich video editing app that’s designed for iPhone 4.”
“Create a video postcard of your day at the beach and publish it to the web without leaving your spot on the sand. Or make a movie of your child’s birthday party and send it to your parents while the party is in full swing. You can start several projects on your iPhone 4 and finish them whenever you want and wherever you are.”
p.s. That’s all for the highlights. We’ll have new details of the iPhone 4 on the June 24 release date. But right now, tell us what you think about new Apple’s iPhone 4?! [Apple via CNET and Daily Telegraph (UK)]