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WWDC: Everything You Need to Know About iPhone 4

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UPDATED: When guessing the name of Apple’s (s aapl) next iPhone model, folks who figured “iPhone 4G” got it half right — the new handset is the iPhone 4 and it just debuted at the Apple WWDC in San Francisco. The 9.3mm thick handset looks nearly identical to the test phone left behind at a bar and later purchased by Gizmodo, but now we have all the specifications:

  • 24 percent thinner than the iPhone 3GS
  • Front-facing camera in addition to rear 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and 5x digital zoom, support for 720p video recording at 30 fps.
  • Two microphones for noise suppression
  • Stainless steel frame with radio antennas integrated into the structure of the phone
  • A 960×640 high resolution display with 326 pixels per inch — roughly double the pixel count of the current iPhone and more like printed text
  • Up to 32GB of storage, 802.11 n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a three-axis gyro
  • Support for quad-band HSPA, or 7.2 Mbps down and 5.8 Mbps up
  • 7 hours of talk time, 6 hours of 3G browsing or 10 hours on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music and 300 hours of standby

CEO Steve Jobs himself demonstrated the difference between the current iPhone 3GS display and the New Retina display of the iPhone 4. This technology appears to be the biggest improvement over the prior model device as text is noticeably crisper while pictures are far more detailed.

Helping out the visuals of the Retina Display is an 800:1 contrast ratio — four times greater than the prior model’s display — and the use of IPS or In Plane Switching technology for a wide-angle viewing, just like the iPad and Apple displays. The new iPhone 4 is powered by Apple’s custom A4 chip, first used in the iPad, and like its big brother, uses a microSIM card.

With the new higher-quality camera, Apple is also offering a way to edit video on the phone with iMovie for iPhone, priced at $4.99. Based on the demonstration provided, the software appears to be more polished than the prior editing method and uses the full iPhone display for movie edits — gone is the trim timeline from the currently meager editing functionality of the 3GS. Still photos can be added to iPhone movies as can transitions and music tracks from the iTunes library on the handset.

The new iPhone 4 will run the already announced iPhone OS 4, but the platform gets a rename — as of today, it’s iOS 4, which makes sense, since the non-phone iPad runs the same mobile operating system. (Related: Apple’s iPhone OS 4: What You Need to Know) As expected, the most prominent features are multitasking, folders, customized home screens and a unified Inbox for email.

Google (s goog) will remain the default search engine in iOS 4, but Microsoft’s (s msft) Bing is now an available option. A new software addition is the iBooks for iPhone application, which should help sell even more books (Apple has already sold 5 million.) iBooks will sync a reader’s place between the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as well their bookmarks and notes, much as Amazon (s amzn) does with its Kindle platform. And when paired with the Retina Display, iBooks looks stellar for handheld reading — Apple is sure to sell even more titles as a result.

With all the new features, Apple continues to entice developers; it expects to this month sell its 100 millionth iOS device, which includes sales of iPads, iPods and iPhones. I will update the post as more details on iPhone 4 are revealed.

Update: Apple waited until the end, but finally demonstrated what the front-facing camera is for — video calling with FaceTime, which works over Wi-Fi only. Additionally, Apple shared pricing and availability for the new iPhone 4, which goes on sale June 24th. The 16 GB version is $199 with contract while the 32 GB model is $299 in the U.S. Pre-orders begin on June 15 and Apple expects iPhone 4 availability in 88 countries by September.

66 Responses to “WWDC: Everything You Need to Know About iPhone 4”

  1. Cool and amazing!
    I have to say apple is reallu shocked the world!
    steve jobs! you are the man!!!
    I’m still shocked at how much the ipad can do…and now this? how do you do it!
    good job!
    Before the new iPhone released, I have read many reviews about it, it totally stunned me, such as this one listed the most impressive features of it: ifunia iphone column ‘A Review of Apple iPhone 4’.

  2. Umed Rawat

    I think, Facetime would single handedly be the biggest selling point for Apple iPhone 4. It indeed opens the door for seamless voice and video chat which was not present uptill now on a mobile device, lots of possibility.

    I also think the biggest differentiator for iPhone from other smartphones is the Battery Life that Apple is putting into it. This is something which is a pain for all the rest of the smartphones currently like EVO 4G, Palm Pre etc… Apple truly knows what the consumer wants and that is more juice from a single charge of the phone.

    Kudos to Apple!

    • Mark A

      “It indeed opens the door for seamless voice and video chat which was not present uptill now on a mobile device”

      Hello? It’s been available on pretty much every Nokia since 2003.

      • Chris K

        May have been on Nokia phones but did it work well? I doubt it knowing how far processing power has come on mobile phones in the past 7 years.

        Anyway I don’t think Facetime is going to be a big deal in the end. People just don’t want to videoconference.

        Hell people are moving away from phonecalls as it is and are texting and emailing instead because those forms of communications don’t require the other party to be available at the exact same time you want to communicate with them.

        Video calls require even more time set aside by both parties to make them happen. You have to look good. Women will have to put their makeup on. Guys can’t sit on the toilet and video conference. Then you have to sit still. And aim your phone at your face and hold steady.

        It’s going to more of a once a year feature for the vast majority of people at least once the initial novelty wears off.

    • I just checked the official iPhone 4 page on Apple’s site. In the tech specs section: UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz).

      It also supports EDGE on the 1800 MHz band, so there’s a fifth frequency, but only four for HSPA.

      • Scotty

        The FCC has it down for 800 Mhz UMTS, apparently they’ve sold enough iPhones in japan to decide it’s worth expanding beyond Softbank…

  3. I think the rebranding of the OS was inevitable. The next thing that needs rebranding is iTunes. Maybe when they move it to the cloud they will change the name.

  4. Tonnile

    underwhelming to say the least, the press coverage isnt near as extravagant this year as in past years at big places like Engadget, responses also seem to be down.

    my main gripe is with the screen, love the resolution but the screen looks pathetically small in such a huge frame. either shrink the phone or use the bezel more efficiently, it just looks like “old” tech next to something like the Evo.

  5. moonflight

    GPS support has been removed! Only A-GPS is left. What will I do! What if I’m away in a far-away country without a data plan, and still want to use GPS. Well, I’m out of luck then, am I not!

    • Mark H

      I don’t think that is true. It might have better sensitivity because it’s using the case as an antenna. In my 3G iPhone it’s worse than a standalone BT unit. I hope the update frequency has increased because it tends to lag at the moment. iOS 4 brings background location tasks – low-powered mode using cell-tower triangulation only and high-powered mode using GPS.

      • Gordon

        a-GPS is a real GPS chip!!!!! It just has assistance from the celular radio to speed up making the initial position lock. From then on it uses the GPS chip for navigation. A-GPS can also help to aid navigation in tunnels and high density areas where satelite line of sight is temporarily blocked.



    • Gordon

      wrong!! a-GPS is a real GPS chip that has the ability to also call on the cell chip to speed up the initial position lock. After that it uses the normal GPS chip. a-GPS can also allow some navigation tracking in palces where line of sight to the real GPS chip is obstructed, like tunnels and built up areas.


      • Daniel

        That’s not the whole truth…
        If I’m not mistaking it’s true that it’s a “real” GPS, but it’s up to the manufacture to implement if the GPS will be available when you don’t have any GSM coverage or in an other country.

        It’s interesting to see how Apple has decided? Does anyone now how it really works with the iPhone 4?


  6. Wang Hung Lo

    Was hoping for a little more. Like maybe a second model: iPhone 4 Plus (4.3″) with that new high res screen. Apple really needs more than one form factor phone in their arsenal.
    Surprised it is Stainless Steel and not Aluminium.
    Bigger battery is way cool but still not removable (bummer).
    The Nissan LEAF ad was cool – winning an electric car via iPhone just rocks.

    Now that the iPhone has a built-in GYROSCOPE it is the official NASA Phone for use in space flights. This will be heavily used in gaming for sure.

  7. Eric M.

    With No Flash, means, it’s like my iPad – Apple’s version of the web, full of holes.

    k’Mon, how many tiems you’ve been to a site that shows a blank screen. pfff, it’s ok, Apple, this time, I’m patient to wait for Google’s Android, I’ll pass.

    • +1
      At this point its a shame. Too many blank holes and folks call it “Magical” internet experience. Steve probably changed the meaning of “Magical” on his dictionary apps. Sometimes I feel the tech world is brainwashed by Apple. No one writes about the “Holes” inside the browser.

      • Exactly my point, there are millions of sites out there and the ones I need flash. The engadget video of Steve Jobs explaining the antenna cannot be viewed on any i”Product”. Good for you that the sites you browse don’t need Flash.

    • you are completely right. i know quite a few people who deal in used/jail broken/unlocked iphones and the demand way exceeds supply. i have guys telling me the always sell their iphones within three hours of having them in hand and have waiting lists of hundreds of people.

      nearly all of these people would prefer to buy brand new. the only reason they buy used is that it is the only way to get an unlocked phone.

  8. Except for the Antenna design and the backlit photo sensor rest of the stuff is not “Magical”.

    Apple could have increased the screen size to 4.3 inches.

    • Brittany

      Because you live in the u.s you only have to wait untill june but i live in australia and have to wait until the very und of july!! I dont know if i cant wait that long!