What’s new in iPhone 4?

As widely predicted the Apple iPhone 4 has today been announced by Steve Jobs. It’s a totally new iPhone featuring some really big improvements along with some very cool new features. I’ll cut straight to the important stuff and tell you about the big new features that have been revealed so far.

iPhone 4 in black and whiteSexy, slim, glass and steel design

The iPhone 4 has a brand new design. It’s the slimmest smartphone in the world at only 9.3mm thick.  I haven’t checked this so don’t castrate me if Apple’s statement is a little fanciful – they are famed for making up their own definition for what constitutes a ‘smartphone’ in the past.  iPhone - Glass and stainless steel

Gone is the scratchy, slightly cheap and crack prone plastic.  The iPhone 4 has a super slick looking glass front and back with stainless steel around the edges.  They’ve even created a new grade of stainless steel just for this product!

Rather cleverly the stainless steel edges are used as the antenna.  Genius design.  The ‘aluminosilcate’ glass is “chemically strengthened to be 30 times harder than plastic”.

The design looks amazing in the photos and I can’t wait to get one in my grubby mitts. I may pitch my tent on Regent St tomorrow (for full disclosure I must admit to not owning a tent…).

New ‘Retina’ super high resolution displayiPhone 4 - Retina display

The iPhone 4 will have the highest resolution display ever built into a mobile phone.  Their new ‘Retina display’ shows 326 pixels per inch, which is so dense that the human eye cannot distinguish individual pixels (when held at a normal distance).  The display has four times the resolution of an iPhone 3GS. It features IPS technology which according to Jobs is “quite a bit better than OLED”.

The display is likely to set a new benchmark in mobile and I think it will come into it’s own when you see it in the flesh. The only downside is the display is no larger than the iPhone 3GS at 3.5 inches.  I would have preferred to see it grow a little but I guess the trade off would be a bigger product that wouldn’t fit in my pocket.

New 5 megapixel camera and HD video capture

The iPhone 4’s camera is a big improvement.  Not only is it a 5 megapixel camera but it records HD video too. The HD video captures 720p at 30 frames per second – HD TV quality video recording in your mobile phone.  Sweet.

The camera has finally got an LED flash and the new camera technology is claimed to work extremely well in low light thanks to it’s ‘backside illuminated sensor’. I hope this lives up to the hype. There’s also a front facing camera for self-portraits and the new FaceTime video calling feature.

FaceTime video calling

iPhone 4 will feature the brand new FaceTime video calling feature.  You can video call other iPhone 4 users (over WiFi only for now) using the aforementioned front facing camera, switch to share something you can see with the main camera and flip between landscape and portrait mode mid-call.  I’m not sure how this will work for the person on the other end… will they need to change to modes at the same time?iPhone 4 - Facetime video calling

Now, this is the only feature I’m not sold on.  Video calling has been available for years via 3G – Vodafone’s 3G launch in 2004 seemed to be built around it – but it hasn’t ever caught on.  I also have video conferencing available via Skype on my laptop but I’m quite happy to stick with IM and occasional voice calls – I’m not bothered about using the power of the interweb to watch my mates pick their nose 200 miles away.

Maybe it would be different if I had kids? Perhaps Apple will do it properly and bring video calling to the mainstream? However given that both parties need an iPhone 4 and WiFi I suspect this will only be used by a small minority on rare occasions, at least for a couple of years as the base grows.

iMovie for iPhone

To make the most of the new HD video capture Apple are releasing an iMovie App (for the princely sum of $5) that will let you create movies with your video clips, photos and music which you can then email directly to your friends.iPhone 4 - iMovie App

It looks very cool and easy to use.  Ideal for shooting, editing and sharing mini-movies on the fly.

I’m hoping you’ll be able to upload straight to You Tube and Facebook too – perfect for embarrassing your friends before you leave the club or showing off your snowboard skills whilst still on the slope.

The $5 charge – which I assume will end up at £3.99 in the UK – is a little bit of a surprise.  Maybe this is the start of Apple charging for more of it’s coolest new features?

Gyro and Accelerometer

It took me three attempts to spell it correctly but the iPhone will be the first phone to have a built-in three-axis gyroscope as well as the accelerometer of old.  This enables lots of technical sounding cool things such as capturing angular velocity (presumably the precise speed and angle you’ve dropped your beloved iPhone 4?)  but in real speak it means you will be able to have an even more awesome gaming experience because it will be loads more accurate to your every move.

Multi-tasking and more talk timeiPhone 4 - A4 Processor

iPhone 4 will feature the Apple A4 processor which will support multi-tasking.  It will also help the iPhone 4 to give you 40% more talk-time than the 3GS – fixing the biggest issue I have with my iPhone.

Better call quality

The iPhone 4 has a second microphone which works with the main mic to suppress background noise and improve your call quality.

Verdict

This is the biggest iPhone upgrade yet.  It’s a totally new phone with a stunning new look, some great new features and improvements that tackle it’s previous weaknesses around the camera and battery life.

I can’t bloody wait until it launches!  :)  Now how much will it cost to cancel my O2 contract early….

Let everyone know your first impressions by leaving a comment below!

About Chris Frost

Chris Frost has a wealth of experience working for mobile phone companies and websites that champion the consumer including ReviewCentre.com and uSwitch.com. He has a passion for helping people find the right products to match their needs whether they are mobile phones, gadgets or broadband services, cutting through the marketing fluff to tell you how it really is. He's candid in his opinons, loves simplicity in form and function, and loves a great deal too!
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2 Responses to What’s new in iPhone 4?

  1. Luke says:

    Its awesome, I have been waiting for this for 4 months, and so now, i can finally prepare to ditch my samsung and get with the program. HD LED app madness here I come!

  2. Will says:

    It looks totally amazing. I will buy one the moment it goes on sale. Since the first iphone was launched I haven’t even looked at another phone, in fact I couldn’t even tell you who still makes other phones, are Nokia and Sony still making any? Iphone 4 will convert the rest, that is for sure.

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