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.
Sexy, 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.
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 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?
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.
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 time
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.
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!