It’s been leaked, peaked, and sneaked, but now we have it for real, and its got just about everything we expected, with a bit of unsuspected tweaks; the iPhone 4 from Apple. This is Mobile’s definitive guide to the iPhone 4, we hope it helps you understand what is coming; it will change the very way we communicate.
We had sneak peaks of the iPhone 4 (i4) ever since Gizmodo got their hands on the “lost” prototype from that southern California bar. It’s the same design as we saw, with black aluminosilicate glass on the front and back, with a stainless steel rim around the circumference, held in place by a couple shiny torx bolts. Apple is not taking any chances this time around, the problem that plagued early generation iPod nanos is a thing of the past. iPhone 4 uses the same type of glass used in helicopter windshields and high-speed trains. You know they mean business when they source industrial tried, tested and true technology. Aluminosilicate glass is “chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic,” ok so I guess that means we can drop it a bunch? Sweet.
Stainless Steel Band
If you thought just plain old regular stainless steel was good, leave it to Apple to kick it up a notch. The band wrapping the iPhone 4 is made of their “own alloy”. How many smartphone makers out there can claim their own alloy is used on their devices? Apple knows how to market, and every aspect of this iPhone 4 seems to be “tweaked” to knock one at the big G. This customized alloy is five times stronger than standard steel and doubles as the antenna! We’ll see how much of an improvement that gives on reception. Volume buttons are also on the side band and have been separated.
Size and Weight
Only 9.3 millimeters thick, or thin, depending on how you see that glass. In American, it’s 0.36 inches. Supposedly the thinnest smartphone yet 25% thinner than the iPhone 3GS. That’s quite an improvement even though it does have that brickish, rectangular edged look.
Height: 4.5 inches (115.2 mm)
Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Depth: 0.37 inch (9.3 mm)
Weight: 4.8 ounces (137 grams)
What is powering the big Apple iPad is powering the new iPhone 4. The Apple A4 chip is a Cortex-A8 processor unit capable of utilizing iOS4’s multitasking features, giving you the ability to run more apps, processes and record, edit, play high-definition video. Dual low-power 128MB DDR SDram chips are the memory, followed by either 16GB or 32GB of storage space depending on your model.
Dual microphone son top add for noise-canceling, giving your calls clearer sounding voice. Canceling out background sounds like music and other peoples conversations.
Apple said the iPhone 4 consumes less batter life than the 3GS due to the A4’s ability to switch on and off sub-components as they are needed, or no longer needed. The battery is also 16% bigger and combined with the A4’s new abilities will give you an estimated 40% increase in talk time.
Apples ratings: 10 hours of video, 7 hours of 3G talk time, and 6 hours of 3G browsing.
Apple has coined their own name for the iPhone 4 display, and it’s called the Retina Display (RD). Something out of a sci-fi flick, it sounds like this puppy can scan your eyeball, but in fact the RD is just so damn sharp the human eye can’t even see how good it is. So what’s the point? Well, I’m assuming we will be witnessing the smoothest, fluid and most crisp display on any mobile device with the i4. How else can they put one past the big G? The RD is a 3.5-inch multi-touch with a resolution of 960×640, backlit LCD, a pixel density of 326 ppi; “the highest resolution phone screen ever.” When Steve jobs wants to kick someones ass he doesn’t send his foot up there a couple inches, he sends it by miles.
This display theoretically should make the Nexus, Droid, and anything else we thought was the bomb, even Samsung’s AMOLED look like Gameboy. The contast ratio is 800:1, similar to the iPad, compared to the 3GS’ 200:1, that’s leaps and bounds in visual angle enhancement. Tired of fingerprints? They’ve gone and treated the glass with a fingerprint-resistant “oleophobic coating” on both the front and back, so half the day isn’t spent polishing as it’s intended to be much easier to clean.
Video output is capable at 1024×766 with a VGA dock connector. That will be roughly 576p and 480p with an Apple Component AV Cable, or 576i and 480i using the composite one.
On the front you have a simple VGA camera designed to be used for video-conferencing with Apple’s new FaceTime app. This app allows two-way video chatting only over Wi-Fi to other iPhone 4 devices. I’m sure once AT&T can get their bandwidth up it should be opened up on their 3G network.
On the rear Apple has laid down the camera of all cameras for a mobile phone. A 5 megapixel sensor gives you high-resolution still snaps, and HD video at 720p and 30fps. One thing to note is that although the megapixels aren’t high, they have upgraded the glass. Ask any Nikon or Canon shooters how much big glass makes a difference, and you will understand Apple’s reasoning for going with bigger glass. Rather than 8 or 10 megapixels, you get 5, but a faster lens will perform way better in lower light conditions; this will result in way less blurred phone shots being sent around the web. Smart move in my eyes.
Photo and video geotagging, letting you lock in the coordinates to your pictures has also been added.
The iPhone 4 has a gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass, giving you 6-axis of motion sensing technology. You will see many more apps coming out with high-precision features, able to track movement, pitch, roll and yaw; possibly some aviation tools coming. However lower flyers only, maximum operating altitude is still 10,000 feet (3000 m).
iPhone OS 4 (iOS4)
We knew it was coming, multitasking. The biggest slap to the face of Apple was their lack of said feature, now no longer playing catch-up, we can move on to other topics. The Retina Display plays a big role in iOS4, since this resolution is going to be much sharper, you would think that all apps would have to be remade to fit the new 960×640 resolution. Fret not, iOS4 will resample everything, and I mean everything. 2D, 3D, vector, type, all of it stays crisp thanks to resolution independence. Buttons and screen controls will have to be remade by developers though.
iBooks ships with the iPhone 4, taking another stab at the Kindle and others who compete in the eBook world. Apple’s new display is supposedly much better in terms of readability for books, but there’s still that whole backlight controversy about e-Ink being much easier on the eyes.
iMovie for iPhone will be the game changer. Not many people care to upload and edit their videos once they are taken on their device. This app will let you cut your video clips, add Ken Burns effects, music soundtracks from iTunes and export them to either 360p, 520p or 720p.
Pricing and Availability
Available June 24, and for pre-order on June 14, the Apple iPhone comes in White or Black, in 16GB or 32GB variations for the price of $199 and $299 respectively.
If you can’t wait to ditch your 3GS but are still locked in a plan, the upgrade will cost you $399 and $499, or $499 and $599 without a contract. Steep, but that’s the price you gotta pay for what seems to be best of the best right now.