Apple Inc. officially launched its next-gen iPhone, called iPhone 4, at Steve Jobs’s World Wide Developers Conference keynote address on Monday. The device will ship July 24, and run iOS (formerly iPhone OS) 4.0. A prototype of the fourth-generation iPhone was obtained by gadget blog Gizmodo in April after being lost by an Apple employee in a bar.
Apple highlighted nine new features of the device. The first is the new design: the phone is much thinner than its predecessor, flatter, and sleeker; it also includes a front-facing camera, LED flash on the back, and a second mic for noise cancellation. The second feature is the HD screen. Called a “retina display,” it contains four times the pixels of the 3GS, for a resolution of 960×640 (326 ppi). It also includes IPS technology for a wider viewing angle, first used by Apple in the iPad and latest iMac.
iPhone 4 also employs the iPad’s A4 chip, presumably at the same 1GHz speed. The battery is larger and provides more talk time. Yet another sensor was included: a gyroscope! The camera has had a complete overhaul, with 5 megapixel resolution and a reworked design that allows more pixels to be taken in. The flash should also help in low-light conditions. iPhone 4’s camera can also record 720p HD video, and to edit it, Apple preview their new app, iMovie for iPhone. (iMovie will be available in the app store for $5).
Apple has already talked about iOS 4’s features, including multitasking, home screen folders, enterprise features, much-improved mail, and support for Bluetooth keyboards. The OS will work not only on iPhone 4, but also on the iPhone 3GS, 3G, and third-gen (32GB and 64GB models sold after September 2009) and second-gen iPod touch, although the 3G and older touch will not support multitasking. (During April’s event, Apple still referred to the operating system as iPhone OS 4; my theory is that when the iPhone was leaked, Apple decided to change from the widely-rumored name iPhone HD, and didn’t want the phone’s name confused with the OS’s. Additionally, with Apple’s increasing focus on the iPad, iPhone OS is starting to make less sense.)
iBooks will be available to all iOS 4 users from the App Store. Jobs announced an update to iBooks both for iPhone and iPad, which will include new bookmarking and note-taking features, as well as the ability to view PDFs. Apple had also already previewed iAd, a new advertising program for iPhone apps, which seeks to blend emotion from video ads with the interactivity of web ads. A long list of major brands has already signed up to buy ads on the network.
Today’s “one more thing” was the ability to make video calls on iPhone 4, using the front-facing camera. Currently, however, this only works on Wi-Fi networks. Apple hopes to make the feature, called FaceTime, a new open standard.