As expected, Apple on Monday unveiled the iPhone 4, the latest version of its popular smartphone, which will include a video calling feature known as FaceTime, a gyroscope, a video editing app, retina display, iBooks, and more.
The phone – which will be available in white and black – will go on sale June 24 in the U.S., France, Germany, U.K., and Japan. More countries will be added throughout the summer, for a total of 88 by the end of September.
Pre-orders will start on June 15. The 16 G-byte iPhone 4 will retail for $199 and the 32GB version will sell for $299, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said during a keynote appearance at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Those are the same prices as the current models. Jobs did not say anything about the 8-Gbyte iPhone 3G, currently priced at $99.
Without a contract, the new iPhone will cost $599 for the 16-Gbyte model and $699 for the 32-Gbyte version, according to AT&T.
For current iPhone users, Jobs said that AT&T has agreed to allow customers whose contracts expire in 2010 to become immediately eligible for a new iPhone 4 at the $199 and $299 price points. Customers will be eligible for the new smartphone up to six months early.
The iPhone 4 will include more than 100 new features, Jobs said. He highlighted nine of those features Monday, including the presence of glass on the front and rear of the phone.
It also has a stainless steel band running around its edge, which is part of the antenna system. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, UMTS, GSM, and integrated antennas are in the structure of the phone, something Jobs said has never been done before.
The iPhone 4 is 9.3-mm thick, which is 24 percent thinner than its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS. It has a 960-by-640 pixel display, which is four times more pixels than the 3GS.
Display quality is a major focus on the iPhone 4 via a technology known as retina display, Jobs said. The boost in quality means that Apple can fit four times as many pixels in the same amount of space.
When a device is held about 10 to 12 inches from the eye, the human retina cannot differentiate pixels beyond about 300 ppi, Jobs said. At that point, things start to look like continuous curves, and text looks like it might on a fine-printed book, he said.
Jobs said the iPhone 4 is "comfortably over that limit," producing "extraordinary" results. Apple is using IPS technology – or advanced LCD – which Jobs said is much better than OLED because it has more accurate color and better resolution.
The new device also includes a camera with LED flash on the back and a front-facing camera, which can be used for one of the highlights of Jobs' speech – FaceTime.
FaceTime will allow for video calling over Wi-Fi between two iPhone 4 devices. Jobs demonstrated the technology at WWDC, which mobile analyst Sascha Segan said was smooth, though a bit delayed.
FaceTime can be accessed using the front or back camera, and is viewable in portrait or landscape mode. There is no buddy list required, Jobs said – just make a phone call. The feature will be Wi-Fi only in 2010, he said, because Apple needs to work out a few details with cellular providers; he did not elaborate.
Apple will also take the product to standards bodies starting tomorrow so that FaceTime can become an open industry standard, Jobs said.
Also available via the new camera system is an editing app known as iMovie for iPhone. It will be available for $4.99 from the App Store and will let users edit clips, record directly into a timeline, and choose from clips and photos on the iPhone 4. Full-scale videos can be produced entirely on the iPhone 4, Jobs said.
The iPhone 4 will record in high-definition video – full 720p at 30 frames per second. Videos can be exported to 360p, 540p, or 720p. It will also support one-click sharing.
The camera itself will have 5X zoom, tap to focus, and LED flash. That LED flash will illuminate scenes for video recording.
Apple has also included a gyroscope on the iPhone 4, which is tied to the accelerometer to provide six-axis motion sensing to tilt and rotate when you turn your body. It joins three other sensors included in the iPhone - compass, proximity, and ambient light.
Under the hood, the iPhone 4 will be powered by Apple's own A4 chip. The company opted for the MicroSIM because it's smaller. With all the new features, "we need the space," Jobs said.
As a result, the phone's battery is bigger – welcome news for iPhone users who have complained about dwindling power supply. With the iPhone 4, Jobs promised up to 40 percent more talk time on 3G, six hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby.
Jobs also announced that the iBooks e-reader features, first announced for the iPad, will now be available on the iPhone. Content will be synced with other devices.
Jobs also announced that iBooks on the iPad and iPhone will now support PDFs, which will show up on the app's virtual bookshelf. Users can also now make notes, which will show up on e-books. A control in the upper right-hand corner will let users bookmark pages with a small red marker. Tap that to see all bookmarks, notes, or highlights.
Jobs went over the software updates to the iPhone OS at an April event, but he announced Monday that iPhone OS 4 will now be known as iOS 4 – a trademark owned by Cisco, but that Cisco licensed to Apple for its use.
Jobs did not announce any major updates to iOS 4, though he did say that Apple will add Microsoft's Bing as a third search option behind Google and Yahoo. Google will remain the default search engine, but "now you'll have another choice," Jobs said.
Jobs also talked up the company's iAd mobile ad network. Companies that have signed on so far include Citi, AT&T, Chanel, General Electric, Liberty Mutual, and Nissan.
Nissan will use iAds to advertise its new electric car, and users will have the chance to actually win one of those vehicles starting next month.
Meanwhile, Apple announced that three new apps will be coming to its App Store: a Netflix for iPhone app will be available this summer for free; a FarmVille app from Zynga will debut in July; and a $2.99 Guitar Hero app from Activision was added to the store on Monday.
-via PC Magazine