Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 earlier today, during a keynote speech presented by the man himself, Steve Jobs. As usual, the keynote was a work of art in and of itself, exquisitely displaying the beautifully designed new hardware for the world to see. The iPhone was not the only exciting reveal, for iOS 4 (the OS formerly known as iPhone OS) was unleashed as well – both products unveiled in tandem, available in sync, with each relying on the other to propel their exhilarating new features in to the mainstream and in to the hands of mouth watering consumers. Will you be one of the select few to wield an iPhone 4 come June 24?
The new specs on the iPhone 4 are pretty sweet, as the device heralds the same speedy architecture powering another recent Apple addition – the iPad. Although the iPhone is powered by the designed in-house A4 chip, Apple leaves that out of their standard literature. Their goal is for consumers to stop being concerned with the inner-workings of these computing devices, and to assume they are fast by nature of the company producing the products.
Put another way, because Apple has designed and is selling these devices, consumers should understand the products to be high quality, high speed computers, allowing users to perform the work they need without fear of being slowed down by processor speed bumps.
Through the use of the A4 chip Apple has managed to squeeze additional processing power and better battery life out of the new iPhone. Improved performance is what consumers look for when purchasing new computing devices, especially portable devices requiring recharging, so this is a no brainer.
The iPhone 3GS is already a fairly quick product, but its speed pales in comparison to an iPad. The latter just feels faster, with its instantaneous browsing capabilities – undoubtedly a goal Apple has for the iPhone 4.
According to Apple, the iPhone 4 offers the following features:
- 6 hours of browsing via 3G
- 10 hours of browsing via Wi-Fi
- 10 hours of video viewing
- 40 hours of music listening
- 300 hours standby
- 40% Improved talk time
All of the aforementioned are better than the current iPhone 3GS but nothing extraordinary. These updates are merely incremental. If you were hoping for kick ass battery life then you are not going to be happy with the new device. The iPhone 4 is still just as power hungry as its younger brother 3GS, offering only slightly improved battery consumption per the specs. Actual field testing once the unit is available for purchase will be interesting.
The updated video recording and editing capabilities of the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 appear to be the most exciting additions. Not content with mere video recording and simple editing, Apple upgraded the device to be capable of shooting 720p video – high definition video normally only seen in dedicated video cameras like the Flip SlideHD.
Cisco has to be fairly concerned about these updated iPhone capabilities because it almost renders their entire Flip line of camera obsolete.
What should be obvious to most people is that recording video in 720p, and subsequently editing such video, has got to be taxing on the processor. This normally translates to substantial battery life being eaten to complete these tasks. If the iPhone 4 is capable of pulling off both without major hits to the battery life then that will be an immense achievement. I remain skeptical and expect the unit to drain the battery considerably.
John Gruber has some very interesting observations about the iPhone 4′s screen:
It’s mentioned briefly in Apple’s promotional video about the design of the iPhone 4, but they’re using a new production process that effectively fuses the LCD and touchscreen — there is no longer any air between the two. One result of this is that the iPhone 4 should be impervious to this dust-under-the-glass issue. More importantly, though, is that it looks better. The effect is that the pixels appear to be painted on the surface of the phone; instead of looking at pixels under glass, it like looking at pixels on glass. Combined with the incredibly high pixel density, the overall effect is like “live print”.
The effect described is not something you can really visualize in your head – it has to be viewed firsthand. I am looking forward to playing with an iPhone 4 solely to see how the new glass looks, and to see if it truly does appear to be pixels on the glass.
Ultimately, the iPhone 4 is one sexy beast. The new industrial design is quite sexy and the new features of the device are worthy updates. If you were solely looking for increased battery life then forget it – the iPhone 4 is not much better off than the iPhone 3GS. If you want advanced video shooting and editing capabilities in addition to a more powerful processor then the iPhone 4 is a winner.
As for me – come June 24 I will be in a Softbank shop snatching up a black 32GB iPhone 4. My old 3G has no qualms about showing its age, and is in a dire need of being replaced. It has faithfully served me for the past two years, but its time to finally move in to the big leagues for yours truly.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the iPad. The unveiling of both the front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 and the Facetime feature in iOS 4 made me pause. As I tweeted earlier today, if iPhone 4, or more apropos iOS 4, offers Facetime and it is usable only via Wi-Fi, then why is the iPad devoid of a front facing camera?
Will Apple be releasing updated iPad hardware sooner rather than later, this time following the same design conventions offered in the iPhone 4? Translated – will there be an iPad with a front-facing camera, to be used with Facetime, offered in the near future, such as prior to the Christmas buying season?
If you were on the fence about the iPad then surely waiting is the smart option at this juncture.