iPhone 4, all the things you should know…

The long awaited day has finally arrived, yes, earlier this week Apple presented to the world the new iPhone 4, the biggest update to smart phones, well since the iphone itself was launched only three years ago.

The keynote given by Steve jobs the other day brushed over a few other updates, and omitted others, such as Safari 5 and general updates to the Mac mini line, all in between WiFi fails while trying to demonstrate sites on the iPhone.

The new iPhone itself is now the worlds thinnest smartphone, glass finish with a nice metal rim around the edge encompassing the inbuilt antenna. Both sides of the handset are glass coated, giving it a real sheen and scratch resistance factor (something that plagued previous models to the delight of accessory manufacturers). Nice also to see is its supposed ‘smudge’ resistance, which has been a gripe for other iPhones and iPads.

While very sleek and sexy looking, the design is somewhat of a throwback, less curvy than other iPhones and reminds me of an old Sony Ericsson I used to own in the early noughties.

iphone 4
Finally here! The new iPhone 4 in any colour, as long as it’s black or white

Some tech specs to fill you in on just how much punch is packed under that smooth glass coating. The battery is somewhat improved; 300hours standby, 7 hours talk(3G), 10hours talk (2G) and 40hours music/video playback but obviously in real world use this will vary hugely. The camera has been upgraded to 5megapixels with an LED flash, and another sharp camera front facing for video calls (but we’ll get to that bit later). The hard drives are now a choice between 16 and 32GB for both black and white models, and most impressively; the iPhone 4 runs on Apple’s new A4 chip, the same processor as in the iPad which should make this new phone seriously responsive. Also included are all the usual suspects; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, light sensor, video recording and the usual headphone jacks and USB ports.

Many users and commentators have been looking for an upgraded camera for a long time now, and it’s finally been delivered, for me however, I felt that the 2megapixel wasn’t bad and I don’t completely see the need for a flash. Sharper images lead to larger file sizes which ultimately means you won’t be fitting in as many photos to your phone as before, and sending them over 3G will be somewhat of a nightmare! But it shuts the critics up for once.

The second camera is small and just next to the earpiece. The new feature with iPhone 4 is ‘FaceTime’ a video calling app allowing users to see and chat. Not overly sure of the point, the feature will work brilliantly with Skype available on the app. FaceTime is very limited, the sharper camera means that there’s no 3G video calling, over Wi-Fi only which is somewhat limiting.

facetime feature
Apple’s new FaceTime feature… but does it really serve any point, or is it just a gimmick?

Apple are proud of two things, the first being the new ‘Retina Display’ featured in every iPhone 4. This is essentially a sharper screen with 326 pixels per square inch, much higher than any other handset. While at a glance it might not be that impressive, it really does bring those 5 megapixel photos to life, and should enhance the over all user experience, it’s something very nice on a phone like this, and well worth including. Images on websites will suddenly become much, much sharper and even the app icons on your phone will become more crisp.

The other big development is the 6-axis rotation. Previously the iPhone was limited by being able to be turned on it’s side, head-to-toe and back around again and this was ok. Now, you can sway your body back and forth, side to side and around – the iPhone will pick it up, opening up a (slightly gimmicky) whole new option for game makers, giving a much more Wii feel. It should at the very least, make for some interesting looking people at bus shelters…

iPhone 4 comes with the brand new OS, or iOS4 as it’s being named. Over a hundred new features being packed into this update which will be available to all iPhones from 3G on, and will most importantly feature; multitasking (this feature is only open to 3GS and 4G models though) which is a major step up, and marks Apple’s opening up and overcoming security issues which were a concern in opening up multitasking for the iPhone, as discussed here.

The iPhone 4 is the biggest change to mobiles since the original iPhone, it’s completely overhauled the worlds most infamous handset, and will probably sell like hotcakes.

apple logo
Apple have come a long way since the Newton, through to the MacBook and now the iPhone

Some other things of note from the keynote was poor Steve Job’s Wi-Fi fail, which involved perhaps a few too many bloggers on the network meaning that the demo iPhone 4 couldn’t connect to the internet to show off it’s speed and sharpness. A change that equally didn’t escape notice was that iPhone OS 4 seems to be using Bing as it’s primary search engine, which is an interesting shift from Apple’s long time partnership with Google as the native web search.

Over all it’s a very interesting handset, the new model seems to answer most of the niggling loose ends that have been left from the previous incarnations of the worlds most popular phone. What can Apple pull out of their hat for the iPhone 5? The iPhone 4 will be available here in Ireland mid-July. So no long waits over here. OS 4 will be available on the 23rd and is available for all iPhone models from 3G onwards.

TRIVIA! The iPhone was actually developed as a sideline to the iPad, Apple were working on their tablet first and someone had the great idea of making a smaller phone style model instead, so the iPad isn’t really a huge iPhone; the iPhone is a teeny iPad 🙂

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