Apple Brings FaceTime Video Chat, 720p Recording, High-Res IPS Panel To iPhone 4

Well, it's June 7, and that means WWDC has started in California. And that also means that the rumors were true: a new iPhone has entered the world. Steve Jobs got on stage today to kick the event off in style, and while he took a few minutes to talk market share numbers (obviously looking at areas where the iPhone OS has sold more than Android), the real news arrived shortly. The next generation iPhone is real, and the images that were leaked weeks back were also spot-on. The name, however, is curious: It's the iPhone 4. Just iPhone 4. Not 4G, not HD, just 4. That's pretty plain, we must confess, but we guess it will suffice.

The new iPhone 4 is said to be the slimmest smartphone on the planet, and the design improvements are rather notable. The metal casing around the edges are actually the antennas, and while the 3.5" display is the same size as before, the screen has changed in a big way. It's using an IPS panel (same as the iPad, which looks amazing), and and the resolution has been increased 4x to 960x480, and there is also a 4x pixel count increase. Other screen specs include an 800:1 contrast ratio, and there's also a new Retina Display technology that makes fonts much easier to see and everything far less pixelated.

Power users will appreciate that the new phone has the same 1GHz A4 processor as is in the iPad, so the unit should have no issue chewing through multi-tasking which is enabled in iPhone OS 4. Oh, wait a second--did we say iPhone OS 4? We meant iOS 4. For some reason, Steve Jobs has decided to kill the iPhone OS branded and stick with iOS, which is probably a sign that more iDevices are coming in the future that aren't phone related. The iPod touch and iPad already use this OS, and neither of those can make phone calls. So the re-branding makes sense, but we can't help but think that this may be a foreshadowing of a new pathway for Apple. Less desktop, more "app store." Time will tell, obviously. Nothing about the software will chance, but the name indicates that the iPhone was just the beginning to a powerful new operating system that could penetrate multiple Apple devices to come.

So, is that all? Not quite. The iPhone 4 also has a more powerful battery, offering 300 hours of standby or 7 hours of 3G talking. There's also 802.11n Wi-Fi, a new gyroscope (which should make the device a lot like the Wiimote when it comes to accurate motion-based gaming). In order to better handle the new 720p HD movie mode, Apple's also introducing iMovie for iPhone, which will be a $4.99 download that allows in-phone editing. This will allow users to add photos to a movie, add transitions, edit the timeline, and even export/share/upload right from the iPhone 4.

The other main feature here is one that users have been asking for: video calling. Apple's calling it FaceTime, and while it's basically iChat for your iPhone, the real kicker is that it's Wi-Fi only for 2010. This means that you cannot use 3G for video calling, which nearly defeats the purpose. If you have a true webcam setup at home, why would you use the iPhone 4? Alas, it's a nice feature, but it'll only be truly useful with 3G support. And considering that AT&T is having issues keeping up with data demand as-is, we sort of doubt that we'll see it implemented anytime soon.

One unique piece of today's announcement is the integration with Bing. Apple has seen fit to integrate Microsoft's search engine into Mobile Safari, and while Google remains the default with Yahoo! as an option, adding Microsoft's search engine as an option is a big move. While Google has moved in to really become Apple's most hated rival in the mobile space, Microsoft and Apple have always been seen as bitter enemies. Whether this is just a nice gesture or a way to show Google that Apple isn't locked down to them...well, only Jobs knows.

As is usual for iPhone introductions, the new iPhone 4 will start at $199 for the base 16GB model, available in black or white. The 32GB model will add $100 to the base price, and the iPhone 3G will be discontinued entirely. The iPhone 3GS will hang around for $99 (8GB). It's also important to note than any AT&T contract expiring at any point in 2010 is now eligible for subsidized iPhone 4 pricing, so that could help those who have contracts that don't run out until later in 2010. The phone goes on pre-sale next week (June 15), with initial shipments in the US starting on June 24. So, what's as important here is what Apple didn't say. The 800lb. gorilla remains alive, with a Verizon iPhone still nowhere in sight. We suspect Apple may be waiting for Verizon's LTE network to launch before partnering, but who knows. For now, it's AT&T or no one here in the States, and that's getting mighty old to hear.

Apple Presents iPhone 4
All-New Design with FaceTime Video Calling, Retina Display, 5 Megapixel Camera & HD Video Recording

Thinnest Smartphone Ever

SAN FRANCISCO—June 7, 2010—Apple® today presented the new iPhone® 4 featuring FaceTime, which makes the dream of video calling a reality, and Apple’s stunning new Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone, resulting in super crisp text, images and video. In addition, iPhone 4 features a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, HD video recording, Apple’s A4 processor, a 3-axis gyro and up to 40 percent longer talk time—in a beautiful all-new design of glass and stainless steel that is the thinnest smartphone in the world. iPhone 4 comes with iOS 4, the newest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 100 new features and 1500 new APIs for developers. iOS 4 features Multitasking, Folders, enhanced Mail, deeper Enterprise support and Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform. iPhone 4 will be available in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan on June 24, starting in the US at just $199 for qualified buyers with a two year contract.*

“iPhone 4 is the biggest leap since the original iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “FaceTime video calling sets a new standard for mobile communication, and our new Retina display is the highest resolution display ever in a phone, with text looking like it does on a fine printed page. We have been dreaming about both of these breakthroughs for decades.”

FaceTime is as mobile as your phone, so you can see your loved ones and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Using FaceTime is as easy as making a regular voice call, with no set-up required, and you can instantly switch to the rear camera to show others what you are seeing with just a tap.

Apple’s stunning 3.5 inch Retina display has 960 x 640 pixels—four times as many pixels as the iPhone 3GS and 78 percent of the pixels on an iPad™. The resulting 326 pixels per inch is so dense that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels when the phone is held at a normal distance, making text, images and video look sharper, smoother and more realistic than ever before on an electronic display.

iPhone 4 is the thinnest smartphone ever—9.3 millimeters—with an all-new design and build quality like no other mobile device. The front and back are made of aluminosilcate glass, chemically strengthened to be 30 times harder than plastic, more scratch resistant and more durable than ever. The front and back glass have an oil-resistant coating that helps keep it clean, and encircling iPhone 4 is a highly finished stainless steel band made of a custom alloy that is forged to be five times stronger than standard steel.

iPhone 4 features a new 5 megapixel autofocus camera with a 5x digital zoom, a backside illuminated sensor and built-in LED flash that allows you to take amazing pictures even in low light and dark environments. iPhone 4 lets you record and edit incredible HD video and the popular tap to focus feature now works while recording video. You can use the iPhone 4‘s LED flash for both still photography and video recording. The new iMovie® app for iPhone lets you combine movie clips, add dynamic transitions and themes and include photos and music, and users can buy it for just $4.99 through the App Store right on their phone.

iPhone 4 is the best mobile device ever for games and entertainment, with access to tens of thousands of games and entertainment apps on the revolutionary App Store. Every iPhone 4 has a built-in 3-axis gyro that when combined with the accelerometer provides 6-axis motion sensing such as up and down, side to side, forward and backward and pitch and roll, making it perfect for gaming. Developers can access the gyro using the new CoreMotion API to make games and other apps that go well beyond what other mobile devices offer.

iPhone 4 comes with iOS 4, the newest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. With over 100 new features, it includes Multitasking, Folders, enhanced Mail, deeper Enterprise support and Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform. With Multitasking, users can now instantly switch between any of their apps while preserving battery life. With Folders, users can easily organize their apps into collections by simply dragging one app on top of another. A folder is automatically created and named based on the category of apps selected. Users can change the name of any folder at any time. In addition, users can now customize their lock and home screens with an array of supplied wallpapers or with any of the photos on their phone.

The new iBooks® app will be available for iPhone 4 as a free download from the App Store and includes Apple’s new iBookstore, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile product. The iBooks app will sync your current place in a book, along with any bookmarks, highlights and notes you have created, between copies of the same book on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch®. iBooks users can also now read and store PDFs right in iBooks. There are now over 60,000 books available in the iBookstore, and users have downloaded over five million books in the first two months.

More than five billion apps have been downloaded from the revolutionary App Store and more than 225,000 apps are available to consumers in 90 countries. Almost 100 million iPhone and iPod touch users around the world can choose from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

iPhone 4 delivers an amazing seven hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and up to six hours on 3G, and up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback.** iPhone 4 is powered by Apple’s new A4 processor that provides exceptional processor and graphic performance along with long battery life. iPhone 4 features a second microphone and advanced software to suppress unwanted background noise for improved call quality when in loud places. iPhone 4 also offers 802.11n Wi-Fi networking and adds quad-band HSUPA to provide 7.2Mbps downlink and 5.8Mbps uplink capability.***

Pricing & Availability
iPhone 4 comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model in both Apple and AT&T’s retail and online stores, Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores. iPhone 4 will be available in the US, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on June 24 and customers can pre-order their iPhone 4 beginning Tuesday, June 15 from the Apple Online Store or reserve an iPhone 4 to pick up at an Apple Retail Store. iMovie for iPhone will be available on the App Store for just $4.99 (US).

Also on June 24, a new iPhone 3GS 8GB model will be available for just $99 (US). iOS 4 software will be available on June 21 as a free software update via iTunes® 9.2 or later for iPhone and iPod touch customers.****

iPhone 4 will roll out worldwide to 88 countries by the end of September. iPhone 4 will be available by the end of July in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

*Qualified customers only. Requires a new two year AT&T rate plan, sold separately.

**Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

***Speed is dependent on cellular network capability.

****iOS 4 is compatible with iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second and third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB). Some features may not be available on all products. For example, Multitasking requires iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB).

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.