Meet the iPhone 4

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The iPhone 4, as it is now officially called, is going to bring a wave of innovation to the smartphone industry just like the original iPhone did back in 2007. There’s a tremendous amount of new stuff to talk about with the iPhone 4, so let’s break it down.

The Retina Display

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Probably the most impressive aspect of the iPhone 4 is its display, which has an astonishing 960×640 resolution. Comparatively, the phones with the highest resolution displays out there right now (like the Google Nexus One, EVO 4G, and HTC HD2), have screens with 800×480 resolution. Remarkably, Apple was able to implement this resolution increase without requiring developers to re-write their applications. As you can see in the side-by-side above from gdgt (Retina on right), the difference in clarity is overwhelming.

FaceTime

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Video chat is not new, but really well implemented video chat is new. You can get video chat over Qik on the EVO 4G (which in our tests, is just mediocre), or you can travel to Europe and do video calls with certain smartphones. Finally, in the US, we’ll have video calling. The iPhone 4 allows for iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 video calls over WiFi using the front camera. Apple says that they’re working with the carriers to allow for video calling on cellular at some point in the future. The beauty of the video chat is that it’s not a separate application…it works right over an existing call. Also, you can swap between front and rear cameras.

Design

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The leak from Gizmodo was the real deal. The new iPhone has a piece of glass on the front AND on the back, which should help to keep the phone looking like new, thanks to the scratch-resistance that glass affords. The edges of the phone are stainless steel, which Apple has engineered to provide better reception to the wireless radios inside. Also, Apple claims that the iPhone 4 is the thinnest smartphone available at 9.3mm. We agree. The Samsung Galaxy S comes close at around 9.7mm.

Rear camera

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The rear camera of the iPhone 4 support stills at 4MP and video at 30fps 720p, which will hopefully look better than what we found on the EVO 4G. Also, the camera has a backside illuminated sensor which helps with adjusting white balance and brightness to get photos to come out just right. The iPhone 3GS already has an amazing camera, and it’s likely that the iPhone 4 will continue to amaze.

Other stuff inside

Inside the iPhone 4 has a larger battery that apparently provides 40% more battery life than the iPhone 3GS. Given the paltry battery live of the 3GS, we’re hoping that this claim is true.

Also inside Apple has included the same A4 chip that can be found in the iPad. We’re thinking that it’s underclocked a bit as to not kill the battery, but you can expect that performance on the iPhone 4 will be fantastic.

Apple has added a three-axis gyroscope to compliment the accelerometer. This should allow for a new class of games and apps that will know where you are in three dimensional space.

And to save space, Apple is going with micro-SIM.

Software

iPhone 4 runs the fourth version of the iPhone software, now called iOS 4. On June 21, iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod Touch owners will be able to download iOS 4 for free.

Apple also announced the availability of iBooks (free, which will syncronize all of your bookmarks, pages, and highlights across all iOS devices), and iMovie ($5, which will allow you to edit video on your device.)

Pricing and availability

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The iPhone 4 is staying AT&T-only here in the US. Preorders start on 14 June, and the devices ship on 24 June. The 16GB model will cost $199, and the 32GB model will cost $299. The iPhone 3G is dead, and the iPhone 3GS will sell for $99. They will be available in both black and white.

For more on the iPhone 4, Apple has its official webpage up with plenty of video, photos, and specs.

What are YOUR thoughts on the iPhone 4?

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.