When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4, he called it "the biggest leap since the original iPhone." So what, exactly, is new in the new iPhone? Here are all the details about Apple's latest device.
Price and Availability
The iPhone 4 will be available from AT&T and Apple on June 24, with pre-orders beginning on June 15. New AT&T customers and current customers who are eligible for an upgrade will pay $199 for the 16GB iPhone 4 and $299 for the 32GB iPhone 4.
One of the most obvious differences between the iPhone 4 and past models is the new look of the phone. For one, it's noticeably thinner: the iPhone 4 measures just 9.3 millimeters thick -- 24 percent thinner than the already-svelte iPhone 3GS. Apple says it is "the thinnest smartphone on the planet."
The iPhone 4 also is more squared-off in shape, with a thicker metallic border running around the phone's edges. The new phone doesn't feature the plastic backing found on the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 3G. Instead, the front and the back of the iPhone 4 are covered in aluminosilicate glass, which Apple says is found on helicopter and high-speed train windshields. It's designed to be significantly stiffer (20 times) and harder (30 times) than plastic, with a fingerprint-resistant finish.
One of the iPhone 4's most-hyped features is its new display, which features an astounding resolution of 960 by 640. It measures the same size as the screen on the iPhone 3GS (3.5-inches diagonally), but packs in four times as many pixels. Apple calls it a "Retina display," and says it offers more pixels than the human eye can see. Experts have already begun debating that claim, but the iPhone 4's screen should still look remarkably crisp and clear.
The iPhone 4 will run version 4, the latest version, of Apple's iPhone OS, which has been renamed: it's now just iOS. iOS version 4 adds several new features, including a long-desired multitasking capability, which will allow you to run more than one third-party app at a time. Other new features in the new OS include folders for organizing all of your apps, a new Mail client, and a Game Center.
For more information on the new features in iOS 4, see iPhone OS 4 Gets Multitasking and More.
Browsing the Web
Despite the "4" in its name, the iPhone 4 does not support 4G wireless networks. Still, you do have plenty of options for speedy Web browsing. For one, the iPhone 4 now supports 802.11n wireless networks, which are faster than 802.11b or g networks. And you still get support for AT&T's high-speed 3G network.
Note, though, that AT&T has changed its smartphone data plans, and is no longer offering an unlimited data plans. That means that new iPhone users will have to choose between two plans: the $15-per-month DataPlus plan, which offers 200MB of data access each month, and the $25-per-month DataPro plan, which offers 2GB of data access each month.
For more information on these plans, see AT&T's New Data Plans: All the Details.
The iPhone's new iOS 4 also adds tethering capabilities, which will allow you to use your iPhone as a modem to connect other devices to the Internet. Tethering requires the purchase of an additiona $20-per-month tethering plan, though.
The iPhone 4 features not one but two cameras: a forward-facing camera for video chat and a rear-facing camera for capturing photos and videos.
The rear camera is a 5-megapixel shooter, which should be a big step up from the 3.2-megapixel camera found on the iPhone 3GS. It adds an LED flash and a 5x digital zoom.
In addition to snapping photos, the camera can record HD video clips at a resolution of up to 720p. Apple also will release an iPhone-compatible version of its iMovie video editing app to coincide with the release of the new iPhone. The $4.99 app will allow you to edit videos right on your iPhone.
iPhone users have long wished for video chat capabilities, and with the iPhone 4, they get their wish. The phone's front-facing camera will allow for use of a feature called FaceTime, which allows users to make video calls. While the capability sounds impressive, it does come with some serious limitations: it works from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only, and video calls can only be conducted over Wi-Fi networks.
The iPhone 4 will feature Apple's own A4 processor and a bigger battery; Apple says the chip has power-saving features that, combined with the bigger battery, will deliver 40 percent more talk time.
The new iPhone also features a gyroscope, which, in combination with the phone's accelerometer, will deliver more specific motion detection.
On paper, the Apple iPhone 4 looks to be one of the most impressive smartphones available today. Stay tuned for a full review to see if the performance lives up to the hype.