Sure, you already peeped the next version of the iPhone months ago, thanks to that hapless Apple engineer’s fateful beer-haus outing.
But Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs filled in many blanks about the gadget on Monday during a nearly two-hour on-stage unveiling of the iPhone 4 in San Francisco at the Apple developers’ conference.
Herewith, the key features of Apple’s latest smartphone, as well as some of the other noteworthy nuggets that Jobs ticked off at a rapid-fire pace during his presentation.
THE PHONE: The front and back of the device are made of chemically-strengthened glass, while the rest of the device’s body is made of stainless steel, which does double-duty as the phone’s antennas. At 9.3 mm thick, Apple says the new iPhone is 24 percent thinner than the existing iPhone 3GS, though it was tough to tell any real difference in size when holding it.
Apple loaded the iPhone 4 with its own silicon, the A4 chip, replacing the Samsung application processor that was under the hood of previous iPhones. Apple also said the iPhone 4 has a larger battery, which the company says will extend talk time to seven hours, up 40 percent from the previous model. A 3-axis Gyroscope now complements the existing accelerometer, providing additional motion-sensing capabilities to enhance video games and other applications.
The screen’s 960-by-640 resolution is also sharper than previous models – and Apple says the screen packs four times as many pixels in the same amount of space. The phone runs the new iOS 4 operating system, which offers support for multitasking and the ability to create folders, among other things.
VIDEO CALLS: The iPhone 4 also adds a front-mounted camera, as well as a 5-megapixel rear-mounted camera with LED flash – both of which can be used for shooting high-definition video and for video calls using Apple’s new FaceTime software. Video calls can only be made with other iPhone 4 users and will work only on WiFi connections in 2010 (read: Apple may eventually offer video calling capabilities on cellular networks, but doesn’t want to overload AT&T’s already-stressed wireless network).
BOOKWORMS: Apple is bringing the iBooks e-reader app and iBookstore to the iPhone, two months after they debuted on the larger iPad. According to Apple more than 60,000 titles are now available for download from the iBookstore and more than 5 million books have been downloaded by customers.
DIGITAL MARKETS: For all its hardware bona fides, Apple stressed how big of an online marketplace it has created. The company says its three online stores — iBookstore, iTunes and the App store – boast a combined 150 million customer accounts, all with pre-entered credit card information. The three stores have had more than 16 billion downloads, with more than 5 billion downloads coming from the two-year old App store.
COMMERCIAL BREAK: Apple said it will turn on its new in-app mobile advertising service on July1. Jobs said the company has already got $60 million worth of commitments for iAds that will run in the second half of the year, from advertisers including Unilever, GE, Nissan and Geico.
HOW MUCH? WHEN?: The 16GB version of the iPhone 4 will be available for $199 in the U.S., with the 32GB version selling for $299. An 8GB version of the iPhone 3GS version will now be available for $99. The iPhone 4 will be available in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and the UK on June 24, and will be available in a total of 88 counties by the end of September.