ABCs of Apple iPhone 4 and iOS 4: 25 Details and Features


If you’ve been off the planet for the past month or so, you can be forgiven for not knowing there’s a new iPhone, and much of its feature set was confirmed today by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his keynote address for WWDC in San Francisco. This 4th-generation iPhone is packed with new features — some of them catching up to competing phones, some surpassing competitors. Here’s a  quick list of what’s new, hopefully ending much of the speculation that’s been going on.

  1. Availability: The release plan seems a little different than for the iPad, with five countries given first crack: US, UK, France, Germany and Japan being allowed online pre-orders on Jun 15th, and availability on Jun 24th online, at Apple and AT&T retail stores, and Best Buy and Wal-Mart. The rest of the release plan calls for 24 more countries in August, after the first five, then the remaining countries for a total of 88. According to the press release, the phone will be available in numerous countries by the end of July, including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  2. Battery: Larger battery, 40% more talk time. Specifically, 7 hours talk time on 3G; 10 hrs Web browsing on WiFi and 6 on 3G; 10 hrs of video playback; 40 hours of audio playback. Standby mode: 300 hours (nearly two weeks).
  3. Bing search. While Google is still the default search engine for mobile Safari, the new iOS allows for you to switch over to Bing if you want.
  4. Cameras: 5MP camera with 5x digital zoom and LED flash for low light conditions. Front-facing and rear-facing cameras.
  5. Color: Black and white models.
  6. Developer support: Over 1500 new APIs for developers to access 100 new features.
  7. Display. The predictions were right: the iPhone 4 has 4x the pixels, for a whopping 960×640 screen resolution, at 326 ppi (pixels per inch). The new “Retina” display gives it a much higher contrast than 3GS — apparently 800:1 contrast ratio, giving it an almost paper-like quality for display text. (Print magazines often have a resolution of 300 or 600 dpi — dots per inch.) The 3.5 inch screen has a resolution that is almost 80% the size of the iPad.
  8. Email, enhanced: Unified email inbox. Attachment support.
  9. Form factor: It has a more squared-off form factor than before — but you probably knew that from all the photos of “leaked” prototypes. It’s supposedly 24% thinner than before and claims to be the thinnest (9.3 mm) smartphone on the planet. Overall, it’s 4.5 inches tall, 2.31 inches, and just under 5 ounces. Unfortunately, the new form factor means the iPhone 4 has to have a new dock. The iPhone 4’s alloyed metal rim is not only strong (5x stronger than steel), it acts as the the phone’s antennae (plural), to improve reception.
  10. Gyroscope. The iPhone 4 has a 3-axis gyroscope that can more accurately detect phone motion in 6 axes — a plus for video gaming.
  11. iAd ad network. Apple says that they have advertising commitments through their new iAd ad network for $60M in 2010 alone. Steve Jobs claimed this morning that iAds will steal 48% of the mobile advertising market.
  12. iBooks. iPhone will get its own iBooks, which will allow for bookmarks and user sticky notes to be added to digital books.
  13. iOS iPhone OS. Despite some talk about the name “iOS” being owned by Cisco, iOS is what iPhone OS 4.0 is being called. It’ll be available for download on older 3G and 3GS phones on Jun 21st, and (probably) preloaded onto iPhone 4. (However, some new OS 4 features will not be available for 3G phones.) The iPad will get an upgrade this fall.
  14. Keyboard support, Bluetooth. Just as with the iPad, the iPhone 4 will allow you to add a Bluetooth keyboard.
  15. Memory: 2×128 = 256 MB RAM. 16GB and 32GB models. Looks as if they did not manage to use the new 64GB flash drives made recently available — meaning predictions of storage capacities of 64GB and 128GB were unfortunately incorrect.
  16. MicroSIM. Uses the new microSIM.
  17. Microphones: Two, for noise-cancelling.
  18. Netflix: Netflix is coming to the iPhone App Store free of charge, and it’ll allow starting a movie on the iPad and finishing viewing on the iPhone, or vice versa.
  19. Networks: 802.11n WiFi, with added quad-band HSUPA.
  20. Pricing: The phones are $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB. Wonder what they’re saving the $399 price slot for. The new 8GB 3GS model will be available on Jun 24 for $99.
  21. Processor: A4 processor, just like the iPad.
  22. UI features, enhanced. Multitasking, Folders, enhanced Mail, “deeper” enterprise support.
  23. Upgrades: If your AT&T contract is up any time in 2010, you are apparently eligible to upgrade to a 4th-gen iPhone immediately (as in Jun 24th or whatever date depending where you live). You have to extend your contract for two more years. If you’re merely eligible for a phone upgrade, you probably don’t qualify. However, I called AT&T and the very helpful CSR concluded that while my non-iPhone line’s contract, and that of my wife’s, ends Mar 2011, our LG Vu phones qualify for upgrades in Aug and Nov of 2010. We are eligible for a partial discount immediately. Meaning, we might have to pay $200 extra per phone over the new prices to change the LG Vu phones into iPhone 4, as well as get new iPhone data plans. However, according to what Engadget says that AT&T told them, if you already have an iPhone and want to upgrade it, you are eligibility immediately if your contract allows an upgrade any time in 2010. So please check your online account or talk to an AT&T CSR for verification. You can also dial *639# from your AT&T phone, but the resulting text message is not all that detailed. Ultimately, you might just have to walk into your nearby AT&T store and on Jun 24th and find out for sure.
  24. Video chatting: It’s called FaceTime, and it allows two 4th-gen iPhones to video chat, but only over WiFi for now, with 3G support coming in the future. Given AT&T’s cellular data pricing plan changes, maybe that’s a good thing. Either camera can be used for FaceTime chats, in both portrait and landscape modes.
  25. Video editing. Not only will the phone have HD video recording (720p@30fps), you’ll be able to edit video with a built in app, or with the upcoming iMovie for iPhone ($4.99).

So there you have it. There are all sorts of other features and details that are not listed here, but these are amongst the most important. The FaceTime commercial by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Jarhead) is below.