What’s New in iPhone 4– Available June 24
Yet another announcement from Apple–iPhone 4 will be available June 24. (And for those who followed the whole iPhone-prototype-found-in-a-bar broohaha, yes, it looks like the prototype they found.) This model is a little more squared off rather than the earlier styles where the back sloped toward the edges. Plus, you can get bright-colored skins (“bumpers”) so your iPhone can now be as stylish as your old iPod Nano.
So what’s new in iPhone 4? (And is it worth it to upgrade from iPhone 3GS?) First, it’s more powerful and faster so it can run bigger and better apps. What is more apparent from first look is what Apple is calling the “retina screen.” This touchscreen is so clear that you cannot see grain in a photo, text is easier to read, lines smooth out. It is supposed to be beautiful, clear and bright.
To take movies that play on that beautiful screen, the built in camera can shoot high definition video.
In fact, the other big news is 2 (count ‘em 2) cameras on the phone. One is facing you as you look at the screen, the other is on the backside. Apple calls it “Facetime.” The camera on the front screen side, allows you to make video calls to other iPhone 4 users via wifi. This means that the person you are video calling must be somewhere that they are connected to wifi (like a Starbucks or in their home) at the same time that you are on a wifi. In other words you can’t video call using the AT&T 3G phone connection.
The camera on the backside is an upgrade to the iPhone 3GS camera. This may be enough for some people who use their iPhone camera to want to upgrade (I’m certainly envious). It has a 5 MP camera–compared to the 2MP on the 3GS. It has a digital zoom (that may be available in the software upgrade too) so you can enlarge the object you are shooting by 5 times. And it has low light sensitivity to take photos better for night scenes and other mood photos like candlelight. And…drum roll please…it has an LED flash! Oh, to be able to take photos indoors and not have them come out grainy or blurry!
There are also 2 microphones for 2 reasons: This makes it easier to for the phone to pick up your voice during video calls. The other reason is for noise cancellation. Noise cancellation (Apple calls it “noise supression.”) will eliminate the background noise (say you are talking on a bus or in a bar or a noisy car).
The new iPhone 4 can connect to a bluetooth wireless keyboard (the kind that work with computers). This makes it easier to type long documents and emails (so I really want to carry around a keyboard…why not just carry my laptop?). Not sure if this is just the iPhone 4 or if it is a feature of the new operating system that can run on the current iPhone 3GS.
Another feature that may be part of the new software, or may be only available on the more powerful iPhone4, is iMovie. With iMovie you can gather video clips and still photos and music, and actually create a movie out of the videos you take on the iPhone. I found the current movie editing feature difficult to use because the frames of the movie are itty bitty and my fingers felt big and clumsy. I’ll be curious as to how easy iMovie will be to use, and if I would really bother.
Some of the features of the iPhone 4 are definitely a result of the new software that will also run on the current iPhone 3GS model. These features were announced during the OS4 announcement so I expect they will be available on the iPhone 3GS. Apple website states the new operating system OS4 is “coming soon.” (Usually it’s available the same day that the phone is available.) For more about the new OS4 (the new iPhone software) check out my earlier blog on the OS4 developer’s announcement.
OS4 includes a feature that lets you run more than one app at a time –Multitasking–so something could download in the background in one app while you are checking your email or playing a game. Another multitask function is that Pandora and Skype and other VOIP (calls over the internet) functions can now run at the same time that you are reading your Tweets on a Twitter app or playing Yahtzee.
Another feature of the software is better app organization through folders or creating a shortcut to a webpage on your home page. I love that you can create a folder for your travel apps, your cooking apps, your workout apps…so I can just open that folder when I want to find an app that suits my needs at the moment–when I’m traveling or cooking or working out. Plus, I don’t have to flip through pages of apps to find the ones I want; they are consolidated into one folder.
Mail on the iPhone will be more like mail on your computer. Mail with replies and forwarding will be grouped together (threaded). You won’t have to go to each email account inbox separately. All emails accounts–your mac-mail, your gmail, your website mail–will show up in the same inbox. And, you’ll be able to view PDFs and Office documents. Another odd but possibly convenient feature is the ability to search for emails that are on your webmail server and not on your phone. Again, I’m not clear if these mail features will only be available on the new iPhone4, but suspect it is part of the new OS4 software because it was announced during that press conference.
Lastly, there’s Genius. iTunes has had this feature that creates suggestions of songs based on the song that is playing. With iPhone4 or OS4, Genius will be able to find apps based on the chosen application. That way you can pick up a few more travel apps, or cooking apps, from the Genius suggestion.
So, if the improved peformance, screen and camera is worth the upgrade, go for it. You can order it June 15.