iPhone 4 -4G

It's official -- it's iPhone 4

The new iPhones were unveiled by Steve Jobs yesterday during the WWDC keynote. It’s official. The name of the new device is iPhone 4. The operating system gets a new name as well and is now called iOS 4.

Life In LoFi recently ran a story breaking down the leaked Gizmodo iPhone 4 prototype. We did some research to analyze the new iPhone’s camera. The Gizmodo prototype turned out to be real, and with the details released yesterday about the new iPhone 4, our camera analysis was pretty much spot on. The new iPhone is not only a beautiful device, it will have a pretty awesome camera for a mobile device.

The phone itself features Apple’s new A4 processor — the same CPU that drives the iPad. Inside, it has a larger battery giving it an estimated 40% more talk time than current iPhone models. The new iPhone is estimated to have up to 7 hours of talk time, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music, or 300 hours of standby (that’s over 12 days of standby). Of course, not all at the same time.

Among the features that weren’t leaked are the specs on the new display. The new “Retina Display” features an In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen for better color and a wider viewing angle. The new display has and 800:1 contrast ratio and 640×960 resolution — 4 times the resolution of current iPhones. Those additional pixels are packed in at 326 pixels per inch, making them imperceptible to the human eye. Text, graphics and images will have amazing sharpness and clarity. Apps with super low res 320×480 output really aren’t going to cut it any more.

The camera is a 5 megapixel camera with a backside illuminated sensor. If this iPhone uses the OmniVison OV5650, the sensor is actually capable of packing in far more pixels in the sensing array. Apple has opted to use fewer but larger sensors. Both features will greatly expand the dynamic range of the camera and allow for greatly improved low-light sensitivity. This means better shadow detail and less noise in dark areas of the photo.

The new camera still has tap-to-focus and now has a 5x digital zoom. A digital zoom is nice in a pinch, but it uses image upsampling to maintain a higher resolution. As a result, images taken with a digital zoom are not as sharp as those taken with an optical zoom. It will be interesting to see how Apple implemented this zoom and if there are any enhancement algorithms (like those found in BitWink’s excellent app Zoom Lens) to help sharpen zoomed images.

The new camera has an LED flash. Like most mobile phone LED flashes, this one looks like it will be a little on the blue light side. It should help in dark situations, as well as providing good fill flash.

The new camera now records HD video — a full 720p at 30 frames per second. Video has tap-to-focus and the LED flash can stay on to illuminate darker scenes for video. With the new iMovie for iPhone ($4.99 in the App Store), you’ll be able to edit, enhance, stylize and share your movies right from the iPhone. The video specs are comparable to the older Kodak Zi6 or Zx1 Pocket Video Camera Camcorders, but with a lot more of the iPhone’s functionality, features and of course, apps.

Also announced in the keynote address is the new iPhone os, now named iOS 4. The name change makes sense as this specialized version of Mac OS X is now running more than just iPhones — it also runs the iPad and is rumored to run the next generation of Apple TV as well. Apple is offering free upgrades for the 3GS and 3G iPhones and the iPod Touch. Upgrades will be available on June 21st. Not all features will be available on the older devices and owners of first generation iPhones and iPod Touch are unsupported and completely out of luck.

iPhone 4 will be available in 16 GB and 32 GB capacities for $199 USD and $299 USD respectively. A two year contract with AT&T is required in the US. That’s pretty good considering it’s the same deal that AT&T has offered for the 3GS and this is a whole lot more phone. The 3GS will be available for $99 USD. For the extra money, though, you’re getting an exponentially better phone.

Preorders begin on June 15 in the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. iPhone 4 goes on sale in the five countries on June 24th.

I’ve been with T-Mobile since they were VoiceStream here. When I got my iPhone 2G a couple of years ago, I was excited that I could unlock it to use on the T-Mobile voice and data network. For me, the iPhone 4 is such a sweet device, I’ll be one of the hordes at my local Apple Store camped in line to pick up my preorder on June 24th.

T-Mobile… you’ve been great to me for over ten years, but I’m breaking up with you for a sexier phone. Hello, AT&T.



Related Links: “In-Plane Switching – IPS – LCDs” at PCTechGuide.com  |  Kodak Digital Video |  Zoom Lens app