Steve let his worst kept secret loose at WWDC 2010 this week when he officially unveiled the iPhone 4. I could go on and on about the nerdy tidbits like any other tech blog, however, the biggest changes that casual users will notice from the gate is fresh OS, the improved screen, better battery/processor and the new front facing camera. So is this phone really the next big thing or is the reality distortion field up to its old tricks again? It’s a bit early to tell since it hasn’t been released and pockets are still hurting over its AT&T-exclusive plans. That aside, some tech for dummies couch commentary never hurt.
iOS 4, the phone’s new operating system, reputedly has a familiar feel and runs even faster than before thanks to it’s snappy 1ghz ARM A4 CPU. But it comes with a few new tweaks that potential users ought to highlight. For one it can finally multitask (run multiple apps in the background) without jailbreaking. That should prove useful to people who ever got annoyed at closing an app just to open another. For instance, the phone will let you use an IM app while looking up show times in “Movies” and listen to music all at once. You can also organize your apps into folders so you don’t have to scroll through tons of home screens. More importantly the phone’s new battery is supposed to last longer than older versions on a single charge. Previous iPhone iterations had mixed response at best when it came to battery life. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re latest actually holds up for considerably longer periods of time.
Moreover, the new screen reportedly has the highest resolution among major smart phones presently on the market. It features 720p playback and the phone’s improved LED flash camera with quick editing via iMovie supports 720p recording. The sharp screen is paired with a new camera for video chat. Apple’s “Face Time” enables users to utilize video chat only over Wi-Fi but apparently they’re working on supporting video calls over AT&T’s 3G network. At least it supports Wireless N connectivity which, in layman’s terms, translates to VERY fast Wi-Fi speeds. Additionally, the calls look pretty choppy from what I’ve seen online. Hopefully the quality will get better once it is in the wild since it’s comparable to video chat on Sprint’s Evo 4G. But it should be good enough for late night boo lovin’ sessions when iChat isn’t enough.
I think Apple’s latest doesn’t have glaring flaws that everyday users may care about. But I don’t see much that makes it head and shoulders better than the best smart phones out now (Evo 4g) and in the future (Blackberry Bold 9800) unless you’re partial to Apple’s user interface. The new screen, wireless N and better battery are worthy upgrades. But aside from those features, it doesn’t include a laundry list of noteworthy bullet points that other top phones can’t match in the early going.
So while it’s the biggest iPhone release since the first one dropped its welcoming party not quite as monumental. Some of that has to do with the Gizmodo leak. The rest can be chalked up to the competition, namely HTC/Google, RIM and potentially Windows Phone 7, not appearing as severely dated alternatives this time around.
The iPhone drops on June 24th with the 16GB version priced at $199 and the 32 GB version going for $299. Both are laced with two year AT&T contracts and current users can call *639# to get updated on their upgrade options toward the 4.
I guess the only question left is…are you coppin’?