Today in San Francisco, Steve Jobs introduced the newest iPhone to a packed house in Moscone Center for the Worldwide Developers Conference. The device, dubbed the iPhone 4, features live video chat with a front-facing camera, a thin stainless steel design and 720p HD video capabilities. Predictably, the prices come in at $199 and $299, but storage sizes remained at 16GB and 32GB respectively. Happy Apple fans can pick up a the new device June 24th, and pre-orders start June 15th.
Also among the other impressive new features announced today is a built-in gyroscope, a 5 megapixel camera with flash, a built in iMovie for iPhone video editor, and the iPhone OS4 - now rebranded as iOS4. The new OS will be available June 21st for current iPhone users and for the first time will be a free upgrade for iPod touch users. Not all models will support features like multi-tasking, however. The iPhone 3GS, as expected, has also been dropped to $99, making a very fast smartphone highly accessible at the lowered price point.
Video Chat & High Resolution Screen
Left for the end, in a classic "one more thing" moment, Steve Jobs had a live video chat with Apple designer Jonathan Ive directly from the new iPhone 4. Video chat, known as "Facetime" will only run on WiFi between two iPhone 4s in 2010 but Jobs did note that Apple intends to make Facetime a technology, and an open platform for video chat applications.
Jobs also spent a significant amount of time describing the device's new high-resolution display. In the same screen size as the iPhone 3GS, the newest phone has quadrupled the pixel density to a 960x640 display. This pixel resolution is just 22% smaller than the iPad, which means up-scaling of apps to the larger device will look a lot better.
3-Axis Gyroscopic Controls
App developers will be excited to learn of Apple's inclusion of a built-in gyroscope, which is closely ties to the accelerometer. This functionality, which creates 6-axis motion sensing, pitch, roll and yaw control, and rotation about gravity, gives the iPhone impressive control over 3D objects. Personally I am excited to see this technology in the hands of augmented reality developers - this should give the apps a much more accurate picture of the location and positioning of the device in 3D space.
A Fresh Design
Aesthetically, the device is refresh for Apple, breaking away from the rounded black plastic back for a flush glass design with metal edges - similar to the company's unibody MacBook design. The leaked photos were pretty much right on in terms of design. The sides and back of the phone are flat and comprised of stainless steel and feature new volume buttons, antennae receivers, and a microphone on the top for noise cancellation.
The stainless steel frame is not only a design choice, but Apple has built the antenna for the phone into the frame, moving it outside the previous plastic case. Some had claimed the iPhone was to blame for network woes on AT&T, and this new design is a clear effort by Apple to help with this issue. The new glass and metal design is 24% thinner than the iPhone 3GS.
iMovie On a Phone?
Additionally, Apple engineer Randy Ubillos demoed an iPhone version of Apple's iMovie video editing software. With the combined 5 megapixel camera and 720p video recording ability, iPhone users can create videos on the phone, complete with image effects and themes. The app isn't free, however; Apple is charging users $4.99 to edit movies and photos together on the iPhone.
So what will this latest device do for the mobile web? Apple's ad network, iAds, which will activate beginning in July, will likely become a large player in the mobile advertising industry because the design allows users to remain within applications while viewing ads. According to Apple, $60 million has already been committed to the platform by advertisers for the second half of the year - which they estimate to be nearly half of the market in that period.