Highlights from WWDC Keynote: iPhone 4, Other Notes

by PocketGoddess on June 7, 2010

iPhone 4

Everyone has been buzzing about it for weeks. Steve said there are more than 100 new features, but he highlighted eight during the keynote address:

  1. An all new design (24% thinner than the 3GS). Glass on the frond and back, and stainless steel on the sides, which act as structural support and are somehow integrated into the phone’s antenna system for better reception.
  2. Retina display, with four times the pixel density for enhanced text, images, and video. The new iPhone 4 has a 3.5″ display running at 960×640 resolution with 326 pixels to the inch. Looks amazing! Existing apps will look better, but if developers do some tweaking Steve promises that they will look “stunning.”
  3. The new phone runs on Apple’s A4 chip, the same as the iPad, and that means much better battery life: seven hours of 3G talk, ten hours of video, 40 hours of music, 300 hours of standby.
  4. Gyroscope, which they’re tying in with the accelerometer for six axis motion sensing–should be great for games.
  5. The camera is much improved–five megapixels, with a backside illuminated sensor, 5x digital zoom, and LED flash. It also captures HD video, 720p and thirty frames a second, which explains why they are now offering iMovie for iPhone–looks like video editing (with transitions, titles, and everything else) and sharing on the go are about to get a whole lot easier. iMovie will be $4.99 in the App Store.
  6. iPhone OS 4, which they’re renaming to iOS 4. We’ve already heard about a lot of this stuff, so not too many surprises. Multitasking, unified email inbox with threaded conversations (finally!) and multiple Exchange accounts, folders (really looking forward to that one), support for the Bing search engine.
  7. iBooks is coming to iPhone, and it’s going to be great–books will work across all devices, no need to repurchase, and your current reading position, notes and bookmarks will all sync automatically.
  8. iAd, to help developers make money. It’s hard to be excited about advertising, but it does look like the platform is going to allow for some pretty amazing stuff. Steve showed an ad for the new Nissan Leaf electric car. iAd is coming July 1 for all iOS4 devices.

As expected, there was “One more thing. . .” and that was video calling. It wasn’t really a surprise, since the leaked prototype had a forward-facing camera, but it is nice to finally see it in action. They’re calling it FaceTime, and it will be a WiFi only feature throughout this year. It will only work between iPhone 4 devices, not iPhone 4 to computer or to older iPhones. It does have great application for those with disabilities, as the video demo shows folks using FaceTime to talk via Sign Language.

The new iPhone 4 will be available on June 24th in white or black for $199 for the 16GB model or $299 for the 32GB model, with preorders opening on June 15. Current AT&T Wireless customers whose contracts expire any time this year are eligible to upgrade immediately.

Other Notes

It wasn’t all about the new iPhone, though it came very close. Some of the other highlights include an update to iBooks for the iPad; the new version (expected today) will have better notes and bookmarks. Yet another new version with an integrated PDF viewer is coming later this month. According to Steve, publishers are saying that 22% of their ebook sales are already coming from the Apple iBook store–very impressive.

Netflix is coming to iPhone, and it looks great! Manage your queue, pick up right where you left off streaming on your iPad, etc. I finally got a NetFlix account when I got my iPad, and it’s obvious that they’re conspiring to make sure that I will never get to the bottom of my to do list.

Farmville also coming to iPhone by the end of the month. Looks like it links with your Facebook account for farming on the go.

Guitar Hero is also coming to the iPhone, with new tapping and strumming gameplay mechanics. The app includes music from Queen and the Rolling Stones. $2.99, available today.

Steve ended the presentation today by talking about Apple as a company that is about tech and humanity. It isn’t just about the hardware and the software, but about what the two together allow us to do, like video calling and making movies on the go. He then thanked the teams and the people who made the iPhone 4 a reality and left the stage.

While I’m disappointed that there was no announcement about the iPhone being offered by other carriers,such as Verizon, I’m still excited about what Apple will bring to us in the near future.

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