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Apple introduces new iPhone 4

Apple debuted the next version of the iPhone today, showing off a thinner, more powerful iPhone 4 that adds a high-resolution screen, high-definition movie recording and editing, better battery life and a video-chatting system--but which remains confined to AT&T Wireless's network.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4--on sale June 24 at $199 for a model with 16 gigabytes of storage, $299 for 32 GB model--in a keynote that opened Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

(6/8, 11:19 a.m.: Apple has now posted a QuickTime stream of Jobs' keynote.)

iphone4_from_apple.jpg

(Credit where due: What follows is based on the liveblogging of Ars Technica, MacRumors, AppleInsider and The Loop, plus Gizmodo's real-time aggregation of other liveblogs.)

The new device's hardware matches up with the lost prototype that Gizmodo bought and dissected earlier this year. Built of stainless steel and glass, the iPhone 4 is thinner than its predecessor, at just .37 inches "thick"; Apple's press release calls it "the thinnest smartphone in the world."

The iPhone 4 features a 5-megapixel camera, with an LED flash, on the back and a second camera, with an unannounced but presumably lower resolution, on the front. The back camera can record movies in 720p high definition--and with Apple's $4.99 iMovie for iPhone program, users can then edit videos right on the phone. Both cameras support Apple's new FaceTime video-conferencing protocol. But at least for this year, you'll need to be on WiFi to use that.

(It's fair to ask if AT&T will miss that deadline, considering that it's adding "tethering" phone-as-modem support a full year after Apple added that option to the iPhone. Note also that other phones, such as Sprint's new Evo 4G Android smartphone, already allow video chatting over 3G--although the initial demand for that function has taken the required software offline.)

Inside that metal case, the iPhone 4 hides a gyroscope to sense roll, pitch and yaw--opening some interesting possibilities for game developers--and the same power-efficient A4 processor as the iPad. Apple says it will handle seven hours of talk time, six hours of Web browsing over AT&T's 3G service and 10 hours of browsing over WiFi.

The iPhone 4's screen features one surprise: a high-resolution display, with a resolution of 960 by 640 pixels, that Apple calls the "Retina Display." (Apple says the name comes from its ability to show 326 pixels per inch, which Jobs said exceeds what human eyeballs can discern from 10 to 12 inches away.) Older iPhone programs should automatically look sharper on this display, though that was not the case with iPhone programs run on the iPad's higher-resolution display.

If you followed Apple's unveiling of the next version of the iPhone's operating system back in April, Jobs's presentation provided little news besides its new name--Apple is now calling "iPhone OS 4" "iOS 4,"--and its choice of search engines. You can now choose Microsoft's Bing in addition to Yahoo and Google.

Starting June 21, iPhone 3GS users will be able to upgrade to iOS 4 and such benefits as the ability to switch among multiple third-party applications; the iPhone 3G and iPod touch will also get this update but won't benefit from all of its features. And this time around, iPod touch users won't need to pay for the upgrade.

Jobs started the keynote by revealing a few other details about the Cupertino, Calif., company's mobile-device business. Its App Store now stocks 225,000 titles, he said, with another 15,000 submitted each week. (That number presumably includes updates to older versions.) Jobs defended Apple's controversial control of the store, describing it as a "curated platform" and saying it approves 95 percent of the titles submitted to it. Among those rejected, he said, most flunked for not working as advertising, using iOS features that Apple hasn't certified for public consumption or for crashing.

The keynote was also marked by numerous problems with WiFi reception that led Jobs to ask audience members to put down their laptops and turn off their WiFi base stations--an echo of the networking issues that plagued Google's keynotes in the same Moscone West convention center last month.

The liveblogs I read reported that at one point, Jobs (perhaps half-jokingly) asked a colleague helping him to present the phone for suggestions on how to overcome their WiFi woes--after which somebody in the audience shouted "Verizon!" But the one iPhone feature that some smartphone users seem more fixated on than anything else--an iPhone available from another carrier with better coverage than AT&T, preferably Verizon--still isn't happening.

Also absent from Jobs's keynote: any news about Mac OS X, Apple's desktop and laptop computers, its iTunes music and video efforts and the apparently-forgotten Apple TV.

What's your read on Apple's latest? If you own an older iPhone and can upgrade--AT&T is letting those customers do so six months earlier than its usual two-year timetable--will you? If you're currently toting around somebody else's smartphone, does the iPhone 4 make you more likely to switch?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 7, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mac , Mobile  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Yes, there's a new iPhone coming today
Next: Apple's other WWDC news: Safari 5

Comments

I'm still planning to get the Nexus One as my next phone.

Posted by: Arlington4 | June 7, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

No upgrade unless I can get a 64 GB iphone. Besides, I'm STILL waiting for Jobs and Co. to fix the smart playlist problems that have been plaugin me since iTunes 9 and my 3Gs

Posted by: jamdl01 | June 7, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse


Every WaPo hack on the payroll is pimping for the latest Apple POS today.

Meanwhile, the Droid Incredible blows iphone away, feature for feature.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 7, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I have a Windows Mobile 6.x phone on Verizon. It's very much near end of life (and shouldn't be. Nevermind the OS is going away, but I won't buy another Samsung product again). Does this make me want to switch to AT&T? No. But I was holding back on replacing it hoping Verizon would get the iPhone.

Posted by: JCritter | June 7, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Big deal, a 4G phone that is on a network that can't even handle 3G. What's the point?

Posted by: fwillyhess | June 7, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

screwjob16,

I think Apple learned a long time ago that having the best product on the market didn't necessarily translate into marketshare. I don't know why Mac Cultists kept whining about how their products were so much better for so long. Yeah they were...for 20 years. And while they had that, their competitor achieved a monopoly. At some point it needs to cease being a point of honor and become one of shame.

But now that Verizon isn't likely to get an iPhone soon, so I need to seriously look at a Droid.

Posted by: JCritter | June 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"Big deal, a 4G phone that is on a network that can't even handle 3G. What's the point?"

It's NOT a 4G phone. It's just the 4th generation iPhone. The pre-release "4G" tag was a misnomer caused by Apple calling the previous phones 2G and 3G. But the names have nothing to do with the network being 3G or 4G

Posted by: mirrorball | June 7, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Rob,

What's your take on the quality of Verizon vs. AT&T 3G? I saw an article in NYT that cited independent network testing companies' experiences that AT&T network is actually more consistent (i.e. doesn't lose calls a much) according to the testers' equipment, and that, in fact, it is the iPhone itself that is dropping the calls. This is an interesting theory, and, if true, the new iPhone might have potential to fix the flaw. Of course, if non-iPhone users have dismal call-dropping experience with AT&T, then that points back to the provider.

Have you heard anything along these lines?

Posted by: cvilleSnowMan | June 7, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed that the capacity isn't higher, especially considering the capability to record 720p video. But many of the upgrades sound quite nice. I'll probably upgrade, unless a few people can convince me about Droid's music and sound capabilities. From what I've read, music on Droid is dreadful.

It didn't take long for Droid fanboys to become more obnoxious than Apple's. Geez, get some lives, people! You, have you ever even kissed a girl?

Posted by: beetsnotbeats | June 7, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

This article fails to mention a big change for ATT. The end of unlimited data. So, you have this extra capacity including HD, but if you use more then 2GB a month and are not an unlimited plan member already who is "grandfathered" under his old plan, you are going to pay for it. Oh, sure, you could use WiFi, but you could also just use a netbook on WiFi, let alone an iphone. So, faster download speeds, better resolution, more HD. But, limited data downloading. Yes, I love my iPhone and am typing this on my 3GS. But, this is sucky with ATT.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | June 7, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

All those people who were in store lines to be the 'first' to get an I-phone apparently wasted their money if Apple now admits the first I-phone wasn't as good as it should have been.
Apple now expects people to give them another $200 or so for a 'better' phone. I don't know which is worse here---the people who will, or Apple continuously dangling allegedly 'better' products in front of gullible customers.

Posted by: momof20yo | June 7, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

No multitasking? No thx

Posted by: cab50151 | June 7, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: frank_ucsd | June 7, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

No multitasking? No thx

Posted by: cab50151 | June 7, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

---

It does have multitasking.

Posted by: brocrow2000 | June 7, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

On the Apple site, it says multitasking is a key part of the upgrade.

And to answer Rob's question, as a 3GS owner, no, I am not planning to upgrade, although I am glad they are making the OS4 upgrade available to 3GS users.

I'm not unhappy with the 3GS (or, believe it or not, AT&T) as currently configured, so I don't feel compelled to spend to keep up with the Joneses.

Posted by: KeithMcMillan | June 7, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll be upgrading my first generation iphone with this one. It takes care of just about all of the features I've been waiting for since the original came out.

I keep hearing how Droid people love their phones and that's cool - enjoy what you have. I seriously doubt Droid will bury the iphone though considering they are still letting you buy a Droid and get one for free. If Apple ever did a 2 for 1 sale with the iphone the sales would go through the roof. There must be a reason Droid is sold that way...

Posted by: lightgrw | June 7, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Rob,

Ever since you tried to defend Microsoft, the monopolist, for Vista, I've had a hard time believing you have any idea what you are doing.

Today is a case in point. The new Iphone brings the long sought video phone to the market, which others have tried to do since the 50s.

This is monumental, revolutionary, truly Steve Job's greatest hit, and you missed it.

You are an idiot, but then, the Wash Post has consistently missed the boat -- from the Iraq war to Bob Woodward's endorsing Bush in his first two
books and finally figuring out that guy was an idiot in his third. That is why circulation has gone down. You guys don't do your job. You sold out long ago to the monopolists, the banksters, the fear mongers.....

Get a job with Microsoft, or Fox, where you can
mix with your own breed.

Posted by: vedic1 | June 7, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I'll upgrade my 3G the day the new one comes out. What sells me on it without question is the iPad, with the same processor .. the iPad is THE most responsive device I have ever used.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 7, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Sprint EVO....All this and more.

Posted by: sneakyllama | June 7, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Rob, you missed the point yet again -- Jobs has brought the video phone to the market successfully, which has been tried since the 50s.

It is the holy grail of computing -- not like the unholy grail of monopolist Microsoft, which never invented anything, but whom you have supported again and again.

You are a big reason the Wash Post continues to decline, but certainly Microsoft would welcome you as a cheerleader and Fox for yellow journalism.

Posted by: vedic1 | June 7, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

One thing to note .. just as with desktops, then laptops, and before both of them *telephones*, the buzz is just about over. Wasn't that long ago magazine shelves were loaded with monthly issues about laptops, thick and loaded with ads. Now laptops are appliances, nobody cares about brand anymore, just go buy one and shut up.

Well, we still have cell phone buzz but we won't much longer. The iPhone may not be the absolute final design but it can't be far from it, not with every new buzz-phone being a clone of it. And yes that includes droid.

We'll stop caring about the latest and greatest and most capacious pretty damned soon.

And oh, the guy holding out for 64GB .. get an iPod classic (and a life).

Posted by: Noacoler | June 7, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A little inside dope on Microsoft. The real demise came in the early 90s, now are the times of the death throes. Vista was the worst-managed project in world history, with the combined idiocy of Valentine and Ballmer working together to create a work environment so process-heavy and so libertarian that people were literally weeping with frustration at their desks and quitting a dozen at a time.

Now the greatest imperative is uniformity and consistancy (sic), creativity is a termination offense, all the code you see is standardized around adolescent stylistics and cheap gimmicks. C# is garbage but a chimpanzee can write in it, Ballmer has a hate-on for developers and can't wait to move our jobs to the IDC.

The only thing keeping MS going is inertia, people are used to Windows, inexplicably eschewing Linux, and if people were less squirrelly about trying new things there would be a shopping mall or a business park on 148th Ave in Redmond by now.

And oh, I don't care for Macs. Hate using a mouse.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 7, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Not buying. I've got a 64 gig iPad and an old Verizon networked Motorola flip phone (that seldom gets used). Don't need a smart phone of any make.

Posted by: seahawkdad | June 7, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I have an iPhone 3G and will get the iPhone 4G. I am eligible now but I am going to wait until 6 months or so after it goes on sale so they will have time to correct at least a few of the initial bugs, hardware and software.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | June 7, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

@vedic1
YOU are an idiot. Besides having two posts nearly identical in content, one using unnecessarily defamatory language. Any regular reader of Fast(er) Forward knows that Rob is hardly a Microsoft "cheerleader". And he has been pretty blunt in his criticism of Vista. In fact, more often than not he is accused (justifiably or not) of being an Apple fanboi. You don't seem to realize that "circulation has gone down" for nearly every print newspaper in the entire country -- at least for the ones which haven't closed altogether.

As for your contention in either post that the iPhone 4's video chat is "revolutionary" or "the holy grail", the iPhone is not the only phone with a front-facing camera. The HTC EVO 4G from Sprint also has this feature, and runs on that carrier’s faster 4G network, likely to result in smoother video, while AT&T is still waiting for their LTE rollout. Unless you elect to use Wi-Fi for even better video. And Skype has announced that their video chat software will become available for Android beyond their current Verizon-only universe.
http://www.eweek.com/c/a/VOIP-and-Telephony/Skype-to-Launch-Video-Chat-App-for-All-Android-Smartphones-764553/
Where’s the revolution? By the end of the year, we will see a raft of Android phones with this feature. And where's that front-facing camera on the just-released iPad, an obvious potential platform for video chat and conferencing?

Oh yeah... now Congress and the DoJ are investigating Apple for monopolistic practices...

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | June 7, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rob -- just yesterday, in your HTC EVO phone review, you derided the new Sprint phone's front-facing video camera with:

"the Evo's other major contribution to smartphone design may seem like a joke: not one but two cameras. (Coming in 2011, phones with three cameras! It'll be like razor manufacturers competing to see how many blades they can add to their products.)"

Strangely, when you mention that Steve Jobs unveiled the same thing today on the new iPhone 4, you didn't make fun of it. Care to be consistent in your snarky remarks? :-)

Posted by: doug2311 | June 7, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I am sure some the Android based phones are just as good or have more horses than the iPhone. However what cinches it for me for the iPhone is the iPod. The music player on the iPhone blows away the competition out of the water. Music is too important to me to waste it on the Droid or any other Android based phones.

Posted by: jabreal00 | June 7, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Most of these complaints sound like the ones made before for earlier versions of the iPhone, especially version 1, and for the iPad. But they are all selling like hotcakes. These complainers pick on certain features, and although they sometimes make some valid points, Apple usually comes through with the best user experience (which no-one compares in their feature lists of various smart phones). And Apple has responded to some of the major user complaints/requests (cut and paste, multitasking, better camera and camera for video conferencing) and does it in an elegant and effective way.

Posted by: harrumph1 | June 7, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

When I read comments about other phones besting the iPhone, I had to allow myself a few minutes of hysterical laughter. Comments like "the Droid Incredible blows iPhone away" are ludicrous at best, amazingly funny if you understand the real specs.

How so? Well, to start, the resolution on the new iPhone is 60% sharper and denser than the resolution of the Evo 4G or HD2. The new iPhone uses 802.N for wi-fi. That standard is theoretically five times faster than the 802.g on the other phones. The iPhone also uses IPS display technology for a surprisingly wide viewing area. The other phones don't have this feature at all. The iPhone's video is a full 720P at 30fps; the other phones can't match this, though the Evo comes closest. And perhaps you've heard of the App Store? That's the online store where Apple has nearly a quarter million apps for its customers. All the other smart phones combined don't even come close to that number.

Also the other phones weigh more than the iPhone, have shorter battery life, and are larger (ie clunkier to carry around). I could go on and on, but the biggest difference is the iPhone's incredible hardware/software integration, making for a far more satisfying user experience. (Every survey since its inception has rated the iPhone considerably higher than all comers, especially in this regard.)

Look, buy whatever you want, absolutely. But please don't lie about the user experience or the specs. You may not like that Apple has scored repeated bulls-eyes with customers. Or you may not like Steve Jobs. But making statements about devices with clunky interfaces and trying to laughingly say they best this new iPhone is absurd. The moment I walked over to the display in the Moscone Center this afternoon and touched the new iPhone, I realized Android phones (at least as we know them today) are in real trouble.

Bravo to Apple on an amazingly engineered device.

And btw, folks, Mr. Pegoraro's comments about the EVO 4G are incorrect. No one has gotten video chatting working on that device outside of a demonstration setting. It appears a real working video chat for that device is months away at best.

Posted by: Bi1lMe | June 7, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

All those people who were in store lines to be the 'first' to get an I-phone apparently wasted their money if Apple now admits the first I-phone wasn't as good as it should have been.
Apple now expects people to give them another $200 or so for a 'better' phone. I don't know which is worse here---the people who will, or Apple continuously dangling allegedly 'better' products in front of gullible customers.

Posted by: momof20yo | June 7, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

You see Apple improving its product over the past three years as a negative?

Posted by: McBride33 | June 7, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I've got a lot of Apple products, including iphone and ipad.

I also got a Sprint Evo.

Hands down, the Evo is a better phone. The 4G really is super fast. It's got a lot more sophistication, in everything from it's voicemail options (the option to forward voicemail to someone else, email it to yourself) to voice-to-text texting.

The battery life isn't great, so I've already ordered an extra battery. Carrying the very small extra battery isn't a big burden, and it certainly beats the iphone extra battery options.

What I do miss about the iphone, though, is it's simplicity. It's easy to use, and the Evo is sometimes confusing.

Posted by: Hillman1 | June 8, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

I would like to ask what is the difference between I pod and the new device?(except built in microphones and the camera) I pod I learned after finally buying one dose everything the I phone dose except take and send cell phone calls but will with a optional microphone allow you to use it as a cell phone in wifi. I'm going to find out if the new phone will allow you to just use it on wifi without a cell account then maybe return my new/old ipod. At 16 gigabytes you get twice what the ipod gives you for $199.

Posted by: Sharpeningman | June 8, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Well, I ain't switching from Verizon (I can call from anywhere), so either iPod goes my way...it's the highway.

Posted by: analyst72 | June 8, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Apple needed to hit it out of the park but they didn't. Nice try though with great hardware and a nifty OS. Now will Android have all that is good by Christmas? Can Apple, with a limited staff, compete with the potential developer pool for Android? Certainly not. Apple will certainly sell millions of devices but will it hold off Android with its deluge of devices?

Posted by: kdjkdj | June 8, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Well Rob, you've been accused of being a fanboy for Apple and for Windows based on the same posting, now that is something you don't see every day. If you can just get someone to call you a Google apologist in this thread you'll have hit for the cycle. I have an iPhone 3G that I am quite pleased with which I will probably stick with until the end of my contract then I'll decide if the Droid phones out then are superior to whatever model Apple is on then. I, for one, have no problems with AT&Ts coverage.

Posted by: simonetta1 | June 8, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

BTW is anyone at the Post aware that the Report Abuse link goes to a full mailbox (and has every time I have ever used it)?
I tried to alert the abuse people to nettrader.

Posted by: simonetta1 | June 8, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep my 3GS for the time being and enjoy the new OS with multitasking. I can't forsee the need to video chat with my phone and the video and pictures it takes now are sufficient. If I only had a 3G it would make more sense to change, but I'll stay with the S for now.

Posted by: ozpunk | June 8, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I've already put in my order for the new iPhone .. I have the 3G, it's slowing down, and I want the responsiveness of the iPad. No interest in the video stuff, just the perf.

Love the new design.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

With this update, Apple has done what it usually does: makes substantial improvements in areas where the iPhone is relatively weak while maintaining the overall user experience that sets the iPhone apart.

The iPhone had lagged competitors in terms of screen resolution and multi-tasking. The new screen and OS will render those complaints obsolete. Before that the complaints were about cut-and-paste. Before that, it was lack of third-party apps. Before that, it was something else.

The critics will always find something to complain about, but they are only coming up with post-hoc justifications to support their longstanding views. Regardless of what Apple announced yesterday, these same critics would be here trashing the device.

The fact is that phone design is about very difficult trade-offs. Battery life vs. multi-tasking. More functions vs. greater ease-of-use. Say what you want about Apple, but they think through these trade-offs very carefully. I don't always like how they resolve the trade-offs, but I am convinced they make the right call most of the time, and they have created a very solid ecosystem.

Later this month, I will take my 3G iPhone (purchased nearly 2 years ago), plug it into my computer, and my second major OS update will begin when I click OK. Everything will still be there when the update is done. Safari will still remember my most recent web pages. Every other iPhone owner will be able to do the same, regardless of what generation of phone they own. iPod touch owners too. When the Android ecosystem can deliver software even updates half as smoothly, let me know.

Posted by: jkh1970 | June 8, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

About the spam comments: While I suppose we can appreciate the ASCII-art creativity of those fellows, I don't enjoy them disrupting the chatter. So I marked both of those comments as spam and banned the commenters in our software--not that I expect that to solve anything, since they'll just open a new account.

Otherwise...

@jamdl01: What are those smart-playlist problems? (I can always use more material for Help File.)

@vedic1: Your second version of the comment was a little more persuasive, but not enough.

@54Stratocaster: Thanks for the kind words, and for that link. I should have asked you about Skype's plans instead of their PR rep!

@doug2311: Fair question. I admit to having some fun with the topic in that line--but in the next paragraph, I went on to explain why I didn't think the Evo's video-chat function was very useful. Apple's seems different, in the sense that you don't need to open a new account to use it.

@Bi1lMe: The people using the Fring video-chat app would disagree with you on that point--even if, per this review, it's apparently not very good.

- RP

Posted by: robpegoraro | June 8, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Some of these comments remind me of the stories the old folks probably told when cars first got key ignitions and starter motors. "What?!?!? Are you too lazy or too GOOD to crank the car to start it?!" That's the point of Apple and the (r)evolution of their products. Remember, before iPhone? Browsers that sucked beyond words!! Useless and limited apps? Gear heads love Android (and they're the ones commenting here). But Joe-average just wants something that's easy to use and functional. Apple delivers that and continues to raise the bar. Video chatting just went mainstream, some folks here just don't realize it yet. Enjoy watching sales go through the roof on the iPhone4G.

Posted by: hpapp | June 9, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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