updated 02:50 pm EDT, Mon June 7, 2010
Goes on sale June 24th
Apple today confirmed earlier leaks and announced a new iPhone, the iPhone 4. The model is the very first to feature a forward-facing camera for video calling. It further adds an LED flash, and the 960x460 IPS "retina display," said to have four times the pixel density of the iPhone 3GS at 326ppi, and four times the contrast ratio at 800:1. Earlier apps are automatically enhanced to fit the new resolution, but mainly in terms of their interfaces.
Also key is a new, flatter and 24 percent thinner form factor, made possible in part by a micro SIM slot, and using the rim of the phone as part of the antenna system. Inside the phone is a version of the A4 processor found in the iPad, and a new lithium-ion battery, enabling 300 hours of standby, 7 hours of 3G talking, 6 hours of 3G web browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video and finally 40 hours of music.
Storage continues to be limited to 32GB, but the device adds 802.11n Wi-Fi, and other features such as a three-axis gyroscope, which can link in with the compass and accelerometer for more precise motion sensing.
The main camera on the phone has been upgraded from three megapixels to five, with 5x digital zoom, and a backside illuminated sensor meant in part to improve low-light photography. Video can now be recorded in base-level HD, with a resolution of 720p at 30fps. The LED flash stays on during recording.
Video chat is handled through a software component called FaceTime, which includes a picture-in-picture display to show a user's own image. Because of hardware and software requirements calls can only be made over Wi-Fi, and only between two iPhone 4s. Portrait and landscape modes are supported, and FaceTime works with both the front and rear cameras. The format is open, which should theoretically let other apps interact with it.
The iPhone 4 should first be available on June 24th, in black and white models, and in 16 and 32GB capacities. In the US these will cost $199 and $299, respectively, with a two-year AT&T contract. The 8GB iPhone 3GS will still be available for $99. iPhone 4 preorders start on June 15th; the device will initially be limited to the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan however, notably omitting countries like Canada, which will only get the device in July.