Slideshow

First look: Apple's new iPhone 4

For the newest iPhone, Apple focused visually on sleek new styling with stainless steel banding, and a dramatically improved display.

  • FaceTime is the Wi-Fi-enabled video "call" or chat. It makes use of the phone's two cameras, and works in either portrait or landscape mode. Find someone in your Contacts list, and tap the FaceTime button. Your phone sends an invitation, and when the other person accepts, the video call starts. Apple says it will eventually introduce video calls over 3G.

  • Also part of iOS4 is the ability to group apps into folders, just by touching and dragging icons, cleaning up your screen, and bringing more organization to the phone. Here, a "productivity" folder has been automatically created by dragging a handful of related apps into the folder.

  • The newly renamed iOS 4 supports a kind of "managed" multitasking. Among other things, you can switch quickly between apps and pick up where you left off when you return. You can take a VoIP call, in the example shown, and still check movie listings in Fandango.

  • Now it comes in white. The new iPhone has nearly the same dimensions as the 3GS model but it's notably thinner: 4.5-inches high, 2.31-inches wide, and 0.37-inches thick, compared to the 3GS at 4.5 inches, 2.4 inches, and 0.48 inches. Weight unchanged at 4.8 ounces. The stainless steel band gives the new iPhone more of an edge, the rounded back is gone: a sleek slab.

  • The iPhone 4 is encapsulated between two glossy panels of aluminosilicate glass, used in helicopters and trains. It's 20 times stiffer, and 30 times harder, than plastic, to be highly scratch resistant.

  • The machined stainless steel band gives a whole new look to the iPhone. It's Apple's own alloy, five times stronger than standard steel. The band also acts as the phone's cellular and Wi-Fi antennas, visible as the dark bands, shown here to the left.

  • Apple added a three-axis gyroscope to the new phone. Pair it with the accelerometer, and the phone now can sense and act on a greater range of gestures, with much more precision. Think of: the WiiPhone. Shown: a first-person racing game, exploiting the gyroscope.

  • The phone with two cameras. The rear-facing 5-megapixel camera (vs 3mp for the 3Gs) shoots high resolution photos and for the first time 720p video. Also new: LED flash for both photos and video. The front-facing camera can be used for video calls with the FaceTime application, and for self-portraits.

  • "Retina display" technology: Apple boosted the iPhone 4 resolution to 960x640 in part by using much smaller pixels, so the density is now 326 pixels per inch. The iPhone 3GS has 480x320, and 163 ppi. The result: extremely sharp text rendering, and vivid graphics. Also: high precision lamination of cover glass onto the display minimizes light refraction.

  • The iPhone 4 is the first of its kind to use the Apple-designed, Samsung-built A4 processor, first appearing in the recently launched iPad. The A4 is based on the ARM Cortex-A8 core, paired with the PowerVR SGX 535 graphics processor. It's engineered for power-efficiency, and Apple says the new iPhone delivers more talk time and Internet use than the 3GS, while packing power for video recording, editing, and chat.

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