WWDC 2010: What you need to know
Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs on Monday kicked off this year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference with the announcement that we all knew was coming: there's a new iPhone.
During the nearly two-hour speech, Jobs revealed details of the new version of the device--dubbed the iPhone 4. It will be available June 24 in five countries and will remain on AT&T's network in the U.S. Come September, it will be available worldwide in a total of 88 countries. Jobs also went into detail about the release of the fourth iteration of the iPhone and iPod Touch OS, which will be released as a free update on June 21.
Read on to find out all the details. You can also catch CNET's entire live blog here.
The iPhone 4
The iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick (a quarter thinner than the iPhone 3GS) with two built-in cameras (one on the front and one on the back with an LED flash), and two microphones for noise cancellation. It's powered by Apple's A4 chip, the same one that can be found inside the iPad.
It will be available June 24 in both white and black versions for $199 with 16GB of built-in storage, and $299 for the 32GB version--both with a two-year service agreement with AT&T. Apple has worked out a deal with AT&T to give iPhone owners whose current contract expires in 2010 a chance to get the device at these subsidized prices if they are willing to sign a new two-year contract (for more details on upgrade eligibility read our FAQ)
The new phone features a 940x640 pixel "Retina Display," which is four times the resolution of previous iPhone models; older apps are simply scaled up. It uses the same IPS display that's found on the iPad, and has an 800:1 contrast ratio.
The camera on the back is rated at 5 megapixels, and includes an LED flash. Besides still images (which can be shot at up to 5x digital zoom), the camera can also shoot 720p high-definition video at a constant 30 frames per second. Jobs also noted that the sensor is back-side illuminated, which keeps the wiring out of the way of the sensor.
Both the back and the front-facing camera can be used for a new video chat feature, which Jobs demonstrated live, on-stage with Apple's head designer Jonathan Ive. The app to do so is called "FaceTime" and will remain a Wi-Fi-only feature until carriers can catch up with the bandwidth needed.
Apple's FaceTime feature brings two-way videoconferencing to iPhone owners. Apple says the feature is coming to other devices in the future.
Among the other new hardware features is better battery life, which is rated at 7 hours of talk time, 6 hours of 3G Web browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, and 300 hours of standby time. That's up from 5 hours of 3G talk time on the previous-generation 3GS model.
Jobs also noted that the seam around the side of the phone is actually part of an antenna that wraps all the way around the device, though he did not say whether that improves cell phone or Wi-Fi reception. Other hardware changes include a new 3-axis gyroscope with pitch, roll and yaw sensors, which is separate from the iPhone's accelerometer. It provides app developers with 6-axis motion control that can be built into their apps and games.
iPhone 4 accessories
Apple announced a new dock for the device, as it did for the previous two iterations of the iPhone-shaped hardware--the original iPhone and iPhone 3G/3GS. The new dock will fit only the iPhone 4, and retails for $29.
Apple is also offering a new style of case called the "bumper," which wraps around the sides of the phone, and will be available in various colors. It too is $29.
iPhone OS 4, or "iOS"
Apple renamed the mobile operating system to iOS under the reasoning that it's essentially the same across the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The latest version, iOS 4.0--which was first previewed back in April--is being released as a "golden master candidate" to developers today. This means it's the same version of what will be shipping on all new iOS 4 devices on June 24. Worth noting is that Apple is offering this software update as a free upgrade to those with compatible devices, even on the iPod Touch, where Apple had previously charged users for large system software updates.
Among the new iOS 4 features demoed by Jobs was improved e-mail in-box management and multitasking. Jobs also went into detail about the company's new iAds platform, which allows developers to insert Apple-supplied advertising within their apps. That will go live to all iOS 4-compatible devices July 1, approximately a week after the release of the new software.
For more details on what comes with the iOS 4 update, go here.
Microsoft's Bing search comes to iPhone, Safari
Google is still the default search box, but now Bing is an option alongside Yahoo as an alternate (as rumored). Jobs said Microsoft has done a fair bit of work to present its results in an HTML5-friendly format. The same is being done on the desktop side for users of the Mac and Windows version of Safari.
Apple is bringing its iMovie software to the iPhone. The $4.99 app will let users splice together clips they've filmed on their phone.
iMovie for the iPhone.
Apple is bringing its movie-editing software to portable devices with iMovie for iPhone. The application lets users edit together clips they've shot on the device, as well as add things like zooms and pans, transitions, and themes to their work.
The app will be $4.99 and work on several versions of the iPhone.
iBooks for the iPhone
Apple released a version of its iBooks software for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iBooks software is also getting an update later this month that will let users make notes on the pages of their books (just like Amazon's Kindle app). It also adds native support for PDF files.
What may be the most important addition, though, is that the app can now sync up purchases and reading progress between devices, meaning you can start reading something on an iPad, and pick it up over on an iPhone. All without having to plug into a computer or pay twice for the same content.
Edited by TheLakersHighlights, June 24, 2010 - 10:46 AM.