As usual, Apple detractors are turning their nose up at the latest upgrade to Apple’s iPhone line, the iPhone 4. Unfortunately for those people, the newly announced features make the phone more compelling (or even more compelling, depending on who you ask) than the Android phones that are on the market.
Here’s why this iPhone upgrade matters:
1. THE PROCESSOR
iPhone 4 features the same A4 processor found in the iPad. What this means is that the iPhone will be mind-numbingly fast. The iPad almost never lags, even as it is performing fairly complex processes. The A4 processor within the iPhone was almost certainly a necessity considering the iPhone 4 will ship with the new iOS, bringing multitasking to the iPhone for the first time. Speaking of which…
We’ve known this was coming for several months, but I felt it’s necessary to address Android and Windows Mobile users’ claims that multitasking should have been included all along since their mobile OS has featured it for quite some time. I respond with a question: have you actually used multitasking on an underpowered phone? It’s almost unusable, and it drains battery life quicker than you can say, “Cardinal Ratzinger.” And as we all know, a quickly-draining battery on a phone is unforgivable, especially when you’re out and about for long periods of time.
3. RETINA DISPLAY
In case you haven’t read up, the Retina Display is Apple’s way of saying, “Oooooooo, pretty!” According to popular tech blog Engadget (iPhone 4 Hands-on):
“We’re not being hyperbolic when we say it’s easily the best looking mobile phone screen we’ve ever laid eyes on.”
A screen that is easier to read means less strain on the eyes. It’s now running at a 960×640 resolution, and according to those who have seen in the device in person, it has to be seen to be believed (much like the iPad).
4. MIC + SPEAKER
Much like the A4 processor, people seem to be overlooking this feature as well. Apple has two mics: one next to your mouth, and another on top of the device. Why? It allows for noise-cancellation technology to do its work, helping you sound clearer and crisper to the person on the other end of the line. Nuances like this help make a product a cut above.
5. CAMERA, LED FLASH, AND FACETIME
The iPhone 4 now includes 720p high definition video recording. I’m sure it won’t replace my Flip Ultra HD, but it’s definitely a nice feature to have, especially now that you’ll be able to edit the video on the iPhone using iMovie for the device. The LED flash is no big surprise (and a bit late to the party, to be honest), but the front-facing camera which allows for Apple’s FaceTime video chatting is definitely a welcome addition. The ability to switch between the front-facing and back-facing cameras with a press of a button is nice. You’ll be able to show people what you’re looking at, then switch back with minimal effort.
The camera is now 5 megapixels, by the way. I just thought you should know.
6. HARDWARE REDESIGN
We’ve all dropped our iPhone a time or two (cracked screens, anyone?). The iPhone 4 will feature flat sites, along with a flat back. This might seem to be a subtle change, but I believe it will make the phone more usable and steady.
It’s gorgeous. 1/4 thinner than the current iPhone 3Gs, the iPhone 4 will also feature a new glass screen. I’ll use AppleInsider’s article to help explain:
The front and back are made of aluminosilcate glass, chemically strengthened to be 30 times harder than plastic, more scratch resistant and more durable than ever. The front and back glass have an oil-resistant coating that helps keep it clean, and encircling iPhone 4 is a highly finished stainless steel band made of a custom alloy that is forged to be five times stronger than standard steel.
Additionally, the structure of the phone is now connected to the antennas, giving the iPhone 4 stronger reception.
7. BATTERY LIFE
The new hardware also has a larger battery that offers longer uptime, including 7 hours of talk time 3G, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby.
Battery life is absolutely crucial to the value of a mobile device. Apple has clearly taken note of the incredible reception the iPad’s battery life has received, and made sure the iPhone 4 won’t skimp on the juice.
8. GYRO & ACCELEROMETER
The iPhone 4 will feature a 2-axis gyroscope and accelerometer that will be able to detect “much more precise movement,” according the Steve Jobs. This, in short, will be good for games and gesture-based commands. I’m not personally ecstatic over this upgrade, but there are quite a few who seem to be excited by it.
In short, this iPhone upgrade makes the most popular smartphone on the planet more functional, more usable, and cooler (it’s an Apple device, after all).
There is a reason that you hear countless stories about Blackberry users, Android users, and Windows Mobile users switching to the iPhone, but almost never hear of others going the opposite direction: the iPhone is still the best smartphone on the market. I’m excited that Android has brought legitimate competition to Apple, but after having used several of the devices (and gathering opinions from those using them), I can still say that I’m quite secure in being an iPhone fanboy.
And yes, I’ll be getting one to replace my barely-functional iPhone 3G. And I’m getting white.
And no, white is not girly.
For more reading, go to Apple’s web-site, laden with PR terminology – http://www.apple.com/iphone/
For Engadget’s coverage of the iPhone, click the following link – http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/07/iphone-4-announced/