Poor, poor Gizmodo. They took one for the team, letting us catch an early glimpse of what the Apple elves were working on in their workshop, but because of their indiscretion, they promptly forfeited their access to today's WWDC extravaganza in San Francisco. And they missed a doozy because Apple finally dropped the long-rumored iPhone 4, along with some welcomed new features.
First we'll get to the new iPhone, and when I say "new," I mean new from the ground up. Boasting a completely revolutionary design, the upgraded internals are now sandwiched between two hardened plates of aluminosilicate glass, bound together with a band of stainless steel around the edges that also doubles as the iPhone's antennas. The LCD screen is now an IPS-style with a resolution of 960×640 at 326 ppi and a contrast ratio of 800:1, which Apple refers to as a "retina display," while the processor shifts to the same A4 chip found in the iPad.
To see how the iPhone 4 stacks up against the new HTC EVO 4G, head over to Good and EVO for a blow-by-blow recap of the two heavyweights with our favorite referee, Jenn. For a quick rundown of the rest of the iPhone's specs and new features, plus some great gallery shots, follow me after the break.
By thinning out the new design up to 25% compared to last year's iPhone 3GS, the new iPhone 4 comes in at a svelte 9.3mm while retaining the same 3.5" display size. Even with a slimmer build, the battery is much larger and now has a 3G talk time of 7 hours and 3G browsing time of 6 hours. WiFi use can last for up to 10 hours, while standby mode should extend to 300 hours.
WiFi now supports 802.11n, and the camera has been completely upgraded with a 5MP sensor and 5x digital zoom, as well as 720p video at 30fps that will work nicely with the new $5 iMovie app. The camera also includes an LED flash for the first time, which should help alleviate one of the main shortcomings of every iPhone up until now. But the biggest camera news doesn't even pertain to what's on the back; it's about the front-facing VGA webcam.
With the new webcam, iPhone 4 users can take advantage of a new technology Apple calls FaceTime, a zero-configuration version of iChat designed just for the new handsets. Initially only available over WiFi, the new feature should eventually migrate to 3G networks as well. In addition, FaceTime will work with the rear camera when people tire of the ugly mug that's been staring at them.
Most of the other nuts and bolts are carryovers from the previous generation, like Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, digital compass, and GPS. But one newcomer, the three-axis gyro, will work in tandem with the accelerometer to provide a new API that developers can access to enhance the control of their games.
iPhone 4 will be available for preorder starting a week from tomorrow, June 15th, and will be released on June 24th here in the US and a few other countries, with a more widespread rollout to follow in the latter part of July. White and black will still be the two color choices, only now the white version includes a matching white faceplate for the first time. Both colors will come in either 16GB ($199) or 32GB ($299) capacities for qualifying AT&T customers.
Overall, this is a huge upgrade really for anyone using any model of the iPhone currently, but especially for 3G users who didn't upgrade last year. Since 3GS users will be able to get the full upgrade to iOS 4 (formerly known as iPhone OS 4), with the exception of the missing front-facing camera, faster A4 processor, and higher-res screen, they may be able to hold out a bit longer, especially now that multitasking is a go. Not me, I'm ready to put in my order for a 32GB white model next Tuesday at the crack of dawn (or whenever the web orders start) to replace my 3GS, which will now become the base model at only $99.
So now that we know what the new smartphone benchmark for the next year is, what does everyone think of the iPhone 4? Does it address most of the shortcomings that maybe had some of you leaning toward Android? C'mon, let's hear your thoughts, both good and bad.[Apple]