Is the iPhone 4 all that?

About a week ago, Apple introduced the iPhone 4, their latest model of the smartphone that first came out in 2007. Since iPhone, in a few short years, has already grown to represent about 40 per cent of Apple’s revenue, it’s easy to see how important this is to the Cupertino-based company. True to form, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco exuding his usual excitement and confidence.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 19 Jun 2010, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:52 AM

There may be nothing revolutionary about Apple’s latest creation but arguably it’s the display that’s going to make the biggest splash. Apple’s engineers managed to squeeze four times the number of pixels onto a screen that is the same size as that of iPhone 3GS. With 960x640 pixels, text should appear much crisper making it easier to read especially for extended periods of time.

Apple’s online store and app for books, iBooks, is a part of iOS 4, the new operating system they will release for free on June 21. iOS 4 also brings multi-tasking, organising apps in folders, digital zoom, and more. One area where Research In Motion (RIM), makers of Blackberry will have to pay attention is that iOS 4 now has full Microsoft Exchange 2010 support as well as support for multiple Exchange accounts. That should make Apple’s latest smartphone more attractive to corporate users.

Back to the new iPhone, the main camera on the back has been improved to 5-megapixel and it also supports HD video recording. This is an improvement from the 3GS model, which records 640x480 and now you get 720p resolution instead. They’ve even announced an app for advanced video editing right on the iPhone, including adding titles and transitions. For $4.99 you will be able to get the iMovie app, which seems to mimic much of the functionality of the iMovie software for Mac OS X, part of Apple’s iLife ‘09 suite.

Apple also added a camera on the front of the iPhone for their video calling functionality called Face Time. Users will be able to place video calls but only between iPhone 4 devices. Apple said that Face Time only works over Wi-Fi for at least the rest of 2010, opening the possibility of video calling over 3G at a later date. Although there have been video calling solutions out in the market for some time, chances are that what Apple offers is better implemented and will attract more users.

Critics may say that iPhone 4 doesn’t represent anything new and that other smart phones have had all of the features and more for some time now. That may be true if you look at individual components. For example, HD video recording has been available in smartphones from Samsung and others. That way of criticising Apple ignores the fact that they put together a superior package and deliver a user experience that is still head of the competition.

Criticism is also coming at Apple for increasingly building a “walled garden,” meaning that users don’t have a choice in where they get their music from, where they buy their TV shows from, where they get their apps from, etc.

For now, it looks like iPhone 4 is the smartphone to beat, at least until something better comes along or Apple launches another iPhone. Improved camera and display, HD video recording, multi-tasking, a new slim design all contribute to making it a device that undoubtedly will sell very well, like the previous generations of iPhones have.

Although neither du nor Etisalat have commented on the UAE arrival of iPhone 4, Apple has said that it will be in 88 countries by September, which presumably includes the UAE. Local pricing is also not available at this time but a safe guess is that it’ll be in line with the current price of iPhone 3GS. The price in the USA is $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model but that’s on a contract with AT&T.

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