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The iPhone 4 -- “one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen,” according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs -- delivers longer battery life than the third-generation iPhone in a thinner form factor and now features a real-time video-chatting application called FaceTime.
“In 2010, we’re going to take the biggest leap since the first iPhone,” Jobs said, introducing the fourth-generation iPhone during his opening keynote Monday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.
“Stop me if you’ve already seen this. But believe me, you ain’t seen it,” he said, joking about various iPhone 4 leaks in recent months. “It’s one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen. The precision with which this is made is beyond any consumer product we’ve ever seen.”
Apple will release the fourth edition of its iPhone on June 24, Jobs said. The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and electronics maker will sell two flavors of iPhone 4 -- a 16-GB device priced at $199 and a 32-GB edition priced at $299. Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4 on June 15 and buyers will have their choice of either a black or white version.
The 9.3-millimeter iPhone 4 is 24 percent thinner than its predecessor and is built around the same ARM-based A4 central processor that powers Apple’s iPad media tablet. The iPhone 4’s stainless steel frame provides structural integrity while also serving as the smartphone’s antenna -- “a marvel of engineering,” according to Jobs.
Speaking to a packed house at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, Jobs paced the stage for the better part of two hours, detailing the new device’s features and driving several demos from his own iPhone 4. Prior to the doors opening, a line of more than 5,000 software developers and other Apple fans snaked around three-quarters of the downtown San Francisco block where Apple hosted WWDC 2010.
The iPhone 4 has a 5-megapixel camera on the back that takes stills as well as 720p HD video. A second, front-facing camera makes the FaceTime video chatting application possible -- but only where WiFi is available. FaceTime doesn’t work with normal cellphone carrier signals, Jobs said.
The iPhone 4 has another new built-in hardware feature, a three-axis gyroscope that along with the smartphone’s accelerometer provides six-axis motion sensing. Jobs demonstrated one application of the device’s improved perception of pitch, roll and yaw with a full-body game of video Jenga.
The 3.5-inch, scratch-resistant glass display is the delivery vehicle for what Apple calls “retina apps.” The iPhone 4 ups the previous-generation device’s resolution to 960x640 pixels, or 326 pixels per inch, to deliver image fidelity in tune with the human retina, according to Apple’s chief executive.
Jobs said Apple had also enhanced data security and device manageability on the latest iPhone in response to feedback from business customers. Some 40 percent of iPhones are purchased by “enterprise users,” according to one AT&T executive’s recent comments, though it’s unlikely that businesses themselves are purchasing anywhere close to that number of units as approved smartphones for employees.