Steve Jobs announced iPhone 4 — the redesigned, iPad-like model that surfaced in April in prototype form — during his morning keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.
Apple is also adding Microsoft’s Bing search engine to the phone, confirming speculation that has swirled for several months. Bing is a listed search engine option on the phone, along with Yahoo and Google.
The iPhone 4 will cost $199 for a 16 gigabyte model and $299 for a 32 gig and come in white or black. It goes on sale June 24. The iPhone 3GS will now cost $99, and AT&T will let people out of their contracts up to six months early to upgrade.
Jobs said the iPhone 4 is 24 percent thinner the iPhone 3GS. It has glass on the front and back and a metal band forming the border and supporting the antenna. The phone also has a front-facing camera, HD video capture (720p) and a screen with Apple’s new higher-density “retina display.”
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
As expected, the phone’s software — which also runs the iPad — is being upgraded to support multitasking.
It’s biggest advance, though, may be in battery life. Jobs claims it has seven hours of talk time, six hours of browsing on 3G networks, 10 hours on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 300 hours of standby. If the battery claims prove true, it will be more interesting to some buyers than which network the phone uses.
Apple is calling it iPhone 4 because it’s the fourth generation of the iPhone, not because it has 4G wireless service.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t call it the iPhone 4G, but the name may still confuse some consumers and provide fodder for online comment spats between iPhone 4 and HTC Evo 4G fans. One point for the Evo crowd: The iPhone 4’s new iPhone-to-iPhone video chat feature will only work on Wi-Fi this year, while the Evo’s streaming live via Qik.com.
Engadget noted that Jobs also had a demo gaffe when the iPhone 4 he was showing froze while downloading The New York Times. “Deadly silent here,” the blog noted. Later Jobs said it was because there was so much Wi-Fi activity in the room and asked the audience to shut down their network cards and mobile hotspots. I wonder how the phone will work a busy conference session or an office with a bunch of different networks running.
Earlier standouts were the announcements that Netflix will stream to the iPhone starting this summer and that PDF support will be built into the iPad via an update coming later this month.
Jobs said the iPad’s bookstore has captured 22 percent of the electronic book market already, and saw 5 million downloads in the first 65 days. The big question, though, is whether all those iPad buyers will continue to use the thing as an e-book after their initial burst of downloads.
He also noted that more than 5 billion apps have been downloaded via iTunes, and Apple’s royalty payments to developers recently crossed $1 billion.
The iPhone’s new software will be provided free to owners of the iPhone 3GS and 3G and iPod Touch but the latter two won’t support all the new features.