iPhone 4 Gets Video Calling: Launches June 24

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Apple introduced its next generation iPhone 4 promising to upset the smartphone market once again with a new “FaceTime” video phone call feature that provides iPhone4 to iPhone 4 video WiFi calls without the need for a special set up. (Apple is working with the carriers on a cellular version). This along with a new 4X brighter screen, multitasking, HD video and 24 percent slimmer case, were some of the main highlights of the phone that goes on sale June 24, said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Jobs showed off the possibilities of “FaceTime” video calls including allowing the deaf to communicate visually by sign language. A new “Retina” display promises to reset the bar in smartphone viewing with 4x more pixels than the current iPhone, and 4x better contrast ratio. Type face is sharper on the 3.5-inch display as are videos and pictures. Battery life for the iPhone 4 is improved by 40 precent to 7 hours of 3G talk or 6 hours of 3G browsing. For games, the device also gets a gyroscope on top of its current accelerometer for 6-axis motion sensing so that an image on your phone appears to spin when you do, as best we can tell from Engadget’s semi real-time reporting of Monday’s event.
“iPhone 4 is the biggest leap since the original iPhone,” said Jobs. “FaceTime video calling sets a new standard for mobile communication, and our new Retina display is the highest resolution display ever in a phone, with text looking like it does on a fine printed page. We have been dreaming about both of these breakthroughs for decades.”
Another standout feature for the iPhone and iPod touch is the launch of Apple’s advertising platform, iAds, July 1 with $60 billion in advertising already committed from top brands such as Nissan, Best Buy, Target, GE, AT&T, and Citi. iAds will comprise nearly half of all mobile advertising, by the second half of the year, said Jobs.
“iAd offers advertisers the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the web, and offers users a new way to explore ads without being hijacked out of their favorite apps,” said the Apple exec. iAds is expected to help developers earn money.
Netflix is coming to the iPhone this summer and will let you start watching on an iPad and resume viewing on your phone. A Guitar Hero app ($2.99) from Activision launches on the iPhone as of Monday and an iMovie app ($4.99) that can make videos of your photos will soon be available. The iPhone also now offers iBooks and Apple pointed out that its iBookstore, first launched on the iPad, has a 22 percent share of eBooks sold. (Apple will also add a PDF viewer inside the iBook app later this month).
Back to the iPhone 4; Jobs claims it is the slimmest smartphone to date. It now has two cameras and goes from a 3 to 5 MP camera with 5X digital zoom, tap to focus and LED flash. It claims over 100 new features. The display is said to be so dense that the human eye can’t distinguish individual pixels. It has 960 x 640 pixels—four times as many pixels as the iPhone 3GS and 78 percent of the pixels on the larger iPad.
The iPhone 4 will be available in both black and white from $199 (16GB) to $299 (32GB) with pre orders starting Tuesday, June 15. The quad band HDSPA phone with an Apple A4 processor will ship later this month to 5 countries and 18 more in July. For current iPhone owners whose contracts expire in 2010, AT&T will allow you to upgrade to the new phone up to six month early.
Jobs also touted the continued meteoric rise of the iPhone OS and iTunes. He reported 5 billion app downloads from the App Store which has won developers $1 billion in fees from Apple (which gives developers a 70 percent cut of app revenue). There are now 8,500 iPad apps in the App Store which have been downloaded over 35 million times: about 17 apps per iPad. eBay alone has transacted $600 million in sales on its eBay app for the iPhone. Jobs also made it a point to note that according to new Nielsen study, the iPhone enjoys a market share 3x that of Android (28 versus 9 percent).
Source: Apple and Engadget
Photos via Engadget
Update! ABI Research senior analyst Michael Morgan says Apple is now delivering a truly tiered smartphone portfolio that can address both entry level consumers and leading edge prosumers. But…consumers who are considering a switch to the iPhone 4 with tethering will also have to contend with the new tiered data plans recently announced by AT&T. The new iPhone has a lot to offer, but iPhone newcomers must decide whether it is worth the risk of a limited data plan for a data-hungry device.”

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