The inside of the iPhone 4 packs a serious punch. It has the same Apple A4 chip that is also used in the iPad, which has 1 GHz of processing power — although Apple underclocks it to improve battery life. If you are coming from an iPhone 3G, you are going to be very pleased with the results because you will indeed notice a drastic change in performance.
Apple iOS 4
UPDATE: As noted earlier, this smartphone has been upgraded iOS 5.0. More information on this new version is available in Brighthand’s review.
Apple’s latest smartphone is launching with iOS 4, the latest version of Apple’s operating system. This brings a range of new features, including the greater support for multitasking I’ve mentioned several times now.
iPhones have always been able to run Apple’s own apps in the background, but the new version gives third-party software a limited way of doing this. Apps are essentially paused, and only some special service tasks will be truly running in the background.
When you hit the Home button twice, the current page you are looking at shifts upward, and up from the bottom rises icons for four applications that are already running. From here you can just tap one of those applications and be taken to it.
For an in-depth look at this new operating system, go to: Apple iOS 4.0 Review
This smartphone has a typical quad-band HSUPA chip for data and voice, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1. There is a difference in data-transfer speed in the iPhone 4 compared to the iPhone 3GS, but it isn’t that much of a leap.
The iPhone 4 is experiencing signal issues when you hold it in your hands, especially in your left hand. This is due to the iPhone’s redesigned antenna. The conductivity of your palm is affecting where the two trim pieces meet, and as a result, the signal drops. As soon as the phone is set down, the signal returns to full strength. People that are using cases aren’t having this issue, and it generally doesn’t happen when you hold the phone in your right hand, only left.
The latest version of Apple’s smartphone is the first with two cameras. The main camera sports a 5 megapixel resolution. That may seem low, but Apple has something called an illuminated sensor that is more sensitive to light. This increases the light being brought in, which raises the photon count, and the pictures are clearer.
As you can tell by the pictures in this review, the camera has a pretty good quality for it to be just a cell phone. I personally have always wanted the iPhone to have a camera good enough to replace a stand-alone point-and-shoot digital camera, and now it has. I was considering buying a nice new digital camera sometime soon, but don’t see the need anymore.
There is no need to worry about low light situations, as the iPhone has a built in flash now as well.
As far as video recording quality goes, there are no complaints here for the 720p capture quality. Again, for a phone, this is above par. The only downside is the size of HD video and storage on the iPhone. An hour of recording is anywhere from 4 GB to 5 GB, which can add up if you don’t sync back to your Mac or PC. You also can’t upload that video in full 720p quality to YouTube unless you use the iMovie app, which is $4.99 in the App store. Otherwise, the quality won’t be 720p. They had to get us somewhere, didn’t they?
The iPhone 4 is the first with video calling. This has never been popular, but Apple hopes to change it.
The second front-facing camera comes into place here. This is VGA quality, so it won’t be anything like the backside camera, but it’s good enough. The FaceTime app is really cool if you are using it to communicate with someone you don’t always get to see in person.
There are two huge downsides to this at the moment though. First, it can only be between two iPhone 4’s, and no previous iPhone model. Second, and the biggest, is that currently it can only be used over Wi-Fi. Apple and AT&T really need to come to an agreement to have video calling allowed over 3G, and the way AT&T is right now, that won’t be anytime soon.
To initiate a FaceTime call, you must call the person first, and then switch over. This will only use a minute of your voice plan, and once you are connected, it is all on Wi-Fi, so your minutes don’t go dwindling away.
You can switch between both rear-facing and front-facing cameras, so you can show someone what you are looking at, instead of just having them look at you all the time.
As more iPhone 4’s get to the public, and eventually the ability to be able to use FaceTime over the 3G network, I can see this really catching on.
The iPhone 4 is the first version of Apple’s smartphone with a Gyroscope, which now gives it the ability to sens six axis’ of rotation. I can’t wait to see the new applications that take advantage of it. Along with the accelerometer and magnetometer already included, any game that you have played where the device has to be controlled via motion will be incredibly precise now. Augmented reality applications will also be something to look for in the coming months.
The iPhone 4 also has a bigger battery, which seems to match up with Apple’s own timings.