It’s June and there are long lines of people forming around Apple Stores across the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan which can only mean one thing. It is the iPhone 4 launch. We’ve got reports from the field, initial impressions and some surprising revelations. Here are 10 things you need to know about the iPhone 4.
1. The iPhone 4 is a first generation device – While many will argue that the iPhone 4 is the fourth in a progression of phones, it is an entirely new version 1 device. The new antennas neatly tucked in the steel frame, the hardened glass enclosure, the striking 960×640 ultra-vivid Retina display and the 1GHz Apple A4 processor are all brand new as is the iOS4 operating system. Seeing how everything will work together and what bugs show up will take time. As with any first generation product, early adopters beware.
2. The iPhone 4 will be sold unlocked in Canada – Canadians will be able to buy the iPhone 4 from Apple directly and they will get the phone unlocked. This means more cash up front but no three-year lockdown. You will need to choose between Rogers, Bell, Telus and Virgin Mobile as a service provider. The beauty of this is you can switch MicroSIMs when traveling without worrying about unlocking your phone.
3. US iPhones will be difficult to unlock and use in Canada – Canadians who are tempted to cross the border and buy an iPhone 4 will be in for some challenges. First of all, the iPhone 4 is locked to AT&T and iOS4 Jailbreaking (hacking) and unlocking is risky. The Micro SIM card is smaller than the SIM card standard used by Canadian carriers and there’s aways the chance that future updates will brick jailbroken iPhone 4’s. Best bet is to wait like everybody else. Or get a “factory unlocked” iPhone from countries that sell it.
4. iPhone 4 is more powerful than the iPad – Yes, they share the same 1 Ghz Apple A4 processor but the iPhone 4 has 512MB RAM, double that of the iPad. This means users should see faster performance all around and better multitasking (specially since the screen is so much smaller even if it has a higher pixel density).
5. FaceTime video calls require two iPhone 4’s – Apple’s dual camera set-up in the iPhone 4 is designed around its new open-source FaceTime application. This is a great feature but it can only work if you have two iPhone 4’s on Wi-Fi connections. FaceTime doesn’t even work with Skype or Apple’s own iChat video conferencing software on their Macs. Hopefully that will change soon. Early demos of FaceTime have been very impressive with quality being surprisingly clear with well saturated images and synched video and audio.
6. The iPhone 4 will need a case – While it is 24% thinner than the previous iPhone 3GS and it has the highly touted hardened glass case, it isn’t unbreakable. To avoid scratches and shattering a solid protective case is required, no ifs and buts. Neoprene, leather, hard plastic – anything is better than having the iPhone 4 naked. Apple is even selling their own iPhone cases, called bumpers, for the first time. The flimsy Bumper case apparently fixes the antenna issue outlined below at no. 9.
7. The white iPhone 4 is going to be hard to find. For some reason, the white iPhone 4 is having trouble getting out of the gate. We’re not sure how the colour can impact the device’s production but below is Apple’s notice on the issue follows.
White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected, and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.
8. The camera on the iPhone 4 is amazing – The iPhone 4 will have an all new backlit 5 Megapixel camera that records video in 720p HD resolution. More importantly, the accelerometers and the new gyroscope will compensate for movement and shake making it a pretty advanced image stabilized camera. With touch to focus, geolocation from GPS and 3G will make this a totally useful camera.
9. There are early reports of issues – Signals dropping, reception issues and yellow lines in the screen are being documented. Some are saying that holding the iPhone 4 with your left hand seriously impacts the reception. Covering the lower-left corner of the iPhone 4 causes the signal to drop dramatically. This is nothing new since other non-Apple phones have exhibited the same problem. The antenna is integrated into the phone’s frame so it could be a grounding issue or simply a software glitch. This is day one so we’ll have to keep checking to see what people are experiencing.
10. A number of apps will need to be updated – iOS4 with multitasking just came out a few days prior to the iPhone 4 release so the apps you have now still can’t take advantage of the iOS. In the next few weeks to months we can expect massive updates/upgrades to most of the major apps so that they can make the most out of the new iOS
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