Even though I couldn’t be there in person to witness the goodness at the WWDC today, I was able to listen along live in my car via Twuner. This is a talking Twitter app that lets you actually hear the tweets you want to follow. I was traveling during much of Steve Jobs’ keynote and was to keep up with what was happening almost as quickly as Steve was saying it. My assistant Kat was sitting in her office at home following the updates via the live blog at MacRumors and taking notes for me.
The news of the day, of course, is iPhone 4. Pre-sale orders begin very soon: on June 15th! The device will be available for purchase on June 24th. The pricing is about what was expected with a new two-year contract: $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model. Although you’ll have to choose between black and white as the basic color, you’ll be able to use one of the new “bumper” cases to change things up. They will sell for $29.00, and come in six colors: black, white, pink, light blue, orange and lime green.
Steve spent more than an hour discussing what he feels are eight of the most important features of iPhone 4. He chuckled about the fact that we “saw” photos already back when Gizmodo had one of the devices in their hot little hands. He was quick to point out, though, that we hadn’t really seen it. The design is completely new and is “beyond a doubt the most precise things, one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever made.” There is glass on the front and rear of the phone with stainless steel running around the side. The top features a headphone jack, a second mic for noise cancellation and a sleep/wake button. The bottom has another mic, a 30-pin connector and a speaker. Jobs boasts that this is the thinnest smartphone on the planet at only 9.3mm thick… 24% thinner than the current iPhone 3GS model.
The first audible gasp from those assembled came when Steve grinned almost smugly as he described the display. Retina display is a brand-new technology that dramatically increases pixel density. 300 pixels per inch is the limit of the human retina when held about ten inches away from the eye. The display on the iPhone 4 features 326 ppi – which is four times as many pixels as before in the same amount of space! Text will appear on the screen just like you were reading a “fine printed book.” The screen resolution will be 960 x 640 pixels with an 800:1 contrast ratio.
Next up, Jobs reiterated what we already knew about how the phone will be powered. iPhone 4 packs an Apple-developed A4 chip which is incredibly small – yet incredibly powerful. The bigger battery coupled with this chip means 40% more talk time. Steve estimates you’ll get 7 hours of talk time, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of both WiFi browsing and video consumption, 40 hours of music listening and about 300 hours of standby time. This is absolutely incredible, and is a development that we’ve long hoped for. Thanks to this chip, the device will have 32GB of storage and will be capable of 7.2 Mbit down and 5.8 Mb up – as soon as carriers support those types of speeds.
The next announcement was met with raucous cheers. iPhone 4 will have a Gyroscope included! The Gyroscope coupled with the accelerometer gives you six-axis motion sensoring. Steve demonstrated by playing a game that looks quite similar to Jenga – he lost the game, by the way. With the Gyroscope enabled, rotation is insanely better. Rotation of 3D objects is unbelievably smooth.
The new camera system had me pumping my fist in the air… right in the car as I was driving. You already know that I use my current iPhone 3GS to take a lot of pictures and videos. The new iPhone is going to make this about a gazillion times better. With both front and rear-facing cameras, you’ll never miss the perfect shot again. The camera is 5 megapixels, and Jobs is quick to point out that a good camera has nothing to do with megapixels – it’s all about the actual photo quality. Even better news is that I will be able to use my iPhone to record HD video in full 720p at 30fps! The quality shown in the demonstration was honestly incredible by all accounts. You’ll be able to tap to focus your video and have built-in video editing. One-click sharing makes life much easier. The LED flash can even stay on during recording.
Insert drum roll here!
Along with that HD recording goodness comes the announcement that iMovie will now be available for the iPhone! You’ll be able to record directly in to your timeline or choose from previously recorded clips and videos on your device. The workflow is very similar to the desktop version… just on a smaller screen. You can edit your movies with themes, transitions and titles. Change the scale of your timeline by pinching the screen, much as you would on the iPad. You can easily add music, switch themes and use geolocation data. Export your creation to 260p, 520p or 720p. The app will be available for only $4.99!
The iPhone OS has been renamed to iOS 4. There are more than 100 new user features. This update will be available for FREE beginning June 21st for your iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G (with not all features supported) and your iPod Touch (again – not all features supported, and not on first generation devices). That’s right – this update will finally be free! Steve went over all of the features that were previously released. iOS4 has multitasking, folders, retina display technology, enhancements to mail, camera and photo apps and much deeper Enterprise integration. Microsoft Bing was officially named as the third search option for iOS4, with Google still being the default option.
iBooks and iAds were discussed for a few moments, and then Steve unveiled the last big surprise of the day: FaceTime. FaceTime will be face-to-face video chatting from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4. The video demonstration showed a grandparent chatting with their grandchild, a dad traveling on business chatting with his children back home and two people conversing via sign language. This was met with many loud cheers and wild clapping from the audience.
My iPhone 3GS has served me well in the time I have had it. However, it is currently whimpering and cowering in a corner. I think it already knows what its fate is going to be come June 24th. What are your thoughts on all of the announcements made during the WWDC keynote? Are you counting down the days until you can officially have an iPhone 4 in your hands, or are you still not convinced you need an iPhone?
Credit for all of the photos in this post go to MacRumors.