Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 4
Due to the highly publicized leak of its next-generation iPhone prototype earlier this year, one might expect the keynote address at Apple’s (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference today to be a bit short on big reveals. Yet CEO Steve Jobs has promised that it won’t disappoint, and he rarely fails to deliver.
What will he uncrate this year–aside from a new iPhone? New Mac Pros? New LED Cinema displays? Safari 5 with a new Bing search option? Mac OS 10.7? The next iteration of Apple TV? Join us here later this morning and find out. Our live coverage begins at 10 am PT.
9:38 am: San Francisco’s Moscone Center this morning is as packed as I’ve ever seen it. The attendee line for Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s keynote address began forming early this morning, and by the time I arrived at 8 am, it was already stretching from Moscone well toward the Fifth and Mission garage. No surprise. I’m told this is one of the biggest WWDCs ever, an event that sold out in record time.
10:05 am: Off to a late start because of a connectivity issue here. Jobs takes the stage to a standing ovation. “It’s great to be here.” From the audience: “We love you Steve!”
“We’ve got a packed conference for you this week,” says Jobs. We sold out in eight days.
A few updates to start. First: the iPad. We’ve sold over two million iPads…we’re selling one every three seconds…we’re now selling it in 10 countries.
10:05 am: Now a quick video reel of recent iPad launches abroad. Lots of giddy faces.
10:06 am: We’re in 10 countries today, we’re going to be in 19 by July…we’re making iPads as fast as we can.
Jobs notes that there are now 8,500 native iPad apps and they’ve been downloaded over 35 million times. That’s about 17 apps per iPad and that’s a great number, says Jobs. We’re just thrilled.
10:07 am: A quick showcase of some native iPad apps: eBay (EBAY), WebMD, Iron Man, the FT, Elements, a periodic table app by Wolfram Alpha. The Wolfram representative says his company earned more from the iPad app during first-day sales then it earned from five years of Google ads on PeriodicTable.com
10:08 am: Moving on to iBooks. Users have so far downloaded five million iBooks. That’s 2.5 books per iPad. Publishers tell Apple that as a share of total e-book sales, iBooks now account for 20 percent, and the figure is rising.
Today, we’ll see some enhancements to iBooks. Among them, the ability to make notes, a new control to bookmark the page and that shows bookmarks in the index of the books themselves, the ability to review and read PDFs [applause]. “What we’ve done,” says Jobs, “is to give PDFs a whole new bookshelf for PDFs in the iBooks apps….Those enhancements will be out just a little bit later this month.”
10:11 am: “Next, I’d like to talk a bit about the App Store,” says Jobs. “We support two platforms with the App Store. The first is HTML5, a fully open uncontrolled platform…anyone can write HTML5 apps and have them on our devices….The other platform is the App Store….Now you’ve read a lot about our process for approving apps. We get about 15,000 new apps a week, and they come in in about 30 different languages. Guess what? Ninety-five percent of them are approved within seven days. What about the five percent that aren’t? What are the reasons for that? One: The app doesn’t function as advertised by the developer. Two: The use of private APIs–we don’t want our apps to break. Three:The app crashes….So I think if you were in our shoes, you’d be rejecting apps for the same reasons.”
10:14 am: Jobs talks for a moment about eBay’s app. He refers to eBay CEO John Donahoe’s statement at D8 last week noting that the company’s iPhone app was responsible for $600 million in volume last year.
10:16 am: Jobs invites Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to the stage to talk about the Netflix iPad app. Hastings announces that Netflix (NFLX) will soon debut a new application for the iPhone.
10:17 am: The Netflix iPhone app will debut later this summer. For free.
10:18 am: And so begins a parade of app developers. Next up: Zynga. CEO Mark Pincus takes the stage to announce Farmville for the iPhone. Pincus chats a bit about how successful Zynga’s games have been and how active its users are. Now a quick demo of the game. Looks like the app is cross-platform. The demoer makes a point of noting that the farm she’s tending on her iPhone is the same as the one she has on Facebook: “Say goodbye to withering crops; we now have push notifications.”
10:21 am: Pincus: “With Farmville on the iPhone you can now farm anywhere and any time you want.” Evidently “tractoring” just got a whole lot better. [Not a Farmville player, so I'm not really sure why that's exciting.]
10:22 am: Farmville will debut on the iPhone by the end of June, says Pincus.
10:23 am: Today’s third demo will be from Activision (ATVI): Guitar Hero. The company has developed a new version of the game for the iPhone and iPad. It features rock-star customization, classic rock as well as newer indie stuff, gameplay that riffs off classic Guitar Hero. Activision’s game designers have optimized the new version for iPhone and touch play. Looks like it allows for whammy, pull-ons, pull-offs and “Star Power” as well.
Uh-oh. Demo guy gives us a bit of air guitar.
10:26 am: Guitar Hero is available now in the App Store. Price: $2.99.
10:26 am: Jobs returns to the stage. “Just last week we crossed five billion downloads….Now here’s my favorite stat…how much have we paid to developers to date: $1 billion. This is one of the greatest things we get to do, so let’s go do it again.”
10:28 am: Moving on now to the iPhone. “There have been a lot of statistics floating around. Some are okay, some are questionable. Here are some we like: A new survey from Nielsen shows RIM (RIMM) with 35 percent market share, iPhone with 28 percent. In Q1 2010, the iPhone had over three times the market share of Android.”
Another stat: The iPhone has a 58.2 percent mobile browsing share. “These stats should help put things in perspective for you.”
10:30 am: Now a bit of iPhone history. Jobs runs down a list of iPhone updates over the years. “Today, we’re going to give the biggest update since the iPhone launched….Today, we’re launching iPhone 4.”
10:31 am: The iPhone 4 has a number of new features. Jobs will cover eight of them.
“The first feature: An all-new design. Stop me if you’ve already seen this, ” he jokes. “This is without a doubt the most beautiful, precise thing we’ve ever made….The precision with which this is made is unheard of….It’s like an old Leica camera…nothing like it today….It’s just 9.3 millimeters thick. That’s 24 percent thinner than the 3GS….It’s the thinnest smartphone on the planet.”
10:33 am: There is, indeed, a front-facing camera. Camera with LED flash on the back. SIM card tray. A second microphone.
“Now, because there have been a few photos of this around, people have asked ‘what’s this?’ What are these lines on the new iPhone….Well, there are three lines, not one….Turns out, this is part of the device’s engineering….The stainless steel bands around the device are actually integrated antennas….This has never been done before.”
10:35 am: A quick feature review: Thinnest phone ever, stainless steel for strength, optical quality glass for scratch resistance, built-in antennas.
10:36 am: The second big feature: Retina Display. What’s Retina Display? We’ve dramatically increased pixel density….We’re putting four times as many pixels in any given space….This give us far more precision….This will give us really, really sharp text when we zoom in….We’re using 326 pixels per inch….No one has ever done this before….Turns out that 300 pixels is the limit of the human retina….So once you hit that number, images and text begin looking extraordinary.”
10:38 am: Jobs pulls up two frames showing the difference in appearance between text viewed with Retina Display and text without.
“And this isn’t just for text,” says Jobs. “It’s for pictures and video as well.”
10:39 am: Moving on to a demo. Jobs pulls out an iPhone 3GS and the new iPhone 4. Their respective displays appear onscreen behind him and the difference between the two is startling.
Oops–bit of a network problem. “Our networks here are always unpredictable,” says Jobs. “You know you could help me out here if you’re on Wi-Fi by getting off for a moment.”
Uh-oh. “Could not activate cellular network.”
“Yes, I know that,” quips Jobs. “Oh jeeze…well, looks like I may not be able to show you what I wanted to.”
Jobs moves on, shows off some pictures. Returns to the browser and tries again to bring up the Web page he had hoped to show. Ultimately, he gives up.
10:44 am: Details of display for the iPhone 4: 3.5 inches, 960×640, 326 pixels per inch, 800-to-1 contrast ratio, IPS technology for wider viewing angle and superb color. The iPhone display has 78 percent of the pixels we’ve got in the iPad.
10:45 am: Jobs says existing apps will look even better on the new iPhone. “But if developers do a little bit of work and put improved images into their apps, they’ll look even better. And we suggest you do that….This is going to set the standard in displays for years to come and we don’t think anyone else is close to it.”
10:47 am: Next innovation: The iPhone 4 is powered by Apple’s A4 chip. This is, of course, the same chip that powers the iPad. In other words, this new iPhone is going to scream.
10:48 am: Jobs pulls up a diagram of the innards of the iPhone 4. He notes that Apple was able to build in a larger, improved battery. Seven hours of 3G talk, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music. 300 hours of standby [I think].
More on the A4: Up to 32 GB of storage. Quad-band HSDPA/HSUPA, 7.2 Mbps down.
10:49 am: A fourth innovation: “Remember when we added the accelerometer and that added up a whole new vista of gaming? Well, we’re taking that even farther and adding a three-axis gyro.”
It supports pitch, roll and yaw, and it’s tied to the compass and accelerometer. New CoreMotion APIs will allow some big leaps in gaming.
“Let me show you a demo. And since this demo doesn’t require the network, we should be okay.”
10:51 am: Jobs shows off onscreen movement via an iPhone Jenga game. First, without the gyroscope and then with it. When it’s activated, it enables 3-D rotation. Very impressive. Jobs plays the game for a few moments. “I did practice this a little bit,” he says, before toppling the tower.
“The gyro joins the four other sensors we have in every phone. I can’t wait to see what you all do with it.”
10:53 am: On to the fifth update: A whole new camera system.
“Everyone likes to talk about megapixels, but what we like to ask is ‘how do we take better pictures?’…What we’ve done is go from a three-megapixel camera to a five-megapixel camera, and we’ve added a backside illuminated sensor (something found in larger cameras)….These allow us to capture more photons per pixel….We’ve also added an LED flash.”
Jobs pulls up some unretouched photos taken with an iPhone 4 and they’re quite nice. Low-light photos are particularly impressive.
10:56 am: Whoa: The camera also records HD video. Full 720P at 30 frames per second.
10:56 am: The camera supports tap-to-focus video, built-in video editing, and one-click sharing via MMS, YouTube, etc.
“But we’re going even further than that,” says Jobs. “We’ve writing iMovie for iPhone.”
10:58 am: Apple’s Randy Ubillos takes the stage to demo the software. The application seems similar to the desktop version–uses projects, etc. It supports iDirect recording into its timeline. You can also import video from the camera app. Drag-and-pinch editing supported, as well as things like Ken Burns effects and themed transitions.
11:00 am: Ubillos demos titling in a movie and notes that the device uses geolocation to actually identify the locale at which a film was recorded. Five iMovie themes are included in app. Three movie export sizes up to 720P HD. And now a video reel of a short HD movie shot and edited entirely on iPhone 4. Pretty slick. Flip camera folks are probably chugging Mylanta right about now.
Jobs back on stage: “You’ll be able to buy iMovie for $4.99 from our App Store…if we approve it.”
Jobs circles back to the earlier demo that went wrong. He notes that some 500-plus Wi-Fi base stations in the room compromised the demo. “This here is a testament to how far we’ve come…some 500 base stations in the room.”
11:05 am: Bloggers are being asked to turn off their Wi-Fi and put their devices down in order for the demo to go forward. “I think bloggers have a right to blog, but if you want to see the demos, we’re not going to be able to do it,” Jobs says.”Unless someone has a better suggestion.” In reply, a number of audience members shout “Verizon!” Jobs: “We’re actually on Wi-Fi here.”
11:05 am: Moving on now to the sixth of eight new features Jobs will demo: IPhone OS4. Apple is renaming the OS, since it now runs on devices other than the iPhone. The new name is “iOS.”
The new version, iOS 4, has some 1500 new developer APIs, says Jobs. And there are over 100 new user features as well. The biggest is multitasking. “People say we weren’t first with that, and they’re right…but we wanted to do it right.”
Jobs notes Google (GOOG) co-founder Larry Page’s recent comment about multitasking running down mobile device batteries. “You know what? He’s right. And that’s why we took our time with it. We wanted to get it right.”
11:09 am: Now a demo of multitasking. Jobs opens up Pandora, selects a song to play, checks his email, fires up a browser and it finally connects to the network. He moves back to mail, swipes to bring up Pandora’s controls, turns Pandora off, begins reviewing email. There’s threading, and message-deletion has been simplified.
11:11 am: Moving on to folders and folder creation. Again, very simple. All drag and drop. Folders can be added to the dock. Jobs quickly creates a folder for all his sports apps.
Overview of iOS4: Multitasking, folders, Retina Display integration, unified mail inbox and threading, enhanced camera and photo apps, deeper enterprise support–tons of new features everywhere.
11:13 am: A few points about enterprise support–better data protection, mobile device management, SSL, VPN support, wireless app distribution.
11:13 am: Apple has added a new search engine option to iPhone–Bing. Google will stay the default. “We’re giving you the choice and you can decide now. Microsoft’s done a great job with Bing.”
11:14 am: Apple will provide developers with a golden master candidate of iOS4 today. Consumer release will follow “soon.”
Jobs: “We’re about to hit another milestone. This month we will sell our 100 millionth iOS device….There is definitely a market for your applications. No one else comes close to this.”
11:15 am: Jobs moves on, announcing that Apple is bringing iBooks to the iPhone and iPod touch as well. Same basic application, PDF support, iBook Store, etc.
Jobs: So now we’ve got iBooks on three different devices, so what can we do with them? You can download the same book to all your devices at no extra charge. You only have to buy it once…and iBooks will automatically, wirelessly at no extra charge, synch your place, your bookmarks and notes across all your devices.
11:18 am: Now a demo of iBooks on the iPhone. Jobs pulls up “Winnie the Pooh” on the video screen behind him. Same idea as iBooks for iPad. He writes himself a note, bookmarks a page. Then he returns to the book’s index page and points out that the bookmark and note now appear there. He moves on, shows off PDF support.
11:20 am: Jobs–iBooks is joining iTunes and the App Store as the third store on the iPhone. We have over 150 million accounts with credit card information. We believe this is the most in the industry.
11:21 am: Now: iAds. “Why are we doing iAds? To help our developers create low-cost ads for advertisers. With iAds, we’re trying to add emotion and interactivity to mobile ads…iAds keep you in the app, they don’t hijack users out of it.” By making sure that users know what an iAd is, they’ll know they won’t be hijacked out of an app. IAds are built right into iOS4. You don’t have to write an app to put it into your app. Apple sells and hosts the ads so all you have to do is put them in, and you’ll make money.
11:23 am: Apple has been selling iAds for just eight weeks but has already accumulated quite a list of customers: GE (GE), Chanel, AT&T (T), Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Campbell (CPB), Sears (SHLD), JC Penney (JCP), Target (TGT), Best Buy (BBY), DirectTV, TBS and…Disney (DIS) [of course].
11:25 am: Jobs pulls up an in-process Nissan ad for the company’s new electric car. “Nissan was a little hesitant to show you this…but I convinced them [laughter].”
Nissan’s iAd is essentially a 15-second video that appears along with some interactive elements. The app allows viewers to register to see additional materials. It also includes an MPG comparison chart. “This is a pretty compelling way for Nissan to get their point across….What’s more, Nissan is giving away a car through the ad.” Jobs enters to win a red Nissan Leaf.
11:29 am: Jobs–I think a lot of people are going to try to win the car. It’s a great idea…so iAds. We’re going to turn it on on July 1….So how well have we done selling iAds so far? Well, we’re pretty new at this, but I think we’re doing pretty well….We’ve sold about $60 million so far…and we’ve been selling them for just eight weeks….So we think we’re off to a great start.
Jobs again stresses that the point that iAds is to make money for developers.
11:31 am: His “eight things” overview finished, Jobs checks in with the audience? What do you think so far? [Applause]. Well, there is one more thing.
“In 2007 when we launched the iPhone, it was my privilege to make the first phone call on it to Jony Ive…and I’d like to do the same on this occasion.”
Jobs video-calls Jonathan Ive.
11:33 am: Video looks clear. Jobs again appeals to the audience to turn off Wi-Fi to prevent video freezes.
Jobs: You know this amazing. I grew up with “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek,” dreaming about stuff like this, and here it is.
Ive: I grew up the same way. And it’s real now isn’t it?
Jobs: It is real, especially if people turn their Wi-Fi off.
11:34 am: Big round of applause for the feature, which Apple is calling FaceTime video calling.
FaceTime is iPhone4-to-iPhone4 and it’s Wi-Fi-only. No set-up required.
You can use front or rear camera and you can switch between the two to show the person you’re talking to what you’re seeing. Supports portrait and landscape.
“FaceTime’s going to be Wi-Fi-only in 2010….We’ve got to work with carrier partners a little….And Apple will ship tens of millions of FaceTime devices this year, so there will be a lot of people to call.”
11:37 am: Now a FaceTime ad. Louis Armstrong soundtrack. “When you’re smiling…” Typical Apple fare. Grandparents calling grandkids. Pregnant mother showing husband live images of an ultrasound. Two people signing over the app. A cameo by Matt Damon. Big round of applause. Audience found the signing particularly moving.
Jobs: This is one of those moments that reminds us why we do what we do.
11:39 am: Jobs notes that FaceTime is based on a bunch of open standards–a bunch of alphabet-soup acronyms. “We’re going to make FaceTime an open standard…so that’s iPhone 4 and we think it’s the biggest leap forward we’ve taken so far.”
11:40 am: iPhone 4 will ship in two colors, black or white. $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB. AT&T is offering “an incredibly generous upgrade offer.” If your contract expires any time this calendar year you can agree to a new two-year contract and get those $199/$299 prices.
11:42 am: New iPhone lineup will go on-sale June 24. Preorders start a week from tomorrow. On June 24, iPhone 4 will launch in four countries. In July it will ship in 18 more.
11:43 am: In August, Apple will add 24 more countries. By September, the company will be shipping iPhone 4 in 88 countries.
11:43 am: Apple has designed some new accessories for the device: A new dock, some colorful new iPhone cases.
Upgrades for iOS will be offered for 3GS, 3G and iPod touch, though not all features will be supported. Upgrades will be free and available on June 21
11:45 am: Brief video overview of iPhone 4 with various Apple execs talking up the new device. “This is the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone….We’re bringing video chat to the world…and it’s going to change the way we communicate forever.”
11:46 am: Video reel stresses a number of points that Jobs has made so far: Retinal Display is the best mobile display to date…apps show more detail than you’ve seen on any device before…you can now switch between multiple applications and everything is as you’ve left it…intelligent folder-naming…simplified mail with threading…an LED flash for low-light pictures…HD video capture and video-editing with iMovie…iPhone 4 is simplicity, but behind it is outrageous technology…40 percent more talk time with new battery.
11:50 am: More from the video reel: “We developed an entirely new stainless-steel frame that functions as an antenna and the device’s primary structure…new high-impact glass used on front and back…even if FaceTime were the only feature we were delivering this would be an amazing device…with everything else, it’s going to change everything all over again.”
11:51 am: Jobs returns to the stage, pulls up a slide of a road sign showing the intersection of technology and liberal arts. He notes that this is what distinguishes Apple. “It’s the hardware and software coming together….It’s not just a new camera, it’s a new camera system and video-editing software….It’s the complete solution so that all of us don’t have to become system integrators.”
Jobs thanks the teams that have spent the past year developing the device. First name: Former IBMer Mark Papermaster. Applause too loud for me to catch second name. Other folks recognized: Bob Mansfield, Scott Forestall, Tim Cook.
11:54 am: Jobs wraps it up with a “This is our new baby. We hope you love it as much as we do.”
And that’s it. The keynote’s over.