In a hand-to-hand comparison with the new iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3Gs, one will instantly notice how much thinner Apple made the new product. The iPhone 4 is 24 percent thinner than the 3Gs and you can tell, as I got a chance to handle the new model shortly after Jobs finished his speech introducing the highly anticipated product.
The iPhone 4 has a lighter, more industrialized look. It has a handsome stainless steel and glass casing that accentuates its thinner profile. Jobs called it the "thinnest smart phone on the planet" and I have no reason to dispute that, based on my experience.
And while I couldn't tell during my time with the phone, which goes on sale on June 24th, the thin phone boosts a bigger battery, perhaps the most notable improvement to address concerns from owners. The bigger battery lets users talk for up to seven hours, according to Apple's specs. The improved battery power can also accommodate 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music, 10 hours of wireless Internet browsing, and an unheard of 300 hours of standby time.
The iPhone 4 also runs on the A4 processor, the same chip that powers the iPad tablet device. You could really notice a difference in speed.
While the iPhone 4's signature new feature - a "FaceTime" application that enables video calling - is still a work in progress, its massively improved screen resolution, processing speed and operating software will no doubt please the millions of consumers who will begin purchasing the device on June 24. And while it's too soon to make a final judgement on screen clarity, you could see an improvement. I want to test the phone in different lighting situations to get a better feel.
Other notable developments with the iPhone 4:
Retina Display Technology
The most impressive thing about the new iPhone by far is its screen resolution, made capable by Apple's Retina Display Technology. The difference between viewing pictures and video on the iPhone 4 compared to previous versions is comparable to watching television on an HDTV set rather than an analog TV. Further, clarity of written text in news apps like the New York Times provide for a much more pleasurable reading experience.
FaceTime app has room for improvement
The front-facing camera of the iPhone 4 powers the most technologically advanced component of the new device - real-time video calling. While the FaceTime application is indeed state-of-the-art, it is limited by only being available via wireless Internet access. Jobs noted that he hopes carriers (eventually, we hope, more than just AT&T) will be able to handle the higher data loads associated with the new feature. As well, FaceTime video calling can only be done between users who each own iPhone 4.
It's still all about the apps
A demonstration of the "multi-tasking" feature of the iPhone's new operating system showcased how users will be able to run multiple apps at one time. Jobs displayed how a music app like Pandora can be run in concert with a new and improved email client (emails are now organized and "threaded" into conversations) or one of the now more than 225,000 apps available at the iTunes App Store.
Folders can now also be used to segment together apps into multiple categories. Rather than displaying individual apps across multiple screens, apps for sports or social networking or navigation can now be found in one place. The new operating system automatically names the folders based on the type of apps within them. Users can then super-cede default names with their own descriptions.