On 7th June Steve Jobs took the stage at the 2010 WWDC to announce the fourth version of the iPhone hardware. Full details of the improvements over the 3GS model have been well covered elsewhere, so here’s a brief summary:
- 960 by 640 pixel display with 800 to 1 contrast ratio using an IPS (same as iPad) panel
- A4 processor, also same as used in the iPad
- Adds 802.11n wireless
- Up to 7 hours talk time (3G), 300 hours standby, 10 hours WiFi internet use, 40 hours audio playback, 10 hours of video playback
- 16 or 32Gb storage
- Available in white or black, with colour edge covers offered
- New 5 Megapixel backside illuminated camera sensor for better low light images
- 640×480 front camera for self portraits and video calls
- LED flash
- 720p video recording
- Three axis Gyroscope
- iMovie software available to run on the phone for $4.99
The standout features for me are the improved camera and 720p video recording. The Apple iPhone camera page has some un-retouched samples at the bottom of the page that can be zoomed to full size. While none of them are really low light (there are a couple of low light smaller examples near the top) they offer quality good enough for holiday snaps. The popular phrase “the best camera is the one you have with you” doesn’t present too much of a compromise for the average consumer. The availability of iMovie for iPhone 4 is a big bonus, though it appears to be limited to the new iPhone with no word on backward compatibility with the 3GS.
My hope is that Apple will provide some way of transferring photo and video from the iPhone 4 to the iPad, where a version of iMovie and iPhoto would provide much easier editing. The iPad camera connection kit could easily do this, and both devices offer wireless connectivity that would make it a cheaper option.
Uk networks O2, Orange and Vodafone have announced availability of the iPhone 4 on 24th June, but have yet to release details of pricing. O2 have promised a limited time offer for those in existing iPhone contracts wishing to upgrade. Hopefully this will match the AT&T offer to cancel up to six months remaining contract if the new iPhone is taken with a new two year contract.
Price wise the new iPhone is $199 for 16Gb and $299 for 32Gb. No word yet on UK pricing but I’m expecting £170 and £260 if the same conversion as the iPad is used.
Earlier this week Apple removed the MyFrame photo frame application from the app store. There’s nothing new about apps being pulled, but in this instance the app in question was a high quality photo frame capable of displaying the time, date, weather, notes and twitter feeds. I can say it’s high quality as I paid for the app and used it whenever my iPad was sitting on my desk while I worked at the hackintosh. The app stopped working a couple of days ago which I initially thought was caused by jailbreaking the iPad, but now I’m not so sure.
From the Groundhog software blog and Macworld article it appears MyFrame was pulled from the app store for using widgets, and the reply to an email sent to Steve Jobs said, “We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry.”
While this is good news for a much requested feature in the upcoming iPad OS 4, it sucks for a useful app. Especially an app that was recently upgraded to version 1.2, the third release approved by Apple. There also appears to be some confusion at the app store. Clicking the link on the Groundhog software site to buy the app took me to the UK iTunes store with a warning the app was not currently available in the UK, but was in the US store. This happened as I have both a UK and US account from my recent US iPad purchase. Agreeing to be taken to the US store then gave an error that the app is not available there either.
The most puzzling thing here is why Apple doesn’t contact app developers and give them the chance to remove whatever conflicts with planned OS features or new unannounced ‘rules’. I’ve just fired of this question from the iTunes report a problem feature, any reply will be added as a new post.
I paid for MyFrame a couple of weeks ago and use it often. The 1.2 update added more control over the photo slideshows and some other great features. Then earlier this week it stopped working. After launching the app would take a while to display anything, then freeze and finally exit back to the iPad desktop. I’ve since found out the app has been removed from the app store, is this related to the sudden problems I am experiencing?
Also, now the app has been removed and there is no word on future updates or re-admittance to the app store, will Apple be issuing a refund to all the loyal Apple customers who paid for this app? Or is the developer going to get a big bill?
While the iPad’s built in apps are an impressive if incomplete start, the real strength of the iPad will be it’s app store. Like the iPhone has already proved, having a vast catalog of easily available and mostly cheap software is a huge selling point. Currently the available iPad apps are a bit frustrating due to the amount of excellent iPhone titles just begging for a bigger screen but not yet available. Here are some of the titles that have impressed so far.
Using a huge amount of high quality time lapse photo’s played like a video this app makes for a great desktop clock. All of the photo slideshow/clock apps tried so far have missing features or problems, but Magic Window is both simple and flexible enough to not irritate. There are currently fifteen photo sets available but not all are installed by default. This sensibly keeps the initial download smaller and required sets are added from within the app. ‘Nightfall over the San Francisco Bay’ and “Goblin Valley State Park’ are two of my favourites, and the ability to control the speed of playback makes this a perfect iPad app to show off to photo loving friends. Read more…
The iPad really comes alive when you start using the touchscreen and interacting with the OS and applications. The most common layout in landscape mode is the left third of the screen showing a list of some sort while the middle and right thirds show the selected document or view. The Settings app below shows this, with the list of setting groups on the left and the options on the right.
Turning to portrait mode shows the same options squeezed in width for the narrower dimension, while other apps such as Mail show a full screen view with a dropdown list. Read more…
The UK release of the iPad is only a few days away on 28th May, so here are some thoughts on the iPad and using it in the UK. These are based on using a 32Gb WiFi only iPad in both the US and UK.
The Hardware is very good, especially for a first generation device. There are plenty of comments online from those waiting for the next generation iPad, the one with the camera and all the other things on the wish list. There are also those waiting for the price to drop, but given the current level of sales that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Read more…
As widely predicted Steve Jobs has today unveiled the iPad tablet computer. There’s little in the specifications that hasn’t been discussed over the past few weeks, so here’s a brief rundown on what’s included.
- 9.5 x 7.5 x 0.5 inch body
- 9.7-inch LED-backlit glossy Multi-Touch display with 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi). Described as widescreen at the Apple iPad specs page, maybe the reality distortion field has broken on this feature.
- Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
- 3G on selected models – UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900,1800, 1900 MHz)
- 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive. Interesting choice of description, drive not memory. Will this be externally accessible?
- 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
- Built-in 25Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery offering up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
The hardware specs are good, but the apps are even better. iWork for iPad looks very usable with the optional keyboard dock, and media apps closer to iLife than iPhone make the iPad look like an accomplished media device. Pricing also starts lower than was widely expected:
The only thing I find disappointing about the iPad is the home screen, which looks like nothing more than an upscaled iPhone screen with a background image and way too small icons. Given how smooth and intuitive the demonstrated apps look is this really what Apple plans to present as the starting point of the iPad experience?