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ktest/Tech Report – iPhone 4 preview

Under pressure from a series of well-received Android phones, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, yesterday unveiled a new, sleeker version of the popular iPhone, which will likely vault Apple back into the lead in an increasingly competitive smartphone market.

Apple’s flagship device was due for a facelift and the iPhone 4’s more compact, thinner design and a raft of new features were met with general approval from analysts and Apple’s army of faithful followers.

At just 9.3 millimeters, the fourth-generation iPhone (not to be confused with 4G wireless networking technology), is 24% thinner than the existing iPhone 3GS. It has glass on the front and back and steel around the sides. Although the screen size is the same, Apple has upgraded the resolution to 960x640 vs. 480x320 for the 3GS. The 326 pixels per inch “retina display” is noticeably sharper than its predecessor and will make everything from text to video that much easier on the eye.

The iPhone 4 sports a 5 megapixel camera with a 5X zoom and an LED flash. The iPhone 4 also has a second front-facing camera that can be used for video chat. However, in what is perhaps a reflection of the overcrowded state of AT&T’s network, that particular feature will initially be restricted to chat between iPhone 4 owners and only over Wi-Fi. It’s hoped that video calls over cellular networks will be available sometime next year.

The upgraded camera also includes high-definition video capture and the ability to edit videos using the new iMovie app for the iPhone. Other new features include a built-in 3-axis gyroscope for enhanced game play, and an extended battery life, offering 40% more talk time and up to 10 hours of web surfing or video watching.

Along with the new iPhone come several new noteworthy apps. Fans of Facebook’s popular FarmVille game will now be able to play on the iPhone, and movie streaming and rental from Netflix will be available later this summer. Apple’s iBooks e-reader software will also be available, allowing users to sync books across all three mobile multimedia platforms – the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad.    

The iPhone 4 will be in stores June 24, with pre-ordering available from June 15. For new customers,  the 16GB version will cost $199, with the 32GB model priced at $299. Both versions require a two-year service contract with AT&T, which remains the exclusive provider for the iPhone in the U.S.

The price of the current 8GB iPhone 3GS will drop to $99, offering new subscribers a lower-cost option to join the iPhone bandwagon. Jobs also revealed that AT&T will subsidize existing customers if they are in the final six months of their current plan but want an immediate upgrade. Subscribers can check their eligibility status by visiting att.com/wireless/iphone or by dialing *639#.  



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