Technically Geeking: iPhone 4 iOS 4 iNeedaLife 4 Jun09

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Technically Geeking: iPhone 4 iOS 4 iNeedaLife 4

It’s that time of year again when Apple announces a “revolutionary” new device that will “change everything” and send hipsters and preps alike into credit card debt to buy it. I’m referring of course to WWDC – Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in SF – and you’ve surely heard by now that there’s a new iPhone. Here’s a cheat sheet so you can talk about it with your Mac geek friends.

First, the hardware:

—- FaceTime video calling. Front facing camera means your grandpa finally gets the videophone he was promised in 1950, as long as he has Wi-Fi.
—- Faster, Stronger, Longer. New A4 processor, new casing made out of some alien glass and steel, larger battery meaning less dying.
—- HD Screen. 4 times as many pixels as the current iPhones means slicker graphics and smoother text.
—- 5 megapixel Camera with flash. No, not that Flash. Finally, you can take pictures in the dark – which always look terrific.

Now the software. This is not limited to the iPhone 4. Most or all of it will be available as a free update on the iPhone 3GS:

—- iOS 4. Formerly known as iPhone OS 4, probably re-branded due to the introduction of the iPad running a version the same OS.
—- Multitasking. Now you can run apps in the background while running other apps. Best use case is Pandora Radio running while you play Angry Birds.
—- App Folders. I’ve had this in beta on my iPhone for a while now and let me tell you, hell yes. Think “all my apps on one page!”
—- Unified Email Inbox. If like me you have more than one email account, no more going back and forth and forth and back to read your email in multiple accounts. There’s an All Inboxes view. Long overdue.
—- iAds. Apple’s answer to Google’s purchase of AdMob – the providers of pretty much any ad you have seen inside an iPhone app.
—- iBooks. The iPad’s book reading software and store – on a really small screen.
—- Tethering. Hallelujah. Use your iPhone’s 3G connection to get your laptop online when traveling. I was able to do this on my Palm Treo 5 years ago, but AT&T was scared the popular iPhone would crash their network if everyone did this. So their answer is no more unlimited data plans. If you want to download a bunch of pirated movies, don’t do it over your tethered iPhone. We’ll actually save money on iPhone data with the new plans. Instead of everyone paying $30/month for unlimited data, the max plan is $25 for 2 GB, and it goes down from there if you don’t need as much. I was a little worried about the data cap until I checked my usage and found that I haven’t gone over 200 MB in any given month. So I’m getting 10 times more for $5 less.

Will I be getting one? No. I’m getting two – one for me and one for my wife. Her hand-me-down iPhone 3G only gets about 1 hour of talk time these days. Plus I want to video call somebody right away when I get mine. It helps that AT&T is going to cut 6 months off the 18 month waiting period for discounted upgrades, so if you upgraded last June or earlier, you can upgrade immediately. $199 for 16 GB or $299 for 32 GB. Pre-order June 15th for June 24th delivery. Or not. There’s always Android.

P.S. — Doesn’t the marketing photo remind you of the obelisk from 2001? Some nerve.