Apple’s new FaceTime video calling feature looks pretty impressive but this is not what the majority of us will be using on a daily day basis – there are a few other features that will make the iPhone 4 worth buying.
1. HD video recording
Hurrah! iPhone owners will finally be able to toss any extra digital cameras they’ve been lugging around and take advantage of the high definition 5-megapixel x5 digital zoom video camera. Plus the LED light will brighten dark environments and there’s on-phone editing.
And if you need any more impetus for HD video excitement, the iMovie app will be arriving on the App Store soon so you’ll be able to add music, photos and different types of transitions as well as themes – quite a leap from the basic cutting you could do before.
Oh, and you can record and send video from within an MMS – that’s pretty cool. Plus of course you can send your video straight to YouTube or MobileMe.
Multitasking on the iPhone 4 (comes with iOS 4 update, too)
C’mon, we know it was on your wishlist; multitasking finally arrives on the iPhone. Yes, other smartphones had it first but Apple has the ecosystem and the audience down pat with the App Store so most users were willing to wait.
Access to other apps running in the background is through a double-click of the home button. If you were playing a game or some other app you can switch between this and say, email, and it will pick up right where you left off when you switch back.
Here’s where it really comes in handy: you will now be able to make Skype or other VoIP calls while running other apps or even when your phone is locked, plus GPS will run in the background and if you’ve started uploading an image or movie it will continue to do so while you get on with other things.
"Wait … I thought the iPhone had an accelerometer already," I hear you say. This makes it kinda 100 times cooler in terms of the apps and games that can be developed for the iPhone now because added to the existing gyroscope which detects up, down, left, right, back and forth, this will have more sensitivity than ever before.
The iPhone 4 is the first phone with a built-in three-axis gyroscope and will now have user acceleration, angular velocity, and rotation rate as demonstrated by Apple CEO Steve Jobs when playing a Jenga-like game designed to showcase the extra functionality.
What this means is that the iPhone will be able to tell where you, the user, are in relation to the handset itself and flat ground, as well as how fast you are moving and it what direction. Games for the iPhone will be completely different as will applications that could be used for personal health and productivity.
4. Better battery
A new battery may sound slightly boring but for those who know how quickly the 3GS iPhone drains will be happy to know there is a thinner but larger lithium ion battery and better (Apple branded A4) processor to handle multitasking, give 300 hours standby and 40 hours of music playback.
"We’ve taken a little longer but I think we’ve come up with a good architecture for multitasking," said Jobs, referring to the work Apple has done to make sure this doesn’t eat into the battery life.
Creating folders is as simple as dragging one app into another
They’re just folders! Yes, but they will transform how you use your iPhone and how long it will take to wade through to the apps you want when you want them.
To create a themed folder, you simply drag one app into another and keep doing this until they’re all grouped together. The iPhone automatically names the folder based on the main category, eg, games, education, or you can name the folder yourself.
You can also create folders inside iTunes on your Mac or PC and sync this back with your iPhone. Now that’s one tidy iPhone you’ll have!
You can create up to 180 folders on your iPhone and have up to 12 apps in each folder so that’s … 2,160 apps that you can hold on one iPhone.
By Marie Boran
Photo (above): FaceTime on the iPhone 4