Into the fourth generation of the Apple smartphone dynasty
by Keris Lahiff
The public will be subject yet again to the hype associated with Apple product releases, within coming months. The most recent addition to Apple’s product line, the iPad, moved 300,000 units in its first day of sale in the US. And in Sydney, fans lined outside the George Street store for more than 24 hours beforehand, in the pouring rain no less, to get their hands on the device.
Drum roll for the next addition to Apple’s tech arsenal. Lauded by Apple as the “biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone”, it would seem the last three iPhone models just weren’t enough to satiate fans’ tech appetite – the iPhone4 will be released in Australia in July of this year (or 24 June in US).
But what are the benefits of this new release? Is it worth trading the old in for the new, when the old is perfectly functional? Now in its fourth generation, the question remains, has the iPhone grown through its puberty blues and finally sorted out its issues?
There have been a few improvements on the current model. For one, the inbuilt Apple A4 processor means more powerful and responsive functionality. This is the same processor used in the iPad, meaning it has the same capabilities of a laptop at approximately one-fortieth the size!
Resolution will also be sharper, with the iPhone4’s greater pixel density (960 x 480) and movement more receptive, with the implementation of gyroscope technology, a three-axis sensor, which allows for more responsive reactions when the iPhone is handled.
The iPhone4’s camera has been upgraded from a three to five megapixel camera and now features an LED camera flash. What’s more, the new model has both a front- and backward-facing camera, allowing for users to make video calls. The camera also records high-definition footage, at 30 frames/second.
The iPhone4’s new design will undoubtedly attract followers. It is 34 per cent slimmer than the previous model (though weighing three grams more) and features a sleek new body, featuring a black glass casing and stainless steel rim.
This glass, according to Apple, is chemically strengthened, making it 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic. This means it is more durable and scratch resistant than previous models. The stainless steel rim acts as an antenna for the 3G and Wi-Fi networks, which will allow for greater reception and connectivity.
Since the original iPhone, a main point of contention among users has remained through the new models – the weak battery life. The new model boasts improved energy-saving features and a battery, which consumes less energy. Apple claims this will allow for 40 per cent more talk time.
However, comparisons between the new model and the previous iPhone 3GS show the new battery only extends talk time by two hours (up to seven hours) and web browsing by one hour (up to ten hours).
This means that continual use, as many of us are prone to do, will necessitate daily charging. Unfortunately, users will have to persevere with the same problems in the updated version, with only these minimal improvements in life extension.
Purchasing or upgrading to the new model will yield few major benefits. Apple has merely finetuned the technology that was already existent in the last model and will continue to do so with future releases. With a new model released every June/July since the original in 2007, it’s less of a gamble to wait till iPhone5. Perhaps by then, Apple will have worked out all of its kinks and the iPhone will have finally matured into adulthood.
Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Tuesday, June 22, 2010