iPhone 4


Display

By now you should know that iPhone 4 has an all-new display, as well. Apple is calling the LED backlit, 960 x 640 IPS screen the “Retina Display” due to its high resolution and pixel density. At the same 3.5-inches as the older screens, the new display manages an insane 326ppi pixel density along with an 800:1 contrast ratio. Steve made a huge point about the science behind this technology during his keynote, claiming that the resolution of the screen essentially tops what is perceivable by the human eye. There have been some debates as to whether or not this argument holds water, but we can tell you this: to our eyes, there has never been a more detailed, clear, or viewable screen on any mobile device.

iPhone 3GS on the left, iPhone 4 on the right

Not only are the colors and blacks deep and rich, but you simply cannot see pixels on the screen. Okay, if you take some macro camera shots or get right up in there you can make them out, but in general use, the screen is free of jaggies of any type, unless you’re looking at a last-gen app that hasn’t had its artwork updated. Text rendering is incredibly clear and clean — webpages that would be line after line of pixelated content when zoomed out on a 3GS (say, Engadget or the New York Times) are completely readable on the iPhone 4, though the text is beyond microscopic. It’s impressive, and doubly impressive when you look at higher-res graphics or watch 720p video on the phone — the detail in moving images is particularly striking. What’s nice is that most apps with text in them will benefit from this tech whether or not they’ve been updated, as long as they’re using Apple’s font rendering. Text in the Engadget app, for instance, looks cleaner, clearer, and much easier to read on the new iPhone.

Nexus One up top, iPhone 4 below

Because Apple is using IPS and LED technology for its screen, the iPhone 4 is mercifully visible in full sunlight, and performance in low light and at extreme viewing angles are favorable. Overall, you simply won’t find a better display on a phone, and that’s not just lip service.

What’s new

• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
• Improved display. It’s unclear if it’s the 960×640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the “Connect to iTunes” screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

What’s changed

• The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through. Tapping on the back makes a more hollow and higher pitched sound compared to tapping on the glass on the front/screen, but that could just be the orientation of components inside making for a different sound
• An aluminum border going completely around the outside
• Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
• Everything is more squared off
• 3 grams heavier
• 16% Larger battery
• Internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery

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