June 12, 2010

The WWDC Recap

The main enchilada, the iPhone 4, was announced to much applause in spite of the much-publicized leak.

This is the power of a speaker who knows how to engage his audience.

While Steve Jobs does his routine stockholder stroking in the form of iPad and iOS sales figures, he also gets the audience interested in features we've all seen before in older phones.

FaceTime, Apple's moniker for video calling, had a pretty good commercial that tugs at your heartstrings, and it shows how simple you could change between normal phone calls and video calls.
It has yet to be known whether Apple can pull off the popularization of this feature for now, but tech sites that have tested it out have proven that the feature is quite seamless and easy, unlike the older implementations of the feature.
Adding to that would be a camera that's been upped to 5 megapixels, as well as 720p high-definition video recording. I'm not sure it'll replace my mom's Bloggie, but so far, people have been raving about the camera as well. Yes, my Sony Ericsson can do 8 megapixels, but I'll be damned if I didn't say the photos of my phone can be a bit lackluster despite the megapixels.

In its website, Apple has posted a few pictures taken with the brand new camera, and claims that they are not retouched in any way.
That picture up there is one of them, and it's clear that the camera has been improved quite a bit from the 3GS's crappy camera.

There's also a demonstration of unretouched HD video, but the quality isn't really all that hot for me.
Another point of discussion is the Retina Display that Apple's been touting. It's basically the screen becoming so crammed with pixels that your retina can't even discern them anymore. Here's a real-life demo: go real close to your screen. Real close. What do you see? Boxes. More specifically, pixels. What of those pixels, you say? And why does it matter if you can discern these pixels from up close? Well, the iPhone 4 doesn't have visible pixels, and as a result, the screen can display some really impressive text and more refined colors than any phone in the market. Or at least, that's what the tech press are agreeing with.
I've read somewhere in TechCrunch (or was it Giz?) that not being able to discern any pixels was a great problem to have, however, a lot of "experts" have been derailing Jobs' claims back and forth. Samsung claims AMOLED is superior, while Wired reports that it's all slightly false advertising. This article clarifies that if you have 20/20 vision, then maybe Jobs' claims are a lie. As it stands though, I know far too few people who have perfect vision, if at all. After 20/20, you won't be able to discern the pixels of the new display.

Also, Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone's new form factor as a marvel of engineering. That metallic side with three random lines? That's the antenna. It seems quite random for Apple to change up the antenna, but it's quite possible that there's something wrong with the old antenna, more specifically, signal strength.

Despite the beefier display, powerful processor and the gyroscope (think Wii MotionPlus), they managed to make the battery a lot larger, and as a result, the battery life has become improved by 40%. Apple's claims are usually theoretical and even conservative. Since their iPad claims were held to be true, it's hard to say that the iPhone won't have the same impressive 10 hour battery life (browsing on WiFi; 40 hours playing music).

As is tradition with WWDC of recent years, there are obligatory app demoes from third-party developers like Zynga and Activision.

Yes, you read Zynga right.
Effing Farmville.

Also, Activision demoed its Guitar Hero app, now available for $2.99.
I'm currently reviewing this one, and quite frankly, there's something that feels wrong about the all-important issue of lag and its song selection is paltry.

In addition to that, Netflix for the iPhone was demoed, but I don't give a crap about Netflix.
Also, Apple announced some enhancements to its iBooks (PDF support, bookmarking, etc), as well as the debut of an iMovie app.
To start, iMovie is usually an HD video editing application bundled for free with new Macintosh computers that allows users to make quick cuts and edits, as well as a few effects like Green Screen and Picture-in-Picture. This iPhone version is an adaptation of that concept, however, said video effects have yet to be shown; maybe they're not even included.

Lastly, the iPhone OS has been rebranded into iOS to reflect its presence on iPad and iPod, and developers have been given a "Golden Master Candidate" for tweaking and compatibility during app development.

The new iPhone 4 has been slated for release in 88 countries by September. The usual $199, $299 price points for 16 and 32GB models apply, with a selection of two colors: black and pure white. A $24 dollar "bumper" accessory (a silicone protector) is going to be sold at launch.

Jobs ended the keynote with a lot of gratitude towards key Apple staff, but not Grey Powell, the guy who lost the late-stage prototype iPhone 4. Ala the iPad, a video was also shown recapping all the new iPhone 4 features to conclude everything.
Has the iPhone 4 changed everything? Again? It'll be a game of wait and see.

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