iPhone 4, iOS and the growing app market

Well the keynote is over. I followed along as best I could with this nasty chest cold I came down with this morning. But, as promised, here are my thoughts on the announcements:

Beautiful

Once again, Apple has put out a simple and gorgeous device. While less rounded than the original designs of the iPhone, it still looks sleek and smooth. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It does have more of an iPad look to it with the smooth glass all the way to the edges. I like the look, and after several years of use with my iPhones I’m not as scared of all that glass on my device anymore either. Apple says they’ve engineered a glass that bends. If that’s true, well… cool.

Loads of Welcomed Features

The new screen is amazing. At 4 times the pixel depth of the original iPhone it has a screen that surpasses the human eye’s ability to differentiate the pixels. This should make for an awesome reading experience on the new phone. Which also brings me to the inclusion of iBooks on the device. I wasn’t as thrilled about that when it was originally announced a few months back. But with this high a resolution on the screen I have a feeling it just might make reading on the iPhone a lot nicer. And you can load PDFs into iBooks for reading on the go. That’s perfect. And I know Bryan is going to be very happy with that.

A 5 megapixel camera that doesn’t shrink the pixels from the original is also a very welcome upgrade. And so is the inclusion of HD (720p) video on the device. I have a feeling that could really eat into the Flip HD sales. Especially when you add in the iMovie software that now runs on the iPhone. This is a complete editor that allows for Ken Burns effects and Titles all from the iPhone. This is outstanding, and a real demonstration of just how far the iOS and the mobile hardware it runs on have come in the past couple of years.

Multi-tasking is finally on the phone. Looks like the implementation is very well thought out to allow multitasking without killing battery life.

Speaking of… the new battery is great. As we use our devices for more and more intensive tasks (like HD video) we need more juice to keep them running.

The new A4 processor in the iPhone is also very welcome. As an iPad owner I can speak to the speed and capability of this Apple designed processor. My iPad runs everything I throw at it with ease, and I can only imagine that the A4 in in iPhone is going to make the phone scream at its tasks.

Folders. More and more apps… Thank you for a way to organize them. What more is there to say?

Video Chat. At long last. This is something I’ve been longing for in a phone since the first cell phone I ever used. We are truly moving into the future I’ve always dreamed about now. And kudos to Apple for saying this will be an open standard. The more phones have this on them the better I say. (Hey Droid, get to it! I want some FaceTime with your users!)

Price is Right

Apple did a wise thing and didn’t increase the price of the phone above the current model’s price points. And, like they did with the release of the 3Gs they’ve now moved that model into the $99 category. This is fantastic. The 3Gs is a more than capable smartphone and priced at $99 it’s bound to get more people looking at moving onto the platform.

iAds and Games

The addition of a gyroscope to the phone is sure to do wonders for game controls. I don’t play a lot of those kinds of games, but I love that Apple is actively pursuing the gaming market in this new market. It’s something they let get away from them on the desktop and I think it really contributed to their loss in the desktop market to Microsoft.

iAds… not a big deal I think for users. And ad is an ad is an ad… granted iAds look great, but I think the big “hooray” on this is from developers. I can now add iAds to my apps and use the same account that I manage my apps to also manage my ads. That’s so much less work on my end. And the payment split seems fair to me as well. Hooray.

Conclusion

The iOS continues to evolve. The items put out on display today are not revolutionary… they are evolutionary. The revolutionary bit was the original release of the iPhone OS a few years ago. What we are seeing now is the maturation of that revolutionary idea. And that’s good. Revolutions are great… but it’s usually the releases a little down the line from the big break through that are truly great. The iPhone and the iOS are finally coming to maturity and that’s a good thing. As they mature and continue to raise the bar, so too does the competition. We are already seeing that in the Droid phones. The Incredible is a nice device. Not my platform of choice, but I appreciate that there is competition out there in the market and that both Google and Apple are continuing to move forward on their software and hardware. It’s a fun time to be a part of a new computing platform.

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