Apple WWDC: iPhone 4 Coming June 24

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs today officially introduced the new, long-awaited and much-anticipated iPhone 4 during his company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), though much of the world has already gotten a chance to sneak a peek at the design thanks to some very high-profile leaks to the media.

That fact wasn't lost on Jobs, who turned to the audience during his grand unveiling and said, "Now, stop me if you've seen this."

Prototypes of the phone had leaked twice to the public in recent months: one iPhone prototype lost in a San Francisco Bay Area bar and a second prototype surfacing in Vietnam. The two gave a number of hints of what was in store for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) all-new, fourth-generation phone. As it turns out, the information garnered from those leaks has proven to be true.

But after the audience stopped laughing, Jobs continued: "Believe me, you ain't seen it. You've got to see this thing in person. This is, beyond a doubt, the most precise thing, one of the most beautiful things we've ever designed."

The iPhone 4, not "4G" as some had speculated, is a sleek design just 9.3 millimeters thick. That makes it 24 percent thinner than the current 3GS model, but the new unit has been upgraded in almost every way previously rumored, including the use of the A4 processor that's also used in the iPad, dual cameras, and a quadrupling of screen resolution.

Apple is not wasting time with the rollout. The new phone will be in U.S. stores June 24, with pre-orders opening June 15. The pricing remains unchanged from the 3GS model: A phone with 16GB of flash storage is $199 and a 32GB unit is $299.

In addition to launching in the U.S., Japan, Germany and France this month, 18 more countries get the iPhone in July, 24 in August and 40 more in September -- marking Apple's fastest rollout ever.

New iPhone OS, new name

Three days before the release of the iPhone 4, Apple will roll out iOS 4, the fourth major release of the device's operating system, which had previously been named iPhone OS.

Jobs said that since the OS runs also the iPad and iPod Touch, it didn't make sense to continue calling it "iPhone OS" any more. The upgrade will be free for all users, but it won't support the first-generation iPod Touch, and not all of its features will work on the iPhone 3G or 3GS.

Apple's exclusive mobile carrier partner, AT&T, announced that any existing iPhone customer whose contract was up in 2010 would qualify for an upgrade without having to pay an early-termination fee. As a result, someone whose contract ends in September or October won't have to either bite the bullet and pay the ETF or grind their teeth and wait for the contract to end.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, Apple, smartphone, 3G, AT&T