iPhone 4 Release Set For June 24

New smartphone is 24 percent thinner, features video conferencing, improved camera, high-def screen and more.

Every few months, Apple manages to steal the technology spotlight with whatever new product it's working on. This month, it's the iPhone 4. The company revealed the next iteration of the popular smartphone on Monday (June 7) during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Apple's chairman and CEO, Steve Jobs, said the iPhone 4 marks "the biggest leap since the original iPhone" — and it shows. The iPhone 4 is a complete redesign over Apple's last mobile device, the 3GS. The new handheld is 24 percent thinner, for one, and now features a completely flat back and a stainless-steel edge that replaces the rounded plastic of the 3GS.

Despite shrinking its handheld, Apple managed to sneak a handful of new features into the iPhone 4. An improved camera on the rear of the phone allows users to film 720p resolution, high-definition video at 30 frames per second, which can then be edited in the new iPhone version of iMovie. A camera is also featured at the front of the phone; it can snap photos as well as video and even supports free video conferencing with other iPhone 4 owners over Wi-Fi.

In addition, an enhanced screen, which Apple is calling "retina display," allows for increased pixel density, so photos and text will appear much sharper on the iPhone 4 than they do on the 3GS. Apple is also cognizant of the battery-life issues that some of its products have suffered from. The company has rated the iPhone 4 to run for seven hours of 3G talk, six hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and 10 hours of video or 40 hours of music on a single charge.

The iPhone 4 will go on sale June 24, with pre-orders beginning on June 15. A 16GB version will sell for $199, while a 32GB version will set you back $299. Both require a new two-year contract with AT&T, but if you have an expired contract or one that expires in 2010, you can upgrade immediately when the iPhone 4 launches.

There's some speculation that AT&T's generosity with early upgrades comes as a result of its soon-to-expire contract with Apple, which would open up iPhone sales to other mobile providers. Those not looking to upgrade to the iPhone 4 will be happy to know that the next iPhone operating system, iOS 4, is set to launch on June 21. The iOS 4 will add a number of frequently requested features, including multitasking on the 3GS and folders for better organization.

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