News Analysis: It's the fourth generation of the iPhone, but Apple's ties to AT&T mean that the iPhone 4 doesn't actually do 4G. But the latest iPhone does regain technological ground lost to Google Android devices.
Apple's June 7 announcement of the new fourth generation
of the iPhone marks Apple's effort to catch up in the smartphone space after
being bested by a succession of Android-based devices that have more features,
larger screens and things like multitasking that Apple has avoided.
The new iPhone 4 attempts to make up that ground by
launching new features that attempt to move the iPhone to the next level.
Whether the iPhone
that move depends a lot on what you need in a smartphone.
While there are a lot of snazzy features that may ultimately prove useful to
some, it's the basics that matter to most enterprise users, and the iPhone 4th
Generation makes some improvements there.
Most notable is a faster processor, the Arm A4, which was
designed cooperatively with Apple to provide better performance to what could
be a new round of resource-hungry apps. Also significant is a new, high-resolution
screen that features four times the picture density of the previous versions of
the iPhone, and a significantly better antenna system that may help overcome
the existing iPhone's problem with dropped calls.
What's missing is support for 4G wireless, or even the
nearly-as-fast HSPA technology already fielded by T-Mobile and being built by
AT&T. In fact, the iPhone's 3G wireless capabilities are unchanged from
those of its predecessor. However, the new version of the iPhone does support
802.11n, which will give the device a faster data rate as far as the wireless
Whether that results in a faster connection to the
outside world depends heavily on the speeds of the attached connection to
your ISP. For many, it will be slower than the download speeds of 3G. What may
or may not be related is the fact that the new iPhone failed to connect to WiFi
during Apple's demo, while the 3GS version did it without trouble. A prototype
Despite the speed penalty, the new iPhone does deliver on
some much needed improvements that bring it into parity with the Android
devices. A significant improvement is that Version 4 of iOS now supports multitasking.
This apparently means you can check something on your device while you also
talk on the phone.
The Apple announcement also says that the new iPhone will
support multiple Exchange accounts and support for Exchange Server 2010, mobile
device management and wireless application distribution. In addition, the announcement
promised SSL VPN support and better mobile