Cometh the WWDC, cometh the iPhone 4

Steve Jobs has completed another Worldwide Developer Conference keynote speech and leaves us with another iPhone to fawn over. The day after the night before gives us a chance to look over the goods with a slightly more measured eye.

To reveal…?

Well, pretty standard upgrade-come-evolutionary fayre this time, all-told, with nothing that I would call a big surprise (particularly considering the behind-the-scenes-broo-haha). The screen has a higher resolution in the same 3.5 inch form factor, doubling the pixels in each direction, the body is a new design, but of a similar size to the 3GS. It sports a front facing camera to enable video calling over wifi for the first time, and the camera on the back is now 5 megapixels, up from 3, set alongside an LED flash. Oh and the battery is improved over last years incarnation, powering a new faster processor sipping juice ever more frugally. In short, the same excellent package we’ve come to expect from Cupertino.

On the software side, iBooks is popping up on the handset, along with iMovie, allowing some pretty complex movie editing in-situ for those with good eyesight and small fingers, and there’s no denying that the new operating system, iOS4, is another step in the right direction, pushing multitasking and folders, plus some 1498 other additional new features at us come June 21st. So, it’s all good in the land of the tech giant.

Market-wise, the iPhone sees its current US smartphone marketshare sitting at 28% (compared to RIM’s 35%, Microsoft’s 19% and Google’s 9%), and mobile browser usage at 58.2%. Not too shabby. How they’ll hold next to the continued onslaught of Android, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 entrant sometime in the not-too-distant is anyone’s guess, but no doubt they’ll be happy with the way things are looking right now. Steve Jobs smiling as he talked through the figures gave at least a fair indication.

As a consumer, I’d expect huge numbers of iPhone 1 and 2 owners to be plunking down their notes for this release; it’ll provide a nice speed and visual boost, and give them access to a bunch of features they’ve been missing for a while now. On the other hand, I would expect most rev. 3 owners, of which I’m one, to hold off; the new operating system, iOS4, available to us before the end of the month, will give our handsets a fresh new lease of life, and for the most part enable us to cope with being one marginal step behind, at least until our current contracts run dry.

As a development studio, it’s pretty much business as usual. We’ll be updating our graphics pipelines to get the most out of the new display, and the combination of the new OS and faster processor will enable us to squeeze more out of an already capable platform. We’ll be looking at what we can do to incorporate the new gyroscope device, and no doubt will be touching on the new calendar, camera and video APIs at some point, though all with one eye firmly on the published OS and handset uptake figures.

So, how about you? Are you headed to your local friendly Apple provider come the end of June? Anything about it in particular take your fancy? Can we throw our development efforts in any particular direction to sway your mind?

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