One common smartphone sensor that never seemed to pose much of a threat might in fact be the key to eavesdropping on a stranger’s conversation from afar. According to Wired, a group of researchers from Stanford University and the Israeli defense research group Rafael are going to hold a presentation at the Usenix security conference next week that will demonstrate how the gyroscope in your phone can be converted into “crude microphones” which can pick up sound waves in the area. More →
DigiTimes is hit or miss and while we’re inclined to think there are some misses in its latest report on Apple’s upcoming iPad 2, there are also some hits — or safe bets, at least. Citing an unconfirmed report in a Chinese newspaper, DigiTimes lists five key new features that Apple’s upcoming iPad sequel will supposedly tout:
•Front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat
•A thinner glass panel for a lighter build
•A USB port
•A 3-axis gyroscope
Aside from the USB port, the paper’s claims sound reasonable. We’re not saying it’s impossible that Apple would add a standard USB port to the iPad, but we definitely give it a likelihood rating of 1 on a scale to 10 for the time being. More →
UK retailer John Lewis, self-admittedly, compiled a list of the “noises we’re hearing from suppliers” and guesstimated the initial specs for the fourth generation iPod Touch. The retailer postulated that the upcoming iPod Touch refresh will feature a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with HD video capability and built-in flash, YouTube uploading, accelerometer, and gyroscope. The portable multimedia device will also reportedly include FaceTime calling over WiFi, which suggests the inclusion of a front-facing camera and iOS 4. If this handful of rumored specs pans out, the next generation iPod Touch may share many of the desirable features of the iPhone 4, a product development pattern that has been observed in the past. More →
Apparently during his speech to Execute Club, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha talked about more than video calling in future devices. According to ConceivablyTech, Jha also said that before the year’s end his company plans on launching an Android superphone powered by a 2GHz processor. While this alone is more than enough to whet our appetites, Jha wasn’t too keen on saying more. So it’s a good thing then that a different Motorola exec was willing to talk under the condition of anonymity. According to the mysterious one, the handset Jha was talking about will feature an NVIDIA Tegra GPU, camera with “more than 5 megapixels” and HD video recording, HD display, 720p out, Flash 10.1 and gyroscope. This might sound like a bit of a fanboy’s fantasy phone, but we’re willing to keep the faith. How about you?
“Now stop me if you’ve seen this.” And so Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4. Featuring stainless steel banding around the sides and a glass front, the iPhone 4’s “closest kin is a beautiful old camera.” It’s 24% thinner than the iPhone 3GS at 9.3mm thick, which Apple claims makes it the smallest smartphone on the planet or “a quarter thinner than something you didn’t think could get any thinner.” The three stainless steel bands surrounding the device that look very un-Apple actually serve two purposes: they add to the structural integrity of the device and double as antenna boosters. Smart.
The iPhone 4 has a 3.5″ display that has 78% the pixels of the iPad. With a resolution of 960×640 — or 4x the resolution of the first three iPhones — the iPhone 4 has four pixels where the other devices only had space for one for a total of 326 pixels per inch. Apple calls this “Retina Display” technology and says it translates to images and text so incredibly sharp that you’ll feel like you’re looking at a “finely printed book” instead of a mobile display. The display technology also means that apps will not have to be rescaled, so everything currently in the App Store will The display also has a 800:1 contrast ratio.
Moving on the the processor. Yes, indeedy, the iPhone 4 is powered by an Apple-designed A4 SoC. Apart from providing raw power, the A4 also sips juice from the battery as opposed to gulping it. This means the iPhone 4 is good for 7 hours of 3G talktime, 6 hours of browsing over 3G, 10 hours of browsing over Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music and 300 hours of standby. As expected, 802.11n Wi-Fi is included as is a quad-band HSDPA radio capable of 7.2Mbps down and 5.8Mbps up. The iPhone 4 also introduces a dual-mic system for noise cancellation and a gyroscope which combined with the accelerometer allow for 6-axis motion sensing.
The iPhone 4’s main camera weighs in at 5 megapixels. What makes it special, according to Apple, is its backside illuminated sensor. This allows more photons to bombard the sensor resulting in better low-light photos. A sole LED flash straddles the camera sensor. Digital zoom tops out at 5x, while video capture has been stepped up to shoot 720p at 30fps. The LED flash is fully functional when capturing videos.
Not included with iPhone 4 but to be available in the App Store for $4.99 is iMovie. iMovie for the iPhone is pretty much what you’d expect — that is if you were expecting a feature-rich mobile movie editing application that’s capable of manhandling 720p videos. You can rearrange clips by dragging them about; add in photos, transitions, titles, and music; and use geolocation so you’ll have no excuses for forgetting exactly where you were when you shot the film.
And then there’s the front-facing camera. It runs the open application FaceTime. Apple is currently working with wireless providers to bring forth bonafide 3G video calls, but as far as 2010 is concerned you’re stuck with Wi-Fi. If for some reason you don’t want the person you’re calling to see your mug — or perhaps you just want them to see what you’re looking at — you can switch from the front-facing camera to the 5MP camera on the back.
So when can you get the iPhone 4? If you live in the US, UK, Germany, France or Japan you’ll be able to pre-order it on June 15th and pick it up on the 24th. In the US, AT&T will sell the 16GB model for $199 and the 32GB model for $299 (both assuming a 2-year contract). At an unspecified time in July, 18 other countries — Canada included — will get the iPhone. Oh and how could we forget? The iPhone 4 will be available in both black and white. More →