Apple Crams a Powerhouse Into the New iPhone 4

Inside the new iPhone 4 revealed today at WWDC is the same superfast chip architecture that powers the iPad, the A4. Alongside the A4 is a bigger battery, giving the iPhone better battery life and improved performance. The A4 was designed in-house, presumably by Apple engineers acquired through the purchase of chip manufacturers PA Semi and Intrinsity.

iPhone 4 is “packed to gills:”

  • 6 hours 3G browsing
  • 10 hours Wi-Fi browsing
  • 10 hours video
  • 40 hours music
  • 300 hours standby
  • 40% Improved talk time

It’s yet to be seen if the A4 in the iPhone is comparable to the A4 in the iPad, but with hands on experience with the performance of the iPad, I’m sure this phone is going to be smoking fast.

Apple marketing is focused, correctly, on user features, so much so that the A4 chip is not even mentioned on the iPhone 4 technical specifications page. Apple’s attitude seems to be that the user shouldn’t have to know or care what chip is in the iPhone, or what speed it runs at, as long as the phone is fast and responsive and does what the user wants it to do.

Recording and editing HD video is taxing even on desktop CPUs, so the ability to do it right on the phone is impressive. If anything speaks to the abilities of the A4, its porting a version of iMovie to the App Store. Seeing the A4 in the keynote today reminded me of John Gruber’s impressions of his demo of the iPad back in January:

“And our next thought: What happens if Apple has figured out a way to make a CPU like A4 that fits in an iPhone? If they pull that off for this year’s new iPhone, look out.”

The inclusion of the A4 chip brings desktop class performance to the iPhone.