iPhone 4: Portable Power for the Online Worker

If you were online at all yesterday, you probably couldn’t help but see the announcement of the iPhone 4 (s aapl) or some related piece of news about the device. As per usual, Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote made big waves in the tech news community, though reactions now that the initial excitement of the event has passed seem to be mixed. But is the iPhone 4 going to be a hit or a miss with the web working crowd?

While some don’t think the device represents that much of an upgrade at all over the 3GS, I’m inclined to believe it will significantly change the way people do work on the go. There are a number of little things that will make it virtually impossible to go back to other solutions, and some big ones that will guarantee lifelong converts.

First there’s that display. If you watched or followed any news coming out of the keynote, you’ll probably know that I’m talking about the Retina Display, which crams a groundbreaking 326 pixels per inch into the new iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen. What that means is that you’ll have a heck of a time distinguishing graphics and text displayed on your device from high-quality print work. It should make it easier to look at that little screen for extended periods, too, and proofing design and graphics work even on the small screen should be much more doable.

Then there’s the new camera. I, like David Foster Wallace, don’t think the video-chat thing made possible by the front facing camera will really catch on, but the new improved capabilities of the rear one, with its full HD video recording and flash should change things quite a bit. If you’re an audio/video blogger who does a lot of work on the go, the iPhone 4 will be an all-in-one workstation in your pocket. Especially since you can edit video with iMovie for iPhone right on the device.

An additional 40 percent battery life should help you depend more on your mobile, too, since it seems like you’ll be able to get at least twice as much working time out of the iPhone 4, thanks to the additional efficiency improvements using Apple’s own A4 chip. I hate having to keep one eye on the iPhone’s battery percentage indicator all the time right now, so I’ll usually just go to my MacBook Pro because I know I’ll probably be able to use it longer.

In most cases, my iPad has already replaced my notebook for work on the road. If the iPhone 4 does everything it seems to be able to do as easily as the keynote made it seem to be able to, then a good chunk of that workload could go to the smartphone instead. Typing up things on a display that lovely might not be as annoying as doing so on the current device’s display, and with Bluetooth keyboard support in iOS 4, I might just save the iPad for games, movies and image editing (unless the camera connection kit gets iPhone 4 support, too).

Will you be grabbing an iPhone 4?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Are You Empowering Your Mobile Workforce?