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"Now, stop me if you've already seen this."

With those words, Lord Steve Jobs himself introduced Apple's iPhone 4, the source of much intrigue and legal wrangling since a prototype landed on a barstool in April.

Touted as the thinnest smartphone ever, Jobs broke down myriad new features and design highlights. Comparing the look and feel to a Leica camera, he said the iPhone 4 is built with stainless steel for strength and is sandwiched with glass on front and back. The phone has an integrated antenna built into the structure.

Jobs also pointed to the phones highly revamped optical quality, promising 326 pixels per inch on the high definition display.

"This is a biggie," said Jobs. "Something we call the Retina Display. What's that? In any display, there are pixels - here's four of them. We start off by dramatically increasing the pixel density, 4x in the same amount of space."

Of course, the announcement many frustrated iPhone users had hoped for - an abandonment of AT&T as the exclusive carrier, was not made. This became particularly point when Jobs tried to demonstrate Web surfing capabilities, but ran into network areas. Asking an on-stage tech if he had any ideas, an audience member's one-word response came as biting criticism: "Verizon!".

Job also said the battery has been made bigger by switching to a micro SIM card, claiming: "7 hours 3G talk, 6 hours 3G browsing, 10 hours WiFi browsing, 10 hours music, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby."

Still the latest iPhone blows away the iPhone 3GS specs:

"3.5-inches, but 4x more pixels than the iPhone 3GS. 326px per inch. 800:1 contrast ratio, 4x that of iPhone 3GS. Provides much more accurate color and much higher resolution. You can't make an OLED display with this resolution, we think it's quite superior," said Jobs.

A complete rundown of the Apple WWDC keynote from Andy Ihnatko live.

The camera

The iPhone 4 also sports a completely revamped camera system, boosted to 5 megapixels, but promising the same, relatively larger pixel sensors in order to capture more subject detail.

The new camera system also captures full 720p HD video at 30 fps. An LED flash, new to the phone, will stay on for video illumination. And what to do with that video? iMovie for iPhone was also announced.

Among other highlights are a front-facing camera and a gyroscope, particularly useful in conjunction with the accelerometer, for 6-axis motion gaming.

A demonstration showed a full HD video edited, with imported iTunes music, visual effects and transitions completely on the iPhone 4 and exportable at 360p or 720p.

After more networking issues - Jobs actually asked a crowd of nerds to stop liveblogging and put down their laptops for the demo to continue - the latest iPhone OS, christened iOS4 was introduced.

Features

iPhone bashers have long latched onto its inability to multitask and relatively weak mail client. They may have met their match.

Jobs rolled out multitasking for the iPhone 4.

"Some people were saying you weren't first with multitasking - the same was true with cut-copy-paste. But we took some time to figure out how to do it right."

He also touted a host of new features in the new OS, including folder creation, a unified inbox and threaded conversations in Mail.

In a counter-swipe at Google, which had some fun at Apple's expense during their recent developer I/O keynote, Microsoft's Bing search engine is being rolled out, as is Yahoo!. Google will remain the default search engine, but is no longer the lone option.

Apple also is introducing a version of iBooks, it's popular bookstore app on iPad, for the iPhone. iBooks will automatically sync placemarks, bookmarks and notes to all i-devices.

One More Thing

There's a reason for that front-facing camera: FaceTime, the new video calling features. After much fussing from Jobs for the audience to again turn off their WiFi devices, he made a video call to Apple design guru Jony Ive. The video call was made over a WiFi network, but Jobs promised development is underway with cell carriers - yes, plural - for future use.

"We call this FaceTime -- video calling. It's ... it's great. It's iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 anywhere there is WiFi, and there is no setup required."

And the most important feature on the iPhone 4? Price:

Price and availability

iPhone 4 comes in two colors, black and white - price is $199 in the U.S. for the 16GB model, and 299 for the 32GB model."

Jobs says AT&T will offer that same price on eligible upgrades in 2010 - but you have to reup your contract with the heavily derided carrier for another 2 years. Though whether you get screwed on the the new AT&T data lineup plan by re-upping that contract remains to be seen.

That makes the new iPhone lineup: 3G (no more); 3GS ($99) and the iPhone 4, available June 24 in five countries.

APPLE IPAD-1.jpg

Pyramid_Lake_at_Night_2004.jpgThe beautiful, but not obtrusive photo that serves as the backdrop for Apple's iPad is a bit like all the images Apple uses as stock elements on its devices. It's a standout moment that doesn't take too much attention away from the device itself. And, it's anonymously produced - when's the last time you saw a photo credit on an image Apple plucks from relative obscurity?

Well, almost anonymous. Until the good folks at ArtInfo.com tracked down Richard Misrach, a Bay Area photographer responsible for "Pyramid Lake (at Night)," a 2004 photo from a series he has worked on over the years.

"It's a long night exposure where the moon is lighting up the mountains in the distance," he told ArtInfo. "I shot it on an 8x10 camera, so the quality is really beautiful and you can see star trails going through the sky."

Ironic that the original image produced in large format is actually larger than the iPad, which clocks in at just 9.56 by 7.47 inches, it was destined to decorate.

It also seems the secretive Cupertino-based tech company is no less secretive with its content sources. To hear Misrach tell it, he found out they were using his photo when the rest of the world did, even if most of the rest of the world would have no idea of Misrach's identity:

"I was in bed watching Inglorious Bastards when I got a call from Jeffrey FraenkeL, my dealer in San Francisco, and he said, 'Do you know what's going on live here?'" Misrach told ArtInfo, speaking of the iPad unveiling by Steve Jobs in January. "I was totally shocked. Naturally my other galleries started calling and my family was all atwitter, because it's a whole different world."

Misrach, who calls himself an Apple fan, says he had submitted 10 photos to the company for consideration as screensavers and whatnot over the years, but had never had any success. Until now.

'What's funny is that for years I actually used the photo as my own screensaver," Misrach says. "So I guess they know what they're doing."

Richard Misrach at the High Museum from Atlanta Celebrates Photography on Vimeo.

Video from Atlanta Celebrates Photography
for ACP Now!
http://www.acpinfo.org/blog/

Richard Misrach gives a tour of his "On the Beach" exhibition, on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA through Aug. 23rd, 2009.

Stephen Colbert IS cooler than you. Me. Jay-Z, even.

The Comedy Central titan announced the nominees for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards on Sunday with a little help from the Great Silver Hype - an iPad.

After pulling the latest iWant device out of his coat, Colbert jokingly asked Jay-Z "did you not get one of these in your gift bag?" He also asks his daughter, Madeline, if she finally thinks he's cool. (The answer: No. She must be a PC.)

Colbert then presented the award to Beyonce for "Single Ladies," assuring that Kanye West will NOT be showing up on the "Threat Down."

For the record, Stephen, the iPad coup makes you cool, cooler even than the eaglet, baby turtle or NASA treadmill.

For all you Apple/iPad haters, let's see your Kindles do that.

More iPad fun: Pee-Wee test drives one

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And finds an innovative new use for it ...

Pee-Wee wears an abstinence ring. Giggle.

There are currently at least four Nazi and/or Adolph Hitler-themed iPad parody videos on YouTube. Four. True, the Hitler one is part of a recent craze, but still, what gives? It's a nifty device, not a destroyer of freedom.

Or at least we don't think so. But to be fair, it has yet to hit stores.

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