Today in Apple history: iPhone 4 arrives with glorious Retina display


The iPhone 4 marked the culmination of Steve Jobs' career at Apple.
Photo: Apple

June 24: Today in Apple history: iPhone 4 arrives with glorious Retina display June 24, 2010: Apple’s fourth-generation smartphone, the iPhone 4, goes on sale.

While the device is perhaps most remembered for the infamous “Antennagate,” it is otherwise a pretty great handset. In its first weekend, it sells 1.7 million units. That’s a major triumph for Apple.

The iPhone 4 followed the iPhone 3GS. Steve Jobs introduced it at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference a few weeks earlier on June 7. The final iPhone released during Steve Jobs’ life, it also became the last one to debut at WWDC. Starting the following year, Apple shifted its iPhone launch to the fall and staged its own special event.

iPhone 4 features

In terms of features, the iPhone 4 introduced users to FaceTime, Apple’s video chat app. It also boasted an upgraded 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, VGA-quality front-facing camera, and significant Retina display screen resolution upgrade — with 4 times the number of pixels as its predecessor.

Appearance-wise, it stuck with the 3.5-inch form factor of previous devices. However, this was a reimagined iPhone. Its flatter, Braun-inspired design measured a whopping 24 percent thinner than its predecessor.

Antennagate and other problems

It wasn’t perfect, of course. Some users reported dropped calls, which fueled the aforementioned Antennagate. The first big controversy in iPhone history, it resulted in Steve Jobs cutting short a vacation to host a press conference about the problem. The eventual class-action lawsuit dragged on for two years.

The device’s power-hungry, first-gen Retina display also caused problems, causing the phone to chug along at times. Apple tried to compensate with a RAM boost (to 512MB), improved processor (the A4) and longer battery life.

iPhone 4 and its awesome successor

Released the following year, the iPhone 4s fixed a lot of the iPhone 4’s problems. (It might go down in history as my favorite iPhone as a result.) But the iPhone 4 remains a pretty darn great handset in its own right. And, coming the same year as the first iPad, it was a great culmination to the career of Steve Jobs.

Do you have fond or less-than-fond memories of the iPhone 4? Leave your comments below.