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iPhone 4: What we didn't get

iPhone 4 is here, and no matter how good it is, it'll never quite match up to the fevered dreams and outlandish expectations floating about the Web lately

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
4 min read
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The new iPhone 4 may be a thing of child-like wonder and all that, but no matter how wonderful any new Apple device is it can never match up to the ridiculously exaggerated hopes and dreams of Jobs' faithful. We've surfed the pulse of the rumour mill, stoked the waves of the fires of gossip, and corralled the irons of the Internet's expectations and theories for the new handset to bring you the things we didn't get -- and some we probably never will...

OLED screen

Phones are the only devices where bright, beautiful OLED screens are economically viable. iPhone 4 didn't get one, but that's okay because, according to Apple, the new screen is more detailed than the human eye can actually see. Fancy.

FM radio

There is an FM radio in the iPhone and iPod touch, which communicates with the transmitter in the Nike+ fitness app. But no grooving to the Radio 1 Roadshow as you wander the streets.

More memory

With the iPhone 4 shooting high-definition video, you'd think a storage bump was on the cards. But no: the new model comes in the same 16GB and 32GB models as the 3GS -- which now gets a memory chop, introducing an 8GB model.

4G wireless

No biggie for us, as we won't get 4G any time soon. But US users are already benefiting from next-generation 4G mobile data speeds in selected areas. Not on AT&T though, which remains the sole network provider for US iPhones. Many American Apple fans had svelte, finely tapered fingers crossed for a Verizon announcement today, but no joy.


The iPhone OS, now known as iOS 4, allows tethering, but linking your phone to your laptop is a touchy subject for networks. It's one of the few features we could use that US users couldn't, rather than vice versa: O2 lets you pay extra for tethering, but AT&T isn't at all keen on the spike in data traffic. No announcement was made today for Yanks, about tethering or other networks.

Video iChat

We knew the iPhone 4 would have a front-facing camera, which many assumed would be for video chat, like with iChat and the webcam on your Apple computer. Video calling was Steve Jobs' final flourish, but as it only works over Wi-Fi and only to other iPhone 4 handsets, it's basically video chat by other name -- which is FaceTime, instead of iChat.


Many of the features in the new iPhone, and those listed above that didn't make it, could be incorporated into the iPad. But the first version of Apple's tablet is barely on shelves so we'll have to wait a while for version 2.

Cloud-based iTunes

Apple bought Web-based music service Lala in December, and finally closed it last week. Some conspiracy theorists thought the timing meant cloud-based iTunes would be announced today, allowing you to buy and store music online and stream to different devices. We suspect the timing was Apple's idea of a joke -- we reckon it does stuff like this to watch the fanboys work themselves into a mither.

Free Mobile Me

For £60 a year, Apple's online storage and syncing service Mobile Me offers a number of services that Google and others offer for free. A free basic version seemed like a smart move, but no dice.

Apple TV and Mac Mini

Since the newer, shinier, magicaler iPhones and iPads came along, Apple TV and Mac Mini must have felt pretty neglected. Perhaps they hoped for faster chips, HDMI connections or memory boosts. Not this time, amigos.

MacBook Air

No love for the MacBook Air either. Remember when we all got in a tizzy over the ridiculous laptop that fit in an envelope? Hard to remember what all the fuss was about. No new Intel ULV Core processors for the Air, and while we're at it, no Intel hex-core Xeon processors for the MacBook Pro either.

OS X 10.6.4 and Safari 5

El Stevo never misses a chance to laud HTML5, and with an HTML5 showcase now live on the Apple Web site, it seemed like a good time to launch Safari 5. A faster browser, with Firefox-like extensions, was hoped for by some, but no cigar.

Update: Only hours after Steve left the stage, Apple announced Safari 5, with Safari Reader, a 30 per cent speed bump and Bing search. We've put it through its paces in our Safari 5 test.

Multitouch trackpad

This one came out of left field at the last minute, with Engadget reporting that Apple would launch a discrete wireless trackpad for use with wireless keyboards. We discussed just such a device when the Magic Mouse was launched, with this Craver suggesting Apple should "either have a rounded device with buttons that you move around, or a flat surface that you move your hand over and tap to click". As it turns out, the thing remains fictional.

Even more information

Apple iPhone 4 preview
iPhone 4 on O2, Orange and Vodafone
iPhone 4 poll: Will you be buying it?
iPhone 4 official picture gallery
iOS4: iPhone operating system gets new name and video calling
FarmVille, Guitar Hero coming to iPhone
iPhone 4: Thinner, retina display, second camera, noise cancellation, flash