A new ruggedized version of Apple's iPhone 4 has been announced which promises all the same features and functionality, but in a tougher shell. The iPhone 4x4 is less than three millimetres wider, longer and thicker than the standard iPhone, but it includes a more robust case, a battery which is stable in extreme temperatures and a screen which is said to be 'unbreakable'.
A more industrial version of the iPhone has been suggested by various market sectors ever since the first iPhone software applications (or apps) began to appear. Construction, the sector with potentially the highest take-up for the device, has been particularly vociferous; demanding to know why all the building industry apps are only suited to 'hands-off' managers.
A number of attempts have been made to create retro-fit casings to ruggedize the iPhone, but none have produced a device that retains touch-screen sensitivity but can withstand crush or high drop damage, without significantly increasing the size.
The new 4x4 meets these demands and also offers water and dustproofing to IP67 standards. That means it can withstand immersion in water to one metre; something most so-called splash-proof phones can only aspire to.
The iPhone 4x4 will be sold in several non-scratch finishes, and a ceramic cased version will be available at extra cost. Accessories will include a range of Kevlar holsters and cases, and a 'body-terminal' wrist mount with a flexible speaker and microphone system allowing it to be used with various personal protection clothing such as body armour and Hazmat suits.
New apps specially designed for the 4x4 include a life-signs monitoring system and a 'black box' type recorder.
The price for the new iPhone 4x4 is yet to be announced, but it is expected to add upwards of $80 to the base i4 cost. Availability is expected in September 2010 in the US and Japan, and the first quarter of 2011 in most other markets.