I’ll start by voicing my opinions on what I expected: a 3GS with a ‘torch’ and a slightly nicer screen, and a waste of money for anyone with an existing 3GS. Was this the case? Read on!
My new iPhone 4 (again provided by my lovely workplace) arrived. Packed in a rather small box, I removed the clear plastic and eagerly slid off the lid. Why was I getting excited again? It’s hard to avoid all the hype, and even though this is not a device I would pay for (I’d love an Android!), I still do enjoy the iPhone experience.
The phone is, of course, boxier looking than previous models, but I must say I prefer it. It looks cleaner and neater – the volume buttons, being separate, are nicer to press too. Apart from that, there’s not much difference apart from needing a micro-sim. It’s a bit of an annoyance to have to swap sims over, but I’m sure that extra several millimetres of space saved is utilised somehow. *cough*
Anyway, as I was moving on from my 3GS – I used iTunes *shudder* to back it up. After activating the iPhone 4, the restore process worked first time. This was possibly my first good experience with iTunes, as any other function I try to do with it ends up being a complicated and confusing process. Surprisingly, my iPhone 4 is then up and running, looking exactly the same as my 3GS. I throw away the 3GS in disgust, looking towards the future in a non-pixelated world.
That is really the first thing I notice after having a look. The screen is a big improvement. “Retina Display”, as it’s been called by the Apple marketing department, makes everything (especially text) much nicer to read. It’s also easier to see the icons inside the folders on the main screen, which is handy when you’ve managed to reduce your 12 pages of apps down to one.
It’s at around this stage that I wonder what else is different. Poking around, I don’t see much. I then decide to head to the App store and do a search for iPhone 4 to see if there are any new apps designed for my shiny new phone. Immediately, I find 3 in 1, which includes the one feature I was looking forward to – using the flash as a torch! Oh how I missed using my old BlackBerry Bold 9000 as a torch! Finally, I’ll never be afraid of the dark again. I’m sure there are a bunch of free torch apps that all do the same, but really it’s such a simple and useful app.
Then, of course, is the fabled “Death Grip”. I’ve done some brief tests of holding the phone the “wrong way”, but it didn’t seem to have much impact. Sometimes the bars would drop, and sometimes they wouldn’t. Regardless, I wear a bumper on my fruit, as it was provided free. On top of that, you can currently get a free case by downloading an Apple app and putting your details in. (Info here: http://www.apple.com/au/iphone/case-program/.) Then wait 6-8 weeks if you want one of the better free cases :)
Fast forward a week or so, and not much else has changed. I still haven’t used FaceTime, because I really don’t care about it. We had video calling a few years ago and nobody used it then, and at least it would work over 3G. Now I have to be connected to Wi-Fi and be calling someone else with an iPhone 4 and want to see their face.
Speed was never an issue for me on the 3GS and still isn’t on the 4. Everything is quick and responsive. At one stage, I was listening to an audiobook and the iPhone decided to reboot itself. Very strange, but only happened once with about 24 hours of playing audio so far.
I’ll mention that during the time with my new iPhone 4, I also had the chance to play with some Android devices. I really wish I had the opportunity to own one for a month and have a good play-around, but the best feature I saw was the Swype technology. Have a look at it in use here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCWwuIXxBuI – it’s just typing without having to lift your finger off and on the touchscreen, but really nice and quick to use. I’m hoping Apple keep up with the advances Android is coming out with.
Lastly the camera is a big improvement, at 5MP it takes pictures good enough that you don’t think it’s from a crappy phone. That’s all I need!
Summary: More impressed with the screen than I thought I would be, the rest are things they should have done a long time ago. Definitely not innovative, and really seems to be the minimum to keep them in the game. Plus I have a torch!
It really comes down to this: If you want something you can heavily play around with, get an Android. If you want a basic smartphone where you don’t want to do anything except get apps to play with and sync with your iTunes, then get an iPhone. I don’t see anyone regretting getting an iPhone, but at the same time, if you have a 3GS I see no compelling reason to upgrade (unless you can do it for free/cheap!).
Bonus extra opinion: I really don’t like iTunes, but to go into detail would double the length of this post. Keep in mind you’ll need iTunes to activate your phone (which, again, I really don’t know why this is a necessary one-second step).