My belated Father’s Day gift this year was a brand, spanking new iPhone 4 32mb! So, now that I’ve been using it for about two weeks, I decided to share my thoughts and insights, particularly since I’ve previously blogged about my love/hate relationship with Apple and the predecessor phones. I am a staunch Windows 7 user, and have my doubts about the seriousness of anyone who uses the Apple operating system! Just kidding really.
Without a doubt, the first thing you notice about the new iPhone is the superior clarity of t he 960×640 screen. It’s brighter, fonts are clearer, pictures more vibrant and, overall, it’s simply much more impressive. Don’t’ take my word for it, hold one up next to your old iPhone and you’ll see the difference instantly. The 480×320 screen on the older phones appear almost muddy by comparison. Apple doubled the pixels per inch, and it shows. They also increased the contract ratio to 800:1. In the end, the resolution upgrade alone is worth the price of admission!
The next design element I noticed was the shape. The new iPhone 4 is very distinct from its predecessors in its very UN-zen-like feel, stepping toward a more “slate” type approach. That can be either a good or bad choice, depending upon your perspective, and how much you liked the original Zen-like design. I personally really liked the “Zen Stone” feel of the original, with it’s rounded back and corners. My previous model was the white 3g (oh, sorry Apple, I probably shouldn’t mention the “white” right now huh?). That said, the new shape and feel have grown on me and I actually like the new aesthetics, although it did take some adjustments in my holding style. The new model is much starker, with metal edges, creating an almost industrial feel (the very same edges that give the iPhone 4 it’s trademark reception problems). The phone is more slender than its predecessors as well, which gives the misleading appearance of a smaller screen. It’s not – actually they are identical in size at 89 mm. The edges also give the appearance that the 4 is thicker than its ancestory. Again, it’s not. It’s actually shaved thinner – 2 mm to be precise!
Putting aside the incredible screen, the next real beauty of this new model is the software revisions. Many of my faithful readers will recall my constant berating of Apple about the lack of multi-tasking, something the very first Palm Pilots could pull off with ease. So, how many years and version upgrades have we been through? Having poked at the giant enough, I will state unequivocally that Apple’s implementation of this mission critical component is very well done. Two clicks on the home button and up pops a menu at the bottom showing all running applications and allowing you to move between them. One can, for example, read a book and take notes, or time a runner and jot down the time. I know, these seem like simple, ordinary tasks, but try that on an older iPhone! One feature of multitasking that would be an improvement in future version, however, is the ability to shutdown all applications without having to individually close them. After several hours of use, the multiple applications begin to pile up and exhaust valuable resources. But, that caveat expressed, I am SO happy to have multi-tasking on my iPhone. I was beginning to miss those days with my Palm.
Another one of my expressly desired features that did NOT appear on this new model is the week view in the calendar. It might sound like a petty request, but in the business world, many people rely on the week view for advance planning and scheduling. And please, don’t tell me about the “List” view – a more useless apparatus I have never witnessed – it is simply not a replacement for the week view! Ironically, Apple HAS implemented the weekview feature on its enigmatic iPad. I was so put out when I found this. “So, why can’t I have it too?” I asked The “Genius” at the store. She tells me it is planned for a future version, but I don’t know if I trust The Genius. Apple’s sin is further amplified by the fact that because of its proprietary philosophy it will not allow third party software designers to access the code to their precious default programs, so no one can even design a work around! Pocket Informant has a beautiful weekview in its application, but you are relegated to using Google Calendar, not the Apple default. So, this complicates issues with Exchange servers and is not a good work around. Ok, so enough of my bitching, let’s get back to the many things I LIKE about the 4!
Let’s talk folders! Another sadly missing item was rectified by the new operating system by the addition of the foldering system. Now, instead of 10 or so unorganized pages containing a hodge podge of programs, I have one main screen with my most utilized programs, and a page and one half of folders! An organizational system in a Personal Information Manager, imagine that! It’s truly great.
There are, of course, many other wonder additions on the iPhone 4 – the 5 mp camera and front facing camera, video conferencing, gyroscope, etc. – but these are my initial thoughts.
Over the next few months, I will be sharing some of my favorite applications on the iPhone with you, but suffice it to say that the new iPhone is working out quite nicely. I highly recommend an upgrade if you’re considering it and/or are waivering. There is a a good comparison at Wikipedia.