Apple iPhone 4Manufacturer:
16 GB ($199.99 under contract), 32 GB ($299.99 under contract) Introduction
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple weeks, it's hard to read the news without seeing a mention of Apple's brand-new iPhone 4. Released in the U.S. on June 24th, Apple sold about 1.7 million units of the device in about 3 days. The iPhone 4 is the fourth generation of the iPhone which started with the first iPhone in 2007, followed by the 3G and 3GS in the following years. Click on to read my full impressions.Unboxing and First Impressions
If you're familiar with the shape / feel of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, you'll immediately notice a difference in the industrial design of the iPhone 4. The overall feel of the device is heavy and generally more solid than the previous versions of the phone. It's slightly smaller than the width / height of the 3GS, and the back glass plate of the phone is identical to the front â€” very slick and slippery. In the small, tight packaging, the phone conceals an instruction booklet, the standard white iPhone headphones, a USB cable for charging / computer connection and the USB power adapter for an AC outlet. It's the identical power adapter as the other iPhones, not the bulkier adapter that comes with the iPad.
Between the two panes of black glass, you'll find the much debated steel antenna that surrounds the entire phone. Along the band, you'll find the volume buttons (now in stainless steel), the vibrate switch for silent use, the power button at the top of the phone along with the 3.5mm headphone jack. The volume buttons require a stronger push then previous models, eliminating accidential pressing of the buttons. On the right side, you'll see the micro sim card slot and on the bottom, the proprietary Apple connector. On the back of the iPhone 4, the new 5 megapixel camera hugs the top right corner along with the LED flash. Overall, the new version of the iPhone looks more attractive than previous models, and it certainly fits in my pocket better then the last iPhone, even with the bumper case installed.Specifications
To say that the iPhone got a few upgrades in this version is vastly understating the amount of improvements that came with the iPhone 4. Starting with the internals, the CPU is a version of the 1GHz A4 chip that you can find in the iPad (likely clocked a bit slower). It provides a snappier experience from the 3GS and is extremely noticeable if you're stepping up from the iPhone 3G. Apple increased the amount of RAM in the iPhone 4 to 512 MB from 256 MB as well as updating to 802.11n Wi-fi and Bluetooth 2.1. There's a new lithium-ion battery in the iPhone 4 which provides a more substantial battery life than previous models. Storage has remained the same as the iPhone 4 is offered in 16GB and 32GB sizes.
The rear 5 megapixel camera is capable of 720p 30fps HD video recording and includes the LED flash as mentioned before. There's also a second camera on the front of the phone used for self-portraits and the Facetime video calling feature. Apple also included a gyroscope in this version, which will likely be used in a variety of upcoming game releases. Additionally, there's a second noise reducing microphone on the phone to eliminate street noise when making a call.
The biggest improvement to this version of the iPhone is the quality of the screen. Using what Apple calls the Retina display, the 960 by 640 resolution has an impressive 326 pixels per inch and a 800 to 1 contrast ratio. Comparing the iPhone 4 and a previous model side-by-side makes the differences very clear. Text rendering is extremely clear as you can read text on nearly any website immediately without having to increase the size of the page. Review
I've used both the 3G and the 3GS before, so I'm certainly no stranger to Apple's operating system and their overall design of applications. What I'm most impressed about with the iPhone is the speed at which applications respond compared to previous phones. For example, I can hop into the map application on a 3G connection and make almost immediate transitions to zooming into street level â€” especially helpful when on the road and traveling by GPS directions. Web pages load faster, the camera takes / stores pictures quicker, games load a few seconds faster than the 3GS, the Facebook application is more responsive, etc.
Regarding reception and the publicized antenna issues, I haven't run into any problems with dropped calls or lack of bars. (That's using it with the bumper case.) That said, I was able to replicate the bar dropping issue when tightly gripping the phone with my left hand. Obviously with a case, the issue dissappears. Anyway, I've had pretty much no problem with coast to coast calls on this phone, something that my iPhone 3G would struggle with constantly. I also got the opportunity to try out Facetime with some friends. While I'm mildly impressed with the technology (switching from camera to camera during a call, the overall video quality), I have trouble justifying using it when it only works on Wi-fi and it's limited to the few people that currently have an iPhone 4.
In regards to iOS4 (available to all 3G and 3Gs owners), I've got my games organized into folders, and I have been enjoying multitasking with Pandora on. The multitasking slider bar is particularly cool when I want to skip songs without having to reenter the Pandora app. The unified mailbox improvements are nice, but certainly not as impressive of an experience as on my iPad.Conclusion
Should you upgrade to the iPhone 4 if you have a previous version? If you have a 3G and your contract is up, without a doubt. If you have a 3GS, I would try out iOS4 first and then go play with an iPhone 4 in an Apple store or borrow one from a friend to test it before considering an upgrade. Plus, according to Bloomberg, there's a Verizon announcement looming on the January horizon that makes the iPhone 4 an even more attractive option. In short, I'm very impressed with the quality of the display and speed of the phone over previous models. It's highly recommended to anyone interested in the iPhone platform. Image Gallery