June 24, 2010

524 words 3 mins read

iPhone 4 – Revolutionary becomes dull?

The iPhone 4 (Courtesy of Engadget)

So the iPhone 4 is officially out today; I thought it was a good time to reflect about the history of the iPhones.  Back in 2007, the world was taken by storm with the original announcement and release of the iPhone.  The device was in-arguably revolutionary.  It wasn’t like any cellphone seen to date.  In 2008 we saw the release of the iPhone 3G, which included this cool new feature called “3G” which was on numerous phones even before the iPhone released in 2007.  In 2009 the world was taken by aimless wandering with the release of the iPhone 3GS.  It was… faster.  That’s it, just faster.  Now in 2010 we have the iPhone 4 (which actually is the fourth version, unlike the 3G being the second version).  But is it that great?

Really the only feature that is truly worthy of note is the antenna design.  It is an interesting concept to use part of the case as the antenna, something I can’t recall seeing before.  I wouldn’t call it revolutionary, but certainly very evolutionary.  The real question is: will it work well?  If the magical “case as antenna” in the iPhone 4 doesn’t do a fantastic job of boosting AT&T signal and preventing dropped calls, it will be just another foot note in the annals of “Cool ideas, poor execution”.  If it is beyond fantastic, it may very well go down in the history books as revolutionary — only time will tell.  Otherwise iPhone 4 continues where 3G and 3GS left off, making the units faster, with better screens, and more storage.

So… where’s the revolution?  I’m not really seeing any.  Apple has done a great job of marketing, and creating their little zombie horde.  Where Apple has journalists kissing their feet for a chance to so much as look upon the new version of anything… everyone else is left hoping the journalists will at least look favorably upon their upgrades.  Really, I don’t see much of an appeal to buying the new iPhone 4.  I’m not saying that people won’t buy it, they obviously have and will continue to buy it in mass… but for no good reason.  One of the big draws for the iPhone is the new screen.  Engadget reviewed it and said:

Webpages that would be line after line of pixelated content when zoomed out on a 3GS (say, Engadget or the New York Times) are completely readable on the iPhone 4, though the text is beyond microscopic.

That might be impressive, but what good does it do me, the consumer?  Nada.  You can’t read pixelated text, and you can’t read text that tiny.  That is basically a wash.  Honestly, anyone north of 40 probably wont notice the better screen anyways (diminishing eyesight and all that jazz).  Engadget feels that “the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now” but best does not provide any good reason to upgrade, especially if you have a 3GS.  Sure, if you’ve got an older device, by all means buy an iPhone 4.  Just remember what you’re getting, a totally locked in environment.