Saturday, 3 July 2010

iPhone 4 One Week On...

I finally got confirmation for the contract in Zurich and things were pretty hectic for a period of 10 days trying to get everything sorted out, and spending some quality time with my girlfriend and other pals before departure. Which makes the fact that I went and queued for just over 5 hours outside not just one, but two, O2 shops for an iPhone 4 even more ludicrous than it would normally have been. But I did, and I'm happy to say it was worth every second of waiting.
I've never queued up for an Apple product in the past. I'm generally an early adopter for new technology, but finances have been a bit tight recently and I've had to balance my desire for leading edge tech with the realities of post recessional Britain. So I got an 3G iPhone about 16 months ago and missed out on the 3GS. But with Switzerland calling, I decided to "go for it", so I'd have something to play with for the next six months.

Because of circumstances I ended up with a 16Gb Black iPhone 4 - it seemed that in O2 land you could have any model as long as it was a 16Gb Black one. On reflection, this was a good thing - I saved about £100 on the cost of the handset over the 32Gb model I had set out to buy. I figured that the extra space would be great for putting a larger number of songs on, but we'll come back to that shortly.

I suffered the same fate as a number of users in the UK on launch day - activation seemed to take an eternity. In my case it was about four hours from putting in the micro SIM card to having an operational phone. Luckily the old phone remained functional until just a few minutes before the new one clicked in. My initial sync with iTunes was fairly painless, but because I manage my music manually, the restore function from the 3G to the 4 ignored my old selection. This was disappointing as I've honed that list carefully over the past year and a half. All the apps seemed to transfer over without issue, but on closer look later, it turned out that I had to modify settings, userid and passwords on many of my apps.

For the first time I selected the option on the iTunes sync page to compress higher bit rate songs while copying them onto mobile devices. This had the effect of allowing me to load over eight hundred more songs than I'd previously had - thereby reducing the need for the extra 16Gb I had initially planned for. I personally can't tell the difference in quality - especially whilst out in the real world with all it's surrounding white noise.

What about the phone itself? It's definitely smaller and slightly more comfortable to hold, even with a "bumper" on. I couldn't tell any difference in weight. The screen is simply stunning, but you really notice the effect when looking at 3G and 4 models displaying the same picture at the same time. The 3G looks decidedly blurred in comparison to the "retina" screen. The responsiveness of the new model to touch also seems greatly improved, and I don't find myself trying to clean the screen of sticky finger prints anywhere near as much as I did with the 3G.
I've been fortunate enough not to have suffered from any of the (now) well documented issues. Despite being left handed I've had no problems with reception while holding the phone - but I'm not sure if having the Apple bumper may make a difference. I've also not noticed any of the yellow screen effects mentioned by some users. The whole phone blanked out on me a couple of days ago but normal service returned after plugging it into the MBP - scary, for a while, but no lasting damage other than to my nerves.

I'm quite comfortable with Apple's implementation of "multi-tasking" in iOS 4, although with the exception of the in-built apps, I'm not sure how many of my apps take full advantage of it. The test will come with updates to programmes like Text Expander or 1Password which are so frustrating to use on the current platforms. It is kind of cool however to play Bejewelled Blitz and be able to answer the phone without killing the game! I know, what an abuse of technology!
I've had a little play with the new video camera, one of the key features for me and I like what I see. Now I'm in Zurich I'll be able to put it through it's paces a bit more thoroughly. I also like the new standard camera and it's front and rear facing availability. However I've not tried FaceCall yet. I don't know anyone I can test it out on!

So there it is, iPhone 4 one week on. I'm really pleased with the new device - for me it has certainly lived up to expectations, and I've still got more stuff to check out. Maybe you should wait until Apple get the antennae issues resolved, or maybe you'll just have to wait because they're all sold out, but when you finally get your hands on one, you won't be sorry!

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