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One Day with the iPhone 4

It was almost exactly one month ago that I wrote the blog entry titled “one day with the iPad”. Now it’s time to do the same for the iPhone, so I present “one day with the iPhone 4”. Yes, yesterday I finally succumbed to the temptation and upgraded my ageing iPhone 3G to a new iPhone 4.

I bought the 32G model with the $40 per month plan which meant the phone cost me NZ$799. I have been on the $80 per month plan for the last 2 years so I hope the reduced data won’t cause too many problems. I do operate my iDevices in wifi areas most of the time and I make very few phone calls (although I receive a lot) so I hope the new plan will be enough.

But what about the phone itself? Is it a worthwhile upgrade? For me it is because the 3G just couldn’t do what I wanted any more. The main reason for this was that I had upgraded it to iOS 4 and that made it run quite slowly. Most iOS 4 features aren’t available on the 3G anyway so I don’t recommend that update.

The iPhone 4 does several things better than the 3G. First, as I have already suggested, it is much faster. It runs noticeably faster than the 3G although the improvement from the 3GS isn’t as obvious. So iOS 4 (which is required for this model anyway) runs just fine: almost everything happens instantly and the pauses I got from the older phone are gone.

Next, the screen is magnificent. I mean it really does look fantastic. Even really small text is easy to read and photos look great. Apple claim the resolution of the screen matches the maximum detail most people can perceive so in some ways you could say the display is perfect.

The cameras are also greatly improved. As well as a second, forward facing camera, the new phone has a much higher quality 5 megapixel main, rear camera. It outperforms every other phone (even 8 megapixel phones) and some dedicated compact cameras (according to a double blinded test), plus it does high definition video. I usually don’t have my digital SLR with me so having a good camera in my phone will be a big advantage.

The camera, compass, GPS, and gyroscope combination makes augmented reality programs very responsive. Those are the programs which display what you are pointing the camera at on the screen with an overlay giving extra information about them. They are a cool way to demonstrate the technology!

So those are my thoughts after one day. I still find the iPad useful for most tasks but now, if I don’t have that with me (it’s too big to fit in a pocket) I will have the phone and it is quite useful for email and web browsing (but not too much typing) as well as many other functions and many games.

I am a bit concerned about one aspect of the iPhone: maybe it’s just too beautiful. Maybe Apple have let design triumph a little bit over functionality. There is the antenna issue a few people have reported and the glass back looks like it could be a bit fragile. I suppose I will know in a month after counting the scratches.

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