I guess every iPhone 4 should come with one of those legalistic disclaimers: "Your results may vary." Because I've been playing around with my new upgraded phone for five days now, and my review is pithily simple.
The antenna/signal strength problem has been getting a lot of attention. Friday Apple is holding a press conference.
Maybe they'll give every iPhone owner free bumpers -- which would be nice, since I forked out $29 for mine after I heard they solved the antenna issue (only to discover that the bumper keeps the phone from fitting correctly in my much-beloved Sirius satellite radio Skydock, which is a bumper bummer).
We have pretty crappy AT&T reception out here in the wilds of rural south Salem (Oregon). Sitting outside on our deck at the moment, I'm seeing three bars, which seems better than my iPhone 3G mustered up.
When I put my finger over the crease on the bottom left side that Consumer Reports has identified as a lowered signal strength culprit, one bar appears to drop off. To me, that's no big deal. I haven't had any problem making calls on my iPhone 4, and I rarely hold the phone in the offending manner.
Yes, Apple should have recognized this problem during its testing. And we iPhone 4 buyers deserve some sort of recompense for dealing with the antenna issue. But my basic attitude is nobody's perfect, but the iPhone 4 comes damn close.
Having failed to upgrade to the 3GS, I'm thrilled to have video capabilities. I've dumped the Flip Video that I used to carry around with me in case I run across a space alien landing, or some other maxi-newsworthy event. With the iPhone 4, I'll be able to email a video directly to CNN (after I negotiate a hefty purchase price, of course).
And the still camera is much improved, with more megapixels and a much-needed zoom capability. This photo of some wildflowers my wife planted along our driveway was taken with about a 2x or 3x zoom.
-- I like how the Maps app accurately pinpoints our home location even when I'm inside the house. Previously the 3G had a tough time with this, often mistakenly believing that I was at a cell phone tower a mile or two away.
-- The improved GPS capability probably is the reason. Yesterday I fired up my Motion X GPS inside our house, where it never worked before. Almost instantly the app had locked onto satellites and determined my location within 30 feet or so. Pretty impressive.
-- Everything feels quicker and snappier than on the 3G phone. And the display is considerably crisper. Last night I downloaded the iBooks app just to see how the free Winnie the Pooh book looked on the iPhone 4. Which was, nice. I'm not ready yet to read a "real" book on the small screen, but it makes me feel better about the possibilities of the iPad as an ebook reader.
-- Being able to put my many apps into folders is sweet. I was dubious that the iPhone could come up with correct titles for the folders when I started dragging icons around, but it did great. Makes everything fit onto two screens, rather than the four or five I had before.
-- Wi-fi reception within our house is considerably improved. Now I can connect in the furthest reaches of my morning meditation lair, whereas before wi-fi was extremely iffy there.
-- The Voice Control feature is neat. My pronunciation isn't always understood, but I just told my iPhone 4, "play Brazilian Girls" and it correctly fired up the iPod feature and found the album. I can also tell it to phone home, and it does, hands-free.
So all in all I'm a happy camper with my iPhone 4 upgrade.
I stuck with our previous unlimited AT&T data plan, in part because I'm hoping that my daughter's husband will upgrade his 3GS so we can play around with the FaceTime feature -- and get video calls of my three year old granddaughter streaming onto my phone from southern California.