What's an iPhone 4? So Very Much.
The biggest news in AppleWorld relates to the release of the newest iteration of the iPhone. The iPhone 4 represents a real and substantial upgrade of the iPhone hardware. At the same time, it marks Apple’s release of a significant software upgrade in the form of the iOS 4.
Apple’s iOS4 first came out on the new iPhone 4 and almost immediately showed up in iTunes as a free system upgrade available for earlier models of the iPhone (3GS and 3G only) and recent iterations of the iPod Touch. One caveat, though: while the iOS 4 works on earlier models of the iPhone, to get the full benefit of all of its features, you need the iPhone 4 hardware (go figure). Some people have reported that they felt that upgrading to iOS 4 on 3G and 3GS iPhones resulted in sluggish behavior of the phone. I did not notice that when I ran it on my 3GS for a week prior to receiving my iPhone 4. Possibly the slowdown may have only represented their perception; possibly it related to an actual slowdown that I did not experience due to different use patterns.
I like the iOS4 on the 3GS and like it even better on the iPhone 4. In my opinion, multitasking and folders represent the two newest and best features (that run on both the iPhone 4 and the 3GS). The folders feature allows you to create a folder by superimposing one App’s icon over another icon. The system creates a folder with a suggested name based upon the function of the included App’s. The phone will suggest names such as “Navigation,” “News,” “Sports,” “Games,” “Utilities,” and so forth. You can accept the proposed name or give it your own custom name. Each folder will hold 12 app icons, allowing you to see and have easy access to a substantially larger number of apps than you could without folders. The existence of folders has made all of my apps available easily to me instead of leaving almost half of them hiding in invisible pages only available through the use of the search function. Folders also give you an easy way to organize your apps. I strongly prefer having my apps organized by subject or function to alphabetically by name. It saves me a great deal of time, particularly as I have collected so many apps that I could not possibly remember the correct name of each of them, making the search function one of limited utility in finding the hidden apps.
Multitasking represents my other favorite feature of iOS 4. As the name implies, this feature lets you run one app, leave it to run another, and then return to the first and pick up where you left off. It works well and saves the time of rebooting each app as you return to it.
I will talk about Face Time (another major feature) later as it requires a combination of iOS4 and the iPhone 4 hardware to work.
We don’t have space in this column for me to detail all of the features and improvements included in iOS 4, but you can learn more about it directly from the source at http://www.apple.com/iphone/ios4/.
The upgrade to iOS4 costs you nothing and improves the functionality of your iPhone 3GS or 3G as well as your iPod Touch. If you have not upgraded your software yet, I strongly recommend that you do so. I had no problem with the upgrade and have had no issues with the reliability of the new OS on the iPhone 4 or on the 3GS. As a follow up on iOS4 and the iPhone 3GS, my wife, who now has the 3GS, has reported no problems with its performance since she started using it. I have also successfully installed it on my iPod and found no problems with its operation.
For those of you that already have your iPad, the iOS4 does not yet work on the iPad. Apple has represented that it intends to release a software update for the iPad in the fall to bring iOS4 to the iPad. I look forward to the upgrade as iOS4 works much better than iOS3, and I want that functionality on my iPad. I believe that it will make the iPad much more convenient and useful to me for business purposes.
Now, let’s turn to the iPhone 4. Apple’s latest and greatest upgrade to its iPhone platform substantially improves on its predecessor. It brings a better design, a better and faster processor, a bigger and longer-lasting battery, a better camera, a second camera, and full use of iOS4 to your palmtop. On the other hand, the iPhone 4 has a few issues to contend with as well. First and foremost, it remains available only on the AT&T network. For those of you who do not have access to the AT&T network or who do not want to deal with AT&T, you don’t get to have an iPhone 4 unless you pay the full retail price for it, jailbreak it, and find a service provider that has a mini SIM card that will fit into the iPhone 4. (It uses a currently unusual-sized SIM card that, so far as I know, is available only at AT&T in the United States.)
Images courtesy of Apple, Inc.
The iPhone 4 became the subject of some controversy as a result of reports that problems have resulted from the integration of the phone’s antennae into the exterior edges of its case. As the phone uses multiple frequencies, it requires multiple antennas. The edges of the iPhone shell serve as those antennas. If you look at the edge of the case, you will see lines across the edges that represent breaks to separate the antennas. By holding the phone wrong, your finger can create an electrical bridge between two antenna segments. That bridge can interfere with your calls. This so-called problem became the proverbial tempest in a teapot and received a lot of ink and commentary. It did not, however seem to impede the iPhone 4’s fantastic popularity as it outsold everything else. In fact, while the antenna situation is an inconvenience and may even rise to the level of a design defect, it has proven only a minor issue. Simply put, the insertion of any form of insulation between the phone and your hand solves the problem. As most people buy cases for their iPhones that cover the antenna breaks, most users did not experience any problem. Moreover, Apple now has agreed to give away the bumpers that it sold for the iPhone 4 from the beginning. These bumpers cover the edges of the case and solve the problem (see image above). One has to suspect that Apple knew about the problem and designed the bumpers to solve it, which, to me, means that Apple should have sold the phones with the bumpers in place from the beginning. Shame on Apple for not doing that and trying to make a few extra dollars. As they have now addressed that issue, we can move on and enjoy the iPhone 4.
You can obtain full information on the iPhone 4 from the Apple website at http://www.apple.com/iphone/.
The iPhone 4’s Vital Statistics
Height: 4.5 inches (115.2 mm)
Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Depth: 0.37 inch (9.3 mm)
Weight: 4.8 ounces (137 grams)
Cellular and Wireless Connectivity
- UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
- GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR wireless technology
Power and Battery
- Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
- Talk time: Up to 7 hours on 3G; up to 14 hours on 2G
- Standby time: Up to 300 hours
- Internet use: Up to 6 hours on 3G; up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi
- Video playback: Up to 10 hours
- Audio playback: Up to 40 hours
The iPhone 4 comes in your choice of two sizes of memory: 16GB or 32 GB. As the iPhone 4 does not allow the use of SD cards or other memory add on devices, you cannot end up with more memory than you originally acquire. Accordingly, you should consider getting the 32GB to give you the greatest utility for your iPhone 4.
Although Apple’s website says the iPhone comes in black or white, Apple has only brought one color to market. Accordingly, much like the old Model T Ford, you can have your iPhone 4 in any color you want . . . just so long as you want black.
The iPhone 4’s most significant hardware features, in my opinion, include:
- The Retina Display. A high definition 960 x 640 resolution in a 3.5 inch display, using the same IPS (in plane switching) technology Apple employed in the iPad) results in incredibly sharp and clear images. The display easily qualifies as the best I have seen in a smartphone. The use of light sensor and backlighting enhances the displayed images.
- The Cameras. Apple upgraded the iPhone 4’s main camera to allow 5 megapixel images. While still not the highest in the classification, a substantial improvement and as good as you will need for almost any use you would reasonably want to put your iPhone to in terms of picture-taking. The iPhone 4 introduces a secondary camera that can take your picture and transmit it to another user’s iPhone 4.
- Video Camera. The iPhone 4 also records and plays HD videos at 720P and 30 frames per second. You can record and edit on your iPhone 4.
- Face Time. This is a feature of iOS 4, but it requires the secondary camera of the iPhone 4 to work. It only works between two iPhone 4s. It allows users to transmit their picture to another user while you watch their picture on your iPhone 4. True videoconferencing on your iPhone 4.
I rate the iPhone 4 as king of the mountain when it comes to smartphones. I prefer it to all the other phones I have used and recommend it highly.
Jeffrey Allen is the principal in the law firm of Graves & Allen with a general practice that, since 1973, has emphasized negotiation, structuring, and documentation of real estate acquisitions, loans and other business transactions, receiverships, related litigation, and bankruptcy. Graves & Allen is a small firm in Oakland, California. Mr. Allen also works extensively as an arbitrator and a mediator. He serves as the editor of the Technology eReport and the Technology & Practice Guide issues of GP Solo Magazine. He also serves on the Board of Editors of the ABA Journal. Mr. Allen regularly presents at substantive law and technology-oriented programs for attorneys and writes for several legal trade magazines. In addition to being licensed as an attorney in California, Jeffrey has been admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He is an associate professor at California State University of the East Bay and the University of Phoenix. Mr. Allen blogs on technology at www.jallenlawtekblog.com. You can contact Jeffrey via email firstname.lastname@example.org.