Another Apple falls from the feature tree

Another Apple falls from the feature tree

Jun 16

So, about that iPhone 4. What can I say about that…

Ok, how about we start by discussing the new ‘wow’ features of the fourth generation of the worlds most amazing device. I’m not going to wax lyrical about how OK version one was and how excellent version two was and the fine tradition of quality that this new device continues to uphold.

So what wonderful new features have Apple crammed into that little box to make us all desire it and part with our very hard earned money?

1. Better screen
2. Better camera
3. HD video recording
4. Better battery life
5. Gyroscope
6. Front facing camera/Video calling
7. Multitasking

Those seven are the biggest features but obviously there are some other things like the compass, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and so on which are also cool and nice and all that.

Also, technically feature number 7 is an OS feature, not a hardware feature but I’ll include it here because it’s a pretty important step for Apple and the answer to very many prayers I would imagine.

Anyway, onwards and forwards:

1. Better screen

Possibly the best feature of the iPhone 4. The screen does sound great, possibly not quite as great as Steve made out but probably pretty damn good anyway. A+

2. Better camera

5 whole mega pixels. That’s pretty underwhelming to be honest. My Sony Ericsson k850i has a 5Mp camera. My HTC has an 8Mp camera. The sensor is a bit bigger, I’ll give Apple that but to be fair, basically anything is an improvement over the previous camera. Fail.

3. HD video recording

Cool, yes. Useful, yes. Nifty, yes. Wow, not so much. Ground breaking? No. Fail.

4. Better battery life

Any improvement over one day is irrelevant in the greater scheme of things but I guess any improvement is still an improvement. B.

5. Gyroscope

Ok, it sounds like a great idea and I’m pretty sure it will be cool. It’s not exactly as ground breaking as the motion sensors in the first place, but I’ll go for this one. B+

6. Front facing camera/Video calling

This was one of the ‘big things’ in Steve’s keynote. I have just one thing to say about that: Fail. Why? Because, guy, my Sony Ericsson k850i, that is very old and shitty had a front facing camera. It also had video calling. So did my wife’s Nokia. Ages ago. This is not exactly astounding new technology. I’ve had mobile video calling for years and I’ve used it precisely once. One time. The day I realised I could do it and never again. Why? Because it’s pretty much useless while: walking, driving, moving, public places, bathrooms, malls and everywhere else where you aren’t sitting still in a quiet room all on your own. My laptop has a camera and Skype and I don’t even use video calling for every Skype call I make. This is as good as it gets Steve? Epic fail.

7. Multitasking

Hm, what to say, what to say. How about this: some of you are going to be very very disappointed when you find out what iOS4 can and, well, can’t do. Apple multitasking is not, as one might expect, full and complete multitasking. Oh no, its more like a slightly upgraded and extended, but still weak version of the multitasking that iOS already has. The bottom line is that you will in fact NOT be able to be on IRC, browse the internet and be on twitter at the same time and even the few apps that will have multitasking capability will only have its limited ability once the developers have added it in but, thank Steve, you it might have a decent battery life (because you can’t bloody do what you WANT to do).

Read these two posts about iOS4 multitasking:

http://www.tuaw.com/2010/06/14/multitasking-in-ios4-is-not-a-magical-sparkle-pony/

http://www.marco.org/684391075

Final verdict? It’s still pretty, it still requires me to have a Mac to develop software for it, it still doesn’t have multitasking. The screen though, man the screen sounds great.

6 comments

  1. Have to disagree with a variety of things here. The one place we can agree is that the screen is pretty awesome, frankly I think that, the new styling and the antennas wrapping around the sides make it worth buying. And the screen really is as good as Steve said it was, if you read that one article that said it wasn’t, well, he was wrong. If you have 20/20 vision and hold the phone 10″ away you can’t see any pixels.

    For the camera, who even needs 5 mp, my last camera had 3 mp and that was 5 times more than I needed. What’s important is lens quality and shutter speed.

    For video I find it pretty funny that is Steve doesn’t come up with something never seen before that you can go Wow! at it’s a fail This is a good, solid feature. What else do you hold to that standard? And I mean anything in any category, anywhere in the world.

    Better battery life is always good and can always be better so we pretty much agree there. I’m actually a bit disappointed because the battery life of the iPad is phenomenal and I thought they should be able to do twice as good on the iPhone. Oh well.

    The gyro is a HUGE plus if you play a lot of games, my eyes bugged out just hearing about it.

    I have never heard of a phone with a front facing camera capable of video conferencing. You’re outside of America, right? That doesn’t exist here or exists only on phones no one buys. I think it’s a great idea and will work beautifully because lots of people will own an iPhone to video each other. No need to use it often for it to be a great feature.

    As far as multi-tasking, I didn’t even know they didn’t have it on earlier versions. I can’t imagine why anyone needs that on a phone. I think it would only cause problems, like leaving open too many apps so your battery gets drained in minutes.

    And I have 3 Macs and don’t write code.

    And Android will not beat the iPhone. The iPhone has 30% of the smart phone market in the US while Android has 5%. It’s the fastest growing because it’s new and people who don’t like AT&T can’t get an iPhone. But Android comes out with a new phone every 15 minutes and is with every phone company out there and it still isn’t selling as well as the iPhone did when it first came out. Think of it, one single phone, one manufacturer, one phone company, and it still passed RIM as the number one smart phone.

  2. shawn

    And the screen really is as good as Steve said it was, if you read that one article that said it wasn’t, well, he was wrong. If you have 20/20 vision and hold the phone 10″ away you can’t see any pixels.

    I read a couple of articles, Bad Astronomy included. Admitedly, on average it seems like you won’t be able to see the pixels (though I do have 20/20 vision) but I’ll give you that, untill I actually see the screen for myself.

    For the camera, who even needs 5 mp, my last camera had 3 mp and that was 5 times more than I needed. What’s important is lens quality and shutter speed.

    The last iPhone camera was utter crap. Presumably this one is better. Sure, lens matters a lot but it’s going to take a little more to convince me that the iPhone 4 camera at 5Mp is better than my 8Mp camera. Also, I’ve taken just over 300 photo’s in the month I’ve had my HTC. The camera is important to me.

    For video I find it pretty funny that is Steve doesn’t come up with something never seen before that you can go Wow! at it’s a fail This is a good, solid feature. What else do you hold to that standard? And I mean anything in any category, anywhere in the world.

    It’s a good solid feature sure, but it’s been on the EVO books for ages. HD video recording is not ‘wow’. It would have been ‘wow’ in the 3G or even the 3GS.

    The gyro is a HUGE plus if you play a lot of games, my eyes bugged out just hearing about it.

    I don’t really play any games which is probably why I don’t feel that that ‘wow’ feeling. It is cool though and I’m sure it will do great stuff for AR.

    I have never heard of a phone with a front facing camera capable of video conferencing. You’re outside of America, right? That doesn’t exist here or exists only on phones no one buys. I think it’s a great idea and will work beautifully because lots of people will own an iPhone to video each other. No need to use it often for it to be a great feature.

    A good feature perhaps (I’m far from convinced), ‘wow’ most definitely not. As I said, I’ve had it for years and I’ve never used it because beyond the ‘cooool’ response the first time you use it, it is basically useless for every day use. I’ll post you a picture of my k850i.

    As far as multi-tasking, I didn’t even know they didn’t have it on earlier versions. I can’t imagine why anyone needs that on a phone. I think it would only cause problems, like leaving open too many apps so your battery gets drained in minutes.

    I prefer to be the one who decides when and how my battery gets used thank you very much. IRC on the iPhone is useless because, really, who is on IRC and only that? And now, it seems, it will remain useless. There is NO win in not having decent multitasking. Also, it means the iPad also doesn’t get real multitasking. That, is a fail on all counts.

    And I have 3 Macs and don’t write code.

    I have no Macs and I wrote code for money, for fun, for free, at night, during the day and on weekends.

    And Android will not beat the iPhone. The iPhone has 30% of the smart phone market in the US while Android has 5%. It’s the fastest growing because it’s new and people who don’t like AT&T can’t get an iPhone. But Android comes out with a new phone every 15 minutes and is with every phone company out there and it still isn’t selling as well as the iPhone did when it first came out. Think of it, one single phone, one manufacturer, one phone company, and it still passed RIM as the number one smart phone.

    First thing is that Android only really caught up to iOS at version 2 released 29 October 2009. The 2.0 SDK was only released in December. How many months is that? 7? Android will win because of Apple’s control issues, Google is spreading the love. It will eventually have more users than iOS just like there are more Windows users than Mac users. It’s completely open so it will have many more developers (like me). Android may not ever kill iOS completely but the future is not a closed system operated by Steve Jobs. The point really is that if I could develop for it on my platform of choice and get my apps onto the app store, I would probably be more of an iPhone fan and so would a lot of other people.

    Time will tell I suppose, but unless Jobs and Co. come up with something with more ‘wow’ than they did now, they will have problems because of their imposed limits. The only thing the iPhone 4 has to give me pause is the screen and that won’t last much more than two or three months then everybody has that too.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Android overtook iOS, but that is a different issue from the iPhone. Big difference selling a phone instead of an OS.

      iPhone will not go the way of the Mac because back in the 80’s Macs were way overpriced for what they were, PC’s just didn’t do that much back then and know one had any way of judging which was better, the main thing they saw was that the Mac was 2-3 times the cost of a PC.

      The iPhone is priced the same as most smart phones and people know it is cooler than anything else out there. Nor do I think being closed is any deterrent at all. Ask a hundred people and they won’t even know what a closed system is – and they don’t want to know. The iPhone is easy to use, that’s what they care about.

  3. shawn

    Here is a picture of the front facing camera on my 3 year old k850i, the one that has 3G video calling out of the box.

    http://shawn.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/imag0294.jpg

    3G video calling. The iPhone 4 only supports WiFi. Come, on.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K850i

    • Wifi only?? That is pretty lame.

      I just talked to a friend of mine yesterday with an iPhone and he said that AT&T’s reception still sucks so it looks like I’m not getting one until it comes to Verizon.

  4. shawn

    Oh, one more thing, the k850i allows some video editing on the phone. Think about that for a bit.

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