Firstly, I'm a huge fan. Not your frothing Apple-can-do-no-wrong diehard but a hard-won PC/Windows convert. I've never really been stirred to write any kind of review before, but I love this thing and I've been looking to rekindle my blog for a while but indecisive about what type of content to pursue. This feels like a good start. The iPhone 4 has launched with all the fanfare of a major Apple product and has had suitable media coverage both good and bad. It has likely further polarised the gadget-loving community; I know I have had some interesting discussions at work. Like many of you, whichever side of the fence you sit on, I like to imagine that I've made my own informed decision before parting with my hard-earned money.
I was initially uninterested in the fourth generation iPhone. I'd had my 3G S barely a year and quite expected the fourth increment to pass me by, most likely opting to upgrade at generation 5 when the improvement in hardware was more significant. This was my opinion until I saw it.
You'll have to excuse my poor photography, but I have attempted to capture something of that which first made my upgrade position waver. The design of the iPhone 4 is visually amazing. I really liked the original aluminium body iPhone, and was somewhat saddened when upgrading to the 3G S left me with a comparatively tacky looking and easily-scratched plastic case. Never the less I thought it pretty enough that I refused to hide it in a case and despite living in my pocket naked for 12 months when I finally parted ways with it the screen was pristine and there were only the slightest scuffs on the back. Not bad, in my opinion. However next to the iPhone 4 with it's steel and glass industrial-chic design the previous incarnations look frankly shoddy. I don't appreciate all of Jony Ive and his team's design work but this is awesome. I only feel a little sad that due to it's ubiquitous popularity it will never really be considered a design classic. If everyone has one it always seems to diminish it's aesthetic value. None the less upon seeing it for the first time I definitely felt that tug of desire. I am a firm believer that all of our day-to-day objects and tools can be equally functional and beautiful and beauty is it's own justification.
So I coveted, but I don't think that the looks alone would have been enough to sway me. Then I saw the details on the screen. I initially thought Mr. Jobs' boast about it being too high resolution for your retina to discern the pixels to be an exaggeration, but it isn't. It honestly is that sharp. The LCD film is also laminated onto the optical glass front, which eliminates a lot of glare. This thing is readable in all but the brigtest direct sunlight and that is fairly impressive. This was that little bit extra that pushed it from merely and incremental improvement to a serious and desirable upgrade. Apple's 'reinvention' talk is a little over the top, but this is worth the leap for a 3G S user in my humble opinion. Reading is surprisingly faster on the screen - something i wasn't expecting but noticed immediately as I've been reading a lot on my iPad of late (which needs a retina display in generation 2).
I don't need to spell out the iPhone 4s features, I'm sure you're all sick of hearing about them, these are the two that swung it for me and I think they're the most significant for most users. It has to be beautiful and it is. The most significant aspect of the device, it's screen - it's user interface device, is beautiful and so much more functional because of it. You're also all aware of the 'death grip' issue, it remains to be seen if Apples firmware fix will deal with it. I haven't had any real issues with it, but can understand that for some folks it may be a dealbreaker. iOS4 is great, but still in need of a few features (more mature mail client, non-modal notification method etc) but it is a joy to use and I've yet to encounter a significant bug.
I've yet to trial FaceTime, taking volunteers!