Tuesday, 29 June 2010

iPhone 4 - shiny toy but....

Finally found a moment to talk about the iPhone 4 since getting my hands on a few last week.

Apple announced yesterday that they've sold 1.7m in the first 3 days which is pretty impressive, and I suspect that there will be lots of people that hmm'd a bit about buying the iPhone before that have now made the leap.  For sure it's a shiny toy, but I was mildly amused that Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) was responding to comments about lousy reception / connectivity with comments along the lines of "you have to hold it properly"!  Apparently the built in aerial goes around the edge and if you aren't holding it quite right you get some sort of short circuit. Ooops.

Multi-tasking is an obvious and much needed improvement but there are other phones out there that have been able to do that for yonks. Now you can scroll through your apps at the bottom of the screen whilst still interacting with whatever you were doing, so no need to can listening to music so you can answer your mail, respond to a text or search for somewhere on the map.

Having a built-in webcam also makes a lot of sense, so you can use Facetime (Apple's Skype equivalent) for video calls (but only via a wifi connection, which makes sense given the bandwidth requirements to support video streaming), but for me finally having the ability to arrange your apps into folders is the stuff that really kicks the mobile bar forward. 

Think about the user experience of mobile computing:  It's predominantly touch rather than type-based. More and more services and brands are providing a connection with consumers via a mobile app, but there's apps and apps:  some apps you might use all the time, some you have 'cos they are intermittently useful. Before you know it you mobile desktop is an untidy collection of colourful icons. Sure, you can move them around so the ones you use the most are conveniently located, and it's definitely easier to use an app as a shortcut to information than faff around with fiddly mobile search queries and scrolling around a website rarely built properly for a mobile experience, but chaos sets in pretty quickly unless you are disciplined about housekeeping and tidy up or delete rarely used / rubbish apps regularly.

So thumbs up to Apple for sorting this problem out. Now I can keep adding apps to my hearts content, keep my inner Virgo happy by having a tidy desktop, and make touch-based navigation around my apps easy and logical.  Fab.

So if only Apple could sort out the chaos that was the O/S 4 upgrade to iTouch, 3G/GS phones so that it doesn't create a painful grind to a halt of the device / or make it incredibly difficult to return to the previous version, I'm sure there'd be a lot more 3GS owners feeling a bit less narked / miserable / jealous.

Not having my own iPhone 4, I owe votes of thanks to my friend Mike for letting me play and my friend Rupert of super smart mobile strategy / production agency Golden Gekko for sending me the screengrabs. Thanks chaps.

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