But it's no down-market drive. After the plastic used to make the 3G and 3GS cheaper to produce and lighter to hold, the shift to a rear panel made, like the front, of toughened glass, and separated from it by a steel band running round the side, gives the iPhone 4 an up-market feel.
Moving back up-market
Now that not only the world and its dog but also its plumber has an iPhone 3G, has Apple begun to fear that it's lowered the tone too far?
Apple doesn't, after all, want to be Samsung or LG. It doesn't really want to be Nokia. It wants its products to be aspirational, to appeal to the well-heeled and the people who'd like to be - to punters who'll pay that little bit extra.
So, apart from a sexy new look and the Angelina Jolie of mobile phone screens, what does your £499 - for the 16GB model, factory unlocked at last - get you?
How about FaceTime - or, as the cynics will call it, FailTime? Apple hype aside, it works and it is a good implementation of video calling. It's tied into the Phone app, rather than a separate one. If you make a call to another iPhone 4 that's simultaneously connected to a Wi-Fi network, you can tap the FaceTime button and jabber away Skype/iChat fashion.
FaceTime works smoothly, and the way voice calling should work... if you can find someone to do it with
There's an on-screen guide to help you position your pucker, and a switch to cut to the rear-mounted camera and back again. FaceTime also seems to drop the cellular call, so even though a network link is required to initiate them, video calls won't use up airtime minutes.
Apparently the next generation of iPhone is called the Apple OneCell. Apple commented on the proposed name stating:
"We flatly reject any claims that the new OneCell name is any way reflects the number of un-banned applications, or the fact that users are in any way locked-in, and that OneCell in no way refers to either the battery life or average intelligence of Apple users."
Have really gone down hill lately. Time was you could chuck your nokia around and it'd survive no worries.
I remember back in the day dropping my 3210 in a river, could see the screen lit up and working at the bottom with full signal. Fished it out, dried it - worked first time.
This is the sort of thing I expect to see in a phone test.
no fixin' required
@Mr Burns and AC (assuming Smithers)
No fixin' required, just needs a s/w update apparently.
It does amaze me the amount of negative press Apple gets her at El Reg, or even the amount of vitriol spewed by people who have no clue in the comments, but at least one of you had the balls to sign their name against it.
It's a bloody good phone, but if it didn't exist, then I doubt the current crop of phones would be anywhere near the current state of technology.
Android wouldn't be a competitor, WebOS might actually have saved palm, and Windows 7 would be out in 2011 (oh wait, the last is probably still true)
"I experience zero signal degradation when i deliberately cover up the bottom left of mine."
Oh well then they must all be fine.
Panic over everyone; someone tell His Illustrious Steveness.
A fair review
It's nice to see a fair review of the iPhone 4 instead of the usual "ZOMG teh phonez doesnt wurkz when you hold teh bottum left". I can re-create the problem on my phone, but in general use I never hold it in the way that interferes with the antenna. That's not a conscious choice, it's just the way I naturally want to hold it.
I've had mine since launch now and I've been generally quite pleased, and the speed boost over my old 3G is brilliant. It used to take over a minute to load a web page on the 3G, the iPhone 4 does it in seconds. The camera also is really excellent compared to what was on the 3G. All in all though, it's actually more of the same, which is fine, but it's not as revolutionary as the 3G was for me after years of Windows Mobile.
I agree with the reviewer about the lack of need for multi-tasking most of the time. After Windows Mobile's way of handling things, I thought the elegance of only allowing one app to run at a time was a smart solution to limited resources, a small screen, ease of use and ensuring the running app is able to use the full power of the system.
As to whether it's a better choice than an Android device, I'm not sure. I've got quite a large array of games and apps on my iPhone now and I generally think iOS is a nicer interface to use. I am however very jealous that Android has Flash, as that's probably my biggest bug-bear with the new iPhone. I'd have preferred a 64GB model too as I've already filled the 32GB... If Android starts to get more games and the platform fragmentation problems are sorted out, my next phone might not be from Apple...