After the first contact with WWDC, Macitynet spent a few hours of quiet company with the new iPhone 4, a period in which we have not yet been able to make a real review (which will arrive shortly) but which has served us to get a precise and more precise idea of the fleeting first impression of San Francisco, an idea that we want to present as a sort of "work in progress" of that review we have just mentioned.
Before going into detail a premise, which could also be a sort of early conclusion: after so many years of Apple products, we were surprised but as time went by to still experience a sincere enthusiasm for Cupertino's innovations. The set of changes (which we must classify, as we will see, the name of real improvements) completely redesigns the concept of the iPhone, as it has been known so far. The first evidence in the form factor change that opens the way to a set of possibilities that were previously unthinkable.
ERGONOMICS Trivially, as soon as you open the package, this is the first problem that arises: how to carry it around safely? Are Jobs's insurances about ultra-resistant surfaces credible or will we be collectors of scratches again? The existing cases do not adapt to the different shape of the iPhone 4, which is a few millimeters higher, less wide and less thick. To avoid scratches on the smooth surfaces, we recycle one of the pouch cases present in the ancient disc iPod packs and adapt it to the need. In any case, the market already offers a wide range of solutions to satisfy all tastes.
The portability of the object is not discussed: thinner at the cost of only two unnoticeable grams more than the previous model. Here is a sum of impressions after a whole day of continuous use of the new iPhone 4.
BEAUTYThe metallic edge is probably the most discussed and contested modification. First of all for having radically and without notice changed a continuity of style that has lasted for three generations. Secondly for the now well-known discussion about the accommodation capacity of the antennae of the apparatus.
A solution, the latter, developing a subtle engineering pleasure: form function, which blends visual refinement with technological functionality. We point out in this regard that in the model available to us we have not been able to recreate the conditions of cellular or Wi-Fi signal loss. By touching the device in a prohibited manner, the maximum that we have verified is the loss of a notch of the indicator signal, recovered automatically after a few moments. We reserve the right to further test, on the Italian cellular network and with other users, to check whether there are subjective problems affecting the emergence of the bug.
Returning to the square edge, the dual function: not only an antenna, but also a stable support base for the mobile phone that stands out on the desk like the black monolith of 2001 A Space Odyssey. This opens up how to use: video call with FaceTime having both hands free, viewing movies while you are doing something else (now YouTube properly straightens the video if the phone is vertical).
Overall, the new design and the metal structure give that surprising sense of total solidity even for those who, so far, have treated their iPhone with all possible precautions. In going back to tighten the 3GS, you have a sense of "cheap", as if that cell phone that we have always appreciated for the quality has transformed to our touch into a piece of vulgar "plasticaccia. Scary to think that until a few days ago it was one of the best cell phones in existence.
RETINA DISPLAYThe second element of which the leap in quality is immediately perceptible, undoubtedly the Retina Display, a high-sounding and truly centered name for a true evolution of the species. A few months ago, at the GSMA forum in Barcelona, we had witnessed the brilliance of Samsung's SuperAMOLED; although it is not an organic screen like that of the Korean company, we are still faced with a truly remarkable piece of technology, even superior in some respects to the component that we then hoped to end up in an iPhone.
The screen of the new iPhone 4 we do not hesitate to define it phenomenal, as well as the limit of non-photography: the images on the web at 72dpi do justice to a viewer that redefines the word "color", also in this case by throwing the already good screen of the 'iPhone 3GS, into the abyss of the outdated generations. In comparison, the old man faded and dead. We would say part of the past.
We have collected a concrete proof of what it means by playing with one of our acquaintances to verify its characteristics in the dark, that is, without the prejudice already formed of having a new object in your hands: "How strange your iPhone …" was the response to our solicitation, to then be amazed to discover the details of the photos taken, their quality, the fast and defined zoom. The Retina Display should be appreciated live, perhaps even with another mobile phone next to it. This is the only way to truly perceive the quality of the screen
CAMERAThe new iPhone currently only available in black, but if we only had one adjective to summarize it, it would certainly be another color (see the photo alongside as an example). In our opinion, put aside what for someone could be only details (design and high resolution screen) the true killer application of the iPhone 4 the camera-software sector, which, coupled with the Retina Display, hits any compact camera hard also of a good standard. Once again, the error of those who play everything on the number of megapixels rather than on the entire color acquisition chain is clearly demonstrated: lens, sensor, software.
Among the novelties of the application: a button with two arrows allows you to switch from one camera to another, rear and front. In this way it is possible to obtain self-portraits with the camera, avoiding the balance of the previous models in which it was necessary to aim based roughly with one's reflection in the reflective surface.
Honestly we would have liked an option for the self-timer and the possibility (too often referred to third-party software) to be able to take the photo by clicking on the entire screen rather than in a narrow button (sometimes inconvenient to reach for users with visual difficulties, beginners or truly unstable equilibrium positions). Of course not deadly sins, but a forgetfulness that not even the launch of iOS 4.0 as a dowry has solved.
In this regard, in use, we seem to have encountered a small bug: once the photo is taken, sometimes it does not appear immediately in the image library, but a "waking up" is required when exiting and re-entering the application.
VELOCITA'IThe A4 processor and the generous availability of RAM memory make the iPhone 4 experience rewarding. Fast actions, almost non-existent loading times, a general feeling of advanced reactivity. The Maps application has a really "missile" behavior: under Wi-Fi coverage the maps load instantly, the zoom instantly follows the user's finger, the route calculations are calculated and presented as soon as you have finished releasing the button.
On the other hand, the mechanism for hooking up wireless networks that are clearly slow, even under full field. But frankly, we have noticed the same negative behavior also updating our 3GS to the latest firmware 4. Once the signal is taken, however, it remains stable and without uncertainties, even by trying to "touch" the metal body in the offending points.
In short, the contact at the "first degree" fires iPhone with flying colors. Further field tests and tests, which we will undertake in the coming days will allow to highlight all the features of the iPhone 4; but we do not think we are wrong if we venture into a prediction according to which the phone will catalyze the public's attention and become, like it or not, a point of reference for competition and as such the new hen with the golden eggs of Cupertino.