iPhone 4: Nearly all it's cracked up to be
First look: Apple's new iPhone is faster, slimmer, slicker, better -- except for potential reception problemsFollow @pvenezia
If there ever was an overhyped product, it's... well, actually, it's the iPad, though the iPhone 4 is close on its heels. But even after all the hoopla -- from the speculation and rumors to the "lost" iPhone 4 incident and police action -- the arrival of the iPhone 4 is no letdown. The iPhone 4 really is all that was promised and more -- except for a potential reception problem.
The first reason to love this phone is the screen -- the beautiful, extraordinary screen. Whether you believe Steve Jobs's claim that the pixel density is beyond what the human retina can interpret or not, you really do have to see this screen for yourself. The Retina Display in the iPhone 4 is simply amazing.
[ The excellent iPad is a sleek media player and a highly functional tablet computer, but there's room for improvement. See "InfoWorld review: Apple iPad surprises, disappoints." | Find out what iOS 4 does -- and doesn't -- do. ]
In fact, it's almost too amazing. While Apple's iOS 4 application icons have clearly been enhanced for the new display, existing applications from independent developers -- which appeared perfectly crisp on an iPhone 3G S -- are suddenly looking hazy and unfocused. Looking at the Apple Compass application icon adjacent to, say, iWant Pro, it's immediately apparent that developers everywhere will be rushing to release updates of their applications with higher-resolution icons.
That "problem" extends to the applications themselves, which now appear extraordinarily pixelated, especially when interposed with the text that is rendered so shockingly clear on the new display. The exception to this rule appears to be games, with several popular titles still looking quite sharp.
iPhone 4 horsepower
Games are also performing quite admirably on the iPhone 4. Of course, they're more than happy to take advantage of the enhanced CPU and RAM resources, which from all accounts appears to be an Apple A4 SoC with 512MB of RAM -- the same central processor and twice the RAM found in the recently released iPad.
Measured side by side with an iPhone 3G S, the iPhone 4 is noticeably faster in a variety of common tasks, and it really excels at handling the new iOS 4 capabilities such as multitasking. While there aren't a huge number of multitasking-aware apps available yet, the extra oomph provided by the iPhone 4 makes app switching and application backgrounding extremely snappy. All the new bells and whistles in iOS 4 simply fly on the iPhone 4, while they may stutter a little on iPhone 3G S and iPhone 3G hardware. In the case of the iPhone 3G, some of the new features are not available at all.