Apple iPhone 4 - Die Old Blackberry Die
Variety, makes sense as a Mac user, smart and pretty
Touch keyboard isn't great, mail app is just okay
The Bottom Line:
Because of circumstance, I couldn't get an iPhone, but I'm glad I finally have one. It's a pretty darn good phone.
When you tell someone that you're a former Blackberry user, their first reaction is to wonder why. They forget that the iPhone had only been available on AT&T prior, and that cell phone contracts aren't flexible and basically force you to make one decision that lasts for two years. Yes, I wanted an iPhone. Of course I did. But it wasn't out on Verizon yet when I had to re-up my Blackberry.
Well, I bucked the system, found someone to allow me to use their upgrade and now I have an iPhone. In short, it's just as good as everyone says it is.
(By the way, I bought the 4 rather than the new 4S because the Verizon store was all out of the 4S and my phone died completely right as I entered the store.)
My needs for a cell phone are very simple. I need to be able to read my email, which was a plus for the Blackberry as RIM still does email better than Apple. I also need my applications to run smoothly because I'm always on the go with a long commute several times a week as well as lots of public transit time. Twitter and Facebook help get me through through the non-working part of my day when I'm on the go. And I send many more texts than I actually place phone calls (which I'm guessing is the norm now). This was also a plus for the Blackberry because of the keyboard, but the actual text message application is much better on the iPhone.
If the Blackberry phones (and I've been through at least three different once over the years) weren't made to break down, overheat, and not work because the operating system can't catch up to what's going on, then I might still be a Blackberry user. But unfortunately, my three phones all broke down in the same way, I couldn't even make calls at some point on each phone.
If I'm comparing the iPhone to my Blackberry experience, it won the day I was able to turn it on and make a call without having to restart the phone. But is the iPhone all that it's cracked up to be?
I think it's pretty darn close. First off, it's a really nice piece of hardware, but you don't always get to enjoy it. Unless you don't drop your phone, you have to buy a case for it that makes it bulky and also put a screen saver on the front glass. I've always found that interesting. My cousin works at Apple and all the engineers keep theirs case free so that they can appreciate the engineering. If Apple wanted us to appreciate the engineering, they'd make it more sturdy, don't you think?
What I would've needed to know ...
At 4.8 ounces, it's a bit heavier than my iPod touch, but that's expected. I actually enjoy that there's a bit of weight to it because it's way too expensive to replace. I need to know where that thing is in my pocket at all times.
I know that the iPhone has a bad reputation for dropped calls, but I haven't experienced it yet. Some of that may have to do with being on Verizon rather than AT&T (which is poor in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live), and some of it probably has to do with better antenna placement in the later phones. Apple promises a high-resolution retina display of 960-by-640 resolution. All you need to know is that your texts, apps, movies, photos, and caller ID are in near perfect clarity.
One of my worries about selecting the 4 model rather than the 4s was simply speed. The 4 includes the A4 chip rather than the dual core A5 chip that is in the 4S. While I haven't played much with the 4S, I'm fine with the speed of the 4. There are a few apps that can work a little slower than I'd like, but nothing that makes me want to throw the phone (much like the Blackberry).
If you're a big time user of your phone, you know that you'll need to be able to charge it frequently. Even with pretty good battery life on the iPhone, if you use the phone with any frequency other than making calls and texting, you'll have to charge it over the day. Thankfully, if you work on a computer, you can charge it simply by connecting it to the computer through USB. I have the wall charger that comes with the phone, a car charger, and the USB connector. There's nothing worse than running out of battery.
The only thing I really don't like is the touch keyboard. While the software is smart enough to figure out what you're trying to type (75% of the time), I continually hit the delete button more than I want, and send out texts with small typos.
Now for the goodies ...
The iOS is very slick. If you've used an iPod touch before, you understand how functional and smart the OS is. If you are a Mac user, the iOS will be very familiar. The camera delivers up to 5 megapixels and for those who enjoy sharing their photos quickly to Facebook or in email, it's perfect. The camera works very well in sync with the software. You can take a half decent photo, crop it, lighten it, and share it on Facebook in a matter of 30 seconds. Video records in 720p and the video camera is good enough for me to replace my Flip, except that I'd be far too worried about running down my battery. With both the photo and video feature, if you find things out of focus, you just tap the screen and it auto focuses for you.
Video calling works pretty well over wi-fi. I've only done "FaceTime" a handful of times with my kids and it's worked fine. I'm not sure I need it, but for those that do, it works. It's also compatible with those who have "FaceTime" on their Macs, so it's not just phone to phone or phone to iPad.
What makes the iPhone the best buy is the fact that Apple has a great track record with me. I have MacBooks, an iMac, iPods, an AppleTV, and have never resented a purchase. Yes, even with the AppleTV. There's also much more variety in what you can add to your phone. There are over 500,000 apps for purchase in the App store. Also, if you are a Mac user already, just the benefit of the phone out of the box working with everything you own, cements it.
I wasn't going to dislike this phone. It was going to be pretty impossible. But other than a few small nitpicks, I can say that I'm very happy.