When it comes to iPhone 4 and iOS 4, I am conflicted. In fact, my thoughts about it are the most divergent of any other smartphone I’ve seen to date. Although my inner geek was generally disappointed with the lack of industry-redefining specs and features unveiled at the Apple keynote, the consumer in me is actually excited about the new handset.
In general, the best thing about the whole iPhone brand is not the hardware or even the platform — it’s the apps. 200,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Sure, there’s plenty of fluff in there, but there’s also a mountain of stuff for your productive, fun-seeking or social-connecting ways. Other app markets are gaining ground, even making great strides these days, but by making the upgrades it did, Apple has now given its massive legion of developers a much, much broader field to play in.
I have apps that just aren’t available on other platforms — ones I love and use often, not to mention the others on the way. (Netflix streaming for the iPhone? That brings tears to the eyes.) Couple that with other long-desired features, like multitasking, LED flash, vid chat, longer battery life and HD recording — all powered by a faster processor, viewable on a ridiculously clear, hi-res (960x640) screen and encased in the phone’s sleekest form factor yet (at 9.3mm), fabricated out of glass and steel — and you’ve got a lot of tickled iPhone users.
My inner consumer is doing a happy dance.
She couldn’t care less who came up with multitasking first, or that the camera’s 5 megapixels doesn’t match up to the 8 megapixels in other phones. (How many times will it be necessary to snap a phone pic and blow it up poster size?) This will be a faster phone with better battery life, with enough upgrades that will keep the device from getting in the way of functionality (which the older, more limited iPhones were starting to do). And iPhone 4 brings some new things to the table that iPhone users may not even have known they wanted, like iMovie video editing on the fly, a Retina Display and a Gyroscope (?!), not to mention FaceTime video chat.
Judging by the comments on Today’s iPhone, not all iPhone hopefuls are happy with the announcement — but most seem pretty thrilled by what they got. Many of their most fervent complaints about their phones got answered, and then some. For these users, the keynote was a revelation. (And it also offered a sneak peek into what may be in store for future iPads. Think that snazzy Retina Display isn’t going to show up on a future Apple tablet? I wager it will. And if FaceTime proves popular, could we see a camera on the tablet?)
Admittedly, Apple did not reinvent the smartphone here. And I criticized it for that in my first post. But on some level, I also appreciate this strategy: It wasn’t a bunch of half-developed features meant to shut up the critics, ones that would languish as new rough-around-the-edges concepts get trotted out later just to create hype. What Cupertino did was finally give users most of what they demanded, while taking what already worked and refining it to work even better. Then it threw in some well-conceived extras on top, like sprinkles on a sundae.
It may not be enough to thrill the nerds who are on the bleeding edge of mobile tech, but for the general consumer — which makes up the majority of the iPhone customer base — it’s more than enough to inspire sales.
So there it is: This write-up, plus the previous Part 1, make for two contradictory, yet simultaneously authentic impressions. Yes, I am sad there weren’t more “Wow” moments at the keynote. And yes, I will also probably be first in line at the Apple store on June 24 to get my iPhone 4.
Like so much in life, the iPhone 4 unveiling came with a lot of pros and cons. So I’ll end things that way as well:
The Pros (or at least my fav things about the keynote, in no particular order)
Cons (i.e., my least favorite things)
When it comes to the “lame or not” question regarding the WWDC keynote, there are undoubtedly some of you planted firmly on one side or the other. (Go ahead and share your thoughts on why this was a great or terrible announcement below.) But I'm wondering — is there anyone else feeling conflicted about it? Let me know in the comments.