It almost feels like it's 2007 again. This is not just a bad case of deja vu. Back in July of 2007 all the news was filled with iPhone this and iPhone that. Of course, 2007 is when Apple released the first iPhone. This summer Apple released the iPhone 4, their latest and greatest version of the 'smart phone', and it's all you can find in the news.
Unfortunately, Apple has recently come under heavy fire for problems with the new iPhone. Mainly it seems to be tied to the new type of antenna Apple designed for the iPhone. Users quickly found out that by holding the phone in a certain way would cause the cellular signal to drop radically. While this may be cause for concern, it doesn't necessarily mean that your connection to the network would fail. Those in weaker cell areas found that it did indeed cause an increase in dropped calls.
The problems and reports, either true or allegedly made up, got to such a point that Apple called an unprecedented press conference to handle the media and its customers. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO and original co-founder of Apple, Inc., recently took the stage for a brief overview of the situation. Essentially he said that there was no major problem, that all cell phones act this way, if held in a certain way. While this might be true to some extent, it did not go quite far enough for some.
Apple has decided that the best course of action for those who now have new iPhones that the use of a case will solve most signal drop issues. Any iPhone 4 owner can get a case for free through the end of September of this year. Although not stated by anyone from Apple, it is likely that there will be a design change for later shipping iPhone 4 models to improve reception.
While the iPhone 4 might be getting some bad press, it is also getting some good press. Many iPhone 4 owners have reported no problems with their phones. It seems that the iPhone works very well in areas with strong reception. Reviews of the iPhone 4 have also been very positive.
The new styling is excellent. The new super high-resolution screen, called Retina, is one of the best displays on any smart phone. There are two cameras built into the iPhone 4. One is a new front-facing webcam type for use in doing video conferencing. Apple includes a new feature just for the iPhone 4 called Face Time. When you call another iPhone 4 you have the option to tap the Face Time button and if the other person accepts, and you are both on a WiFi network, you can now talk and see each other in a video chat.
The other camera is on the back of the phone, which was also on the previous model. The new iPhone sports a 5 megapixel sensor, up from 3 megapixels in the iPhone 3GS. This camera can also capture HD resolution video, 1280x720. The quality of the video is very decent, but the stills from the new iPhone are quite excellent, for a phone. Much improved over the 3GS.
To go along with this new camera, Apple has made a version of iMovie, their easy to use video editing software from the iLife suite, for the iPhone. It can be purchased and downloaded from the App Store for only $10.
There are plenty of new features in the iPhone 4 to make it an easy recommendation, these and the new iPhone OS, now called iOS 4. There are hundreds of new features in iOS 4, the major ones are - multitasking, folders, wallpapers, Bluetooth keyboard support, and iBooks.
While there are plenty of features to recommend the iPhone 4, Apple is now in a precarious position. The iPhone is not the best smart phone out there. It has taken quite a while, pretty much 3+ years, but others have caught up to Apple.
When the 3G came out in 2008, other wireless makers (Nokia, Motorola, Palm, etc.) had eyes on creating the 'iPhone killer'. They came and went. It seemed that no one could make a device that had the elegance and power of the iPhone. Their biggest problem was that Apple had created probably the best mobile operating system ever. The other was that Apple being there first gave them a huge advantage with applications. When Apple finally opened the iPhone up to software developers and created the App Store, the iPhone really took off.
Then along came Google to spoil Apple's party. Google created their own mobile OS called Android, and made it open source. This allowed any cell phone manufacturer easy, and cheap, access to a powerful mobile OS. While it took a few version updates and phone revisions, the Android based phone is rapidly becoming the dominant smart phone.
Phones based on Android have a few things going for it that Apple does not. The biggest bullet in the Android gun is choice. There are several companies creating Android based phones and these phones are available on other networks, not just AT&T, which Apple is exclusive to.
The latest Android phone is from Motorola called the Droid X. It has a huge 4.3-inch color LCD screen (854 x 480), 1 GHz OMAP processor, 512MB RAM, 24 GB storage, 8-megapixel still camera, 720p HD video, n-WiFi, and three microphones (noise canceling). It even has a mini-HDMI port to output videos.
Android OS is also up to version 2.2, but the X only has 2.1. This is probably only temporary and 2.2 will likely be available as an update for the X fairly soon. Even so, the 2.1 version of Android is pretty amazing. Its multitasking is better than iOS 4.
If you don't like the size of the X, or you want another carrier, there are other Android phones to choose from. Sprint has the new EVO with 4G speed (where available), while T-Mobile has the Vibrant and MyTouch.
The iPhone 4 is still a great phone that also looks and feels good, plus there are just so many Apps available for the iPhone. These range from utilities to productivity to the biggie - games. If you have the need of a smart phone then the iPhone 4 should be your first stop, especially if your main computer is a Mac. Apple and AT&T do allow you to return the phone within 30 days, if you find that it doesn't meet your needs or coverage is not available where you need it. Of course, there are still plenty of rumors out there that the iPhone will be available on other carriers ... someday.