Well today was the day…
Thousands of people lined up throughout the country to receive their iPhones at 7 AM sharp.
Cheers erupted as employees turned on the lights (although air conditioning in our Natick, MA store didn’t turn on until 9 AM- and boy, was it hot!!) and let the first wave of customers with reservations in the door.
After about 5 minutes of trying to sell me on MobileMe (at a discount for iPhone purchasers) and an AppleCare package (after explaining that the phone was “virtually bulletproof”) I was on my way.
Setup was painless- the iPhone was plugged into my laptop and within minutes it was happily chugging away and importing my Gmail account, saved settings, applications, and music without a hitch.
Within minutes, the phone was activated and ready to go!
Hands on so far:
Display: First thing you notice about this phone is the display… and… Wow. That’s just about all you can say. The new high-density display allows for amazing color reproduction and seemless text rendering. Truly spectacular- especially for apps that take advantage of the upgraded display.
Sound: Speakers are nice and loud and the noise cancelling microphone at the top of the handset does a fantastic job of keeping your conversation between you and the caller- not you, the caller, and all the ambient noise around you. Speaker phone reproduces sounds pretty well, no tinniness to speak of.
Calls and Reception: AT&T limits what the iPhone can do call-wise but in general, I’ve noticed a better signal in most of the areas I frequent. I normally have 3-4 bars on 3G in the Boston area, today I had 4-5 bars of 3G and no drops to EDGE even while driving through Weston and Sudbury, MA where coverage is notoriously scarce. Interestingly enough- I noticed the previously reported problem of signal bars dropping when the phone was held a certain way. It wasn’t an issue when I had a full 5 bar signal (rare on AT&T) however the display showed a drop when I had 3 bars (down to two, then one). Interestingly enough, I did not have any call quality changes or drops so maybe it’s true that this is simply a software issue with the signal display and not an actual hardware problem.
FaceTime: Wow- good stuff! SmartPhoneNation blog owner Justin and I held a FaceTime chat for about 35 minutes. During that time, video froze only once and only for a few seconds. The transition to video is seemless and slick- Apple thought this out and they planned it out well. After the call, battery life had only declined by about 10% on my unit- remarkable considering the data and hardware orchestration necessary to transmit video and data on a phone.
Battery Life: Battery life is amazing. The 3GS was getting slammed for reports of iOS4 destroying what little battery life the phone had left. The iPhone 4 rectifies that issue in testing so far- the only downside is the phone can get warm while in use (like all svelte Apple products) but not uncomfortably so. We attribute this to the huge battery and simple physics.
Apps: I’ve had about 9 app updates (out of the 64 I have on the iPhone) which have allowed for backgrounding and/or optimized the app for the new display or cameras. Some products (grr Navigon!) haven’t updated yet but I’m sure iOS4 compatible updates will be shipping app-store wide soon.
Form: Apple has been known for its avant-garde approach to design and had taken heat in the last year or so for not really “breaking the mold” with the 3GS (in terms of departure from the 3G, or even the 2G for that matter). The new iPhone 4 will put these statements to rest as Apple has, once again, revolutionized the market with a beautiful, solidly designed phone. This thing just FEELS solid- you feel comfortable going without one of Apple’s “bumper” cases (a “value” for “only” $29.99) and the new oil-resistant glass on both sides gives the phone a sleek, slick look that’ll fit in anywhere.
All in all, it’s a great phone and it’ll be interesting to see where AT&T and Apple go with the hardware and software (especially FaceTime)