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Friday, September 24, 2010

IPhone 4. Slightly Better. Again.

About a fortnight ago I managed to wrestle a shiny new iPhone 4 out of the University. It's a long and frankly uninteresting story full of needless hoop jumping and energy-sapping effort. Suffice to say that I fought hard for this little device.

Two years ago I wrote about why the iPhone 3G was so enormously important. This was a device that wasn't just great to own and use, it redefined the standards for a smart phone, and laughed hysterically at the embarrassed naked emperors of the day. Apple was quite right to proclaim that it changed everything. It did.

And now here we are with a shiny new device. So does it change everything again?

Well no. But let's be honest, the opportunity has passed, in 2007 PDA phones were terribly neglected pieces of junk that only a nerd would love. In 2010 the world is awash with smart looking devices. Changing the game means bringing in new players, and Apple is no longer head and shoulders above the crowd.

But this is still an incredible phone, and in my view - if you set aside the selling of one's soul to Apple - the best device of its kind.

It's more responsive, faster and multi-tasking means app switching is almost instant; the camera is now good enough to replace your everyday automatic, and the HD video means that you can ebay that Flip. Best of all the screen is a thing of consummate beauty - a seriously lovely display that is bright, detailed and vivid. For an old 3G user those differences are definitely worth the upgrade.

However, you may have seen this brilliant video about the iPhone vs. the HTC EVO (NSFW). It's funny, but utterly misses the point. The reason the iPhone is the best phone is that it has the best designed user experience, and at the end of the day it doesn't matter if other phones have bigger screens or better cameras, it doesn't matter whether more things are possible, what matters is that it does what it does fantastically well. My advice for those other manufacturers is step away from the feature list, put down the soldering iron and the bag of bits, and take a long hard look at how nice your device is to actually live with.

This is what Apple realised with the iPhone, and it's why this Devil Phone is still my favourite device. Quite simply, it makes you smile.

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