Gadgets

iPhone 4: It's a Love-Hate Relationship

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So my late Christmas gift arrived earlier this week – a brand new iPhone 4! Truth be told it was about time I got a new phone, my old beaten up Motorla Q9H had seen its heyday and was so incredibly outdated that it just had to go, not to mention with relocating to another country I just could not continue to use it.

To say the least, the iPhone 4 was a huge upgrade for me. I already knew how it worked seeing as how I’d owned a first-generation iPhone in the past (it got soaked and suffered a watery death at the disc golf course in my old hometown in Texas), however, I really think I jumped on it too soon – the phone part of it was crap and truth be told it was under-capable in comparison to some of the smartphones at the time, so I ditched it. In a way, I wish I never had because it was a solid phone, despite its shortcomings.

Now am I saying that I hate my new phone? Absolutely not, I totally love it. I love the screen, the apps, and the (well, not quite, but we’ll get to that in a minute) full-fledged Internet. Some of the enhancements are rather cool, and the games you can get for it are a ton of fun.

I have apps for IM, Facebook, a few games, and several other things I use on a regular basis, and believe me I’m enjoying the hell out of it. It’s by far the best phone I’ve ever owned. Hell, even the audio recording is pretty good – I can capture the sound of my guitar and my own voice while playing/singing with a clarity that I never thought would even be possible in a phone (and it’s tons better than the built-in mic on my 13″ MacBook Pro).

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Taking photos and video recording are also nothing short of stunning as well. And did I mention the battery life? Apple promised a long-life battery and it really delivers. I’m impressed.

Now, with that said, I gotta say there are things I absolutely hate about this phone, as well. Just like in the US, in Mexico there is only one service provider for the iPhone that I know of (Telcel), so in a way, iPhone is very proprietary when it comes to carriers (my friends back in the US will be happy to know it’s coming to Verizon next month though).

Another thing is the apps – you are extremely limited as to what you can install. Apple just feels the need to micromanage everything. Oh, and did I mention the lack of Flash on factory-setting iPhones, and that Facetime (which is a cool advancement, by the way) only supports other iPhone 4s with Wi-Fi connections?

Compare that to say, Google’s Android, which has full Flash capable internet and video chatting cross-platform over Wi-Fi, and is completely open (that is, Google doesn’t really restrict the apps that it offers for the Android, even though the number is smaller than Apple’s app list right now).

In a lot of ways with things like multitasking and the whole video chat, Apple is kind of playing catch-up (Android was actually first). Though I have to admit, when it comes to stuff they’re playing catch-up on, they really get it right when they *do* implement it, as it’s usually far more elegant and intuitive than their competition (it’s almost as though they look at the competition and do what they’re doing just a bit better). It’s for this reason that I do actually tend to prefer the iOS interface.

With all of that said, as to which one I would choose if I was forced to choose one, that’s such a tough call, though I’d be tempted to lean toward Android because quite frankly Apple as a company is starting to really irritate me. They’re so proprietary on everything, and the world of technology is moving more and more toward open source and the like (part of the reason I’ve decided not to get a Mac for my next computer – I’ll be doing a PC, wiping Windows [which I hate with a purple passion] off of it, and installing some version of Linux onto it). Now, with that said, I WILL be jailbreaking my iPhone (which is now perfectly legal to do).

Of course, once you do that, it’s pretty much Android with the iOS iCandy (like my play on words?  ). Of course, if Apple wasn’t so damn proprietary, jailbreaking wouldn’t even be necessary (and even Apple is trying to get the rights to shut down jailbroken devices. I hope they don’t, in the interest of promoting consumer choice and net neutrality. If they do, I’l be going over to Android for sure, despite its less pretty appearance).

So I guess the iPhone 4 has a lot going for it, and has, in my opinion, a lot of distinct advantages over its competitors. However there are things about it that I find totally irritating, and in some ways these outweigh what it has going for it, in others ways, they don’t. We’ll see how it goes after the jailbreak, and I’ll be able to give a more accurate assessment then, I think.