iPhone 4 impressions (and Windows Phone 7 comments)

posted by Jeff | Monday, June 7, 2010, 8:26 PM | comments: 0

I scanned the live blog coverage of the "Stevenote" today, and kept waiting for the "one more thing" that was going to make the iPhone 4 a slam dunk. It never really came. I think the design is a significant improvement, and the high res screen is also a win, but it's not really a $300 win (plus whatever it would cost given that I'm not even a year into my 3GS contract). That, and the new OS version will run on my 3GS.

The iMovie stuff is actually pretty impressive, but the video isn't all that important to me given my Canon 7D lust. I am glad that someone is taking cameras on phones seriously at least.

Maybe my indifference is because we already knew what it would like since it was leaked. I dunno. I suffered similar indifference when the 3G was introduced, and it took the 3GS to really convince me to upgrade. Heck, the durability of these things (Diana is still using my original iPhone, going on three-years-old) in some ways lowers my interest in upgrading. That's actually a plus, after all of my other phones for all of time have been mostly disposable.

Part of it might also be the distractions of the other platforms. A couple of guys at work have Android-based phones, and the truth is that some of them (with the better hardware) are pretty compelling. That they're making apps for them (in Java!) with relative ease is also a bonus.

Then there's "our" phone, Windows Phone 7. I don't know much about who all will make these, other than Dell since it was leaked to one of the gadget sites, but with the required hardware specs, we can at least expect that none of them will be underpowered. The battery life is the only real question I have there. There are all kinds of things I've seen internally that I suppose we're not supposed to talk about that give me great confidence as well.

But the real draw for me there is actually the stuff that's quite public. You can download the dev tools today and emulate it on your computer. You can see how the OS is shaping up. It gets away from icon grid mania and actually pays attention to what users are doing most with their phones. I love the idea of having apps available, but integrating the entire "home" experience to the kind of work one might typically do is a pretty cool evolution. For example, I can make a live tile for Diana that would show her Facebook status or show her latest photos or whatever. And the UI is generally pretty hott, if you ask me. It's new and shiny.

Will the hardware vendors make something sexy enough to match? I have no idea. If some of these new Android phones are any indication, I'm guessing they will. And yes, the other win for me is that I could actually develop apps for it with my existing skills. I have no interest in learning Objective-C.

The one thing that keeps me a little rooted in the iPhone world is syncing to iTunes. I have to admit that's an issue. I like having all of my music on my phone, and at least today, we don't know if someone can come up with a clever way to port your iTunes library to the Windows phone and allow it to coexist.

I have noticed that the tech press this time around was a little softer on iPhone 4, which leads me to believe that Android is making a dent, and there's finally a real competitive environment emerging. If Apple stays on top in the long, that wouldn't bother me as a consumer (it would as a MSFT stockholder, of course), provided they're forced to push their game. And support Flash. ;)


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