Thursday, July 29, 2010


The WSJ’s influential tech columnist, Walt Mossberg, gives a qualified endorsement to the iPhone 4 after a six-week personal testing period. Excerpts:
After my six weeks of constant use of two iPhone 4s, I still believe it is, overall, the best device in its class, for reasons including its ultra high-resolution screen; easy, integrated video calling; slick software; strong battery life; a remarkably thin body; and a world-beating selection of 225,000 third-party apps.

…touching the hot spot doesn't always ruin the call, even if it lowers the number of bars. In several cases, when I was already on a call with three or four bars showing, I deliberately covered the hot spot with my hand, and the call continued normally, strong and clear, even though the bars dropped to one or two.

I also spent a few days testing the "bumper" case Apple is now giving away to every iPhone 4 user. It greatly reduced what call problems I experienced, even in weak areas, though it didn't entirely eliminate dropped calls, which occur even in good coverage.

A key reason Apple moved most of the antenna to the outside of the phone was to free up room inside for a larger battery, while keeping the phone thin. In my six weeks of experience, the battery life has been outstanding. I have never run out of battery in a day's use, despite constant, heavy email traffic, lots of Web surfing and app usage, and frequent checking of social networks.

So that's my six-week, real-world report. Despite the hot-spot issue and the exposed antenna, the iPhone 4 does better than the 3GS for me in decent coverage. But I still wouldn't advise adopting it as your primary phone if you live, work or travel in areas with poor AT&T reception, or if you prefer a network under less stress.
Walt Mossberg’s assessment seems consistent with that of four other iPhone 4 users whom I’ve spoken to. The whole antenna-attenuation controversy now appears grossly overblown, as was the unintended acceleration of Toyotas and even (can it really be true?) the damage from the BP oil spill.

Were I suspicious and not the trusting soul that I am, I might attribute the media piling-on to: 1) lawyers in search of big payoffs from class-action lawsuits; 2) those who want more government control or oversight (which term one uses betrays one’s philosophical leanings) of the economy; 3) reporters in search of the next bleeding lede. Because I know from TV crime shows that businessmen are the bad guys (but not public-interest lawyers, regulators, and newspeople) there must be another explanation for all this emotion-stirring. Not to worry, I am sure reporters will ferret out the truth. © 2010 Stephen Yuen

[Afterthought: if the oil-spill turns out to be not so bad, that might help President Obama, who had been severely criticized for his inaction. He's a deliberator, not a ditherer! On the other hand, why continue the moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf? It's a puzzlement.]

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