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.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.
…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.
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.]