Here’s a fun game as long as you have a very loose definition of “fun” and “game:” see how long you can watch the iPhone 4 “Design Video” before all the hyperbole and breathless exclamations of wonder make you have to turn it off. I lasted until the head of iPhone OS Software said he was blown away by a video conference call.
(And yeah, I’m going to avoid calling it “iOS” for as long as I can because I think that’s a dumb name).
Maybe it’s just because I assumed video conferencing was something that all other non-iPhones could already do, but Apple exceeded my tolerance for marketing with this whole push. To hear them tell it, they make it sound like the polio vaccine and the discovery of fire were baby steps on the way to a backside illumination sensor. (Great for both a band name and a sex act).
Sure, all the Apple reps talked about the iPad as if at any moment they were about to put a hand up over the camera and ask for a moment to recompose themselves. But that’s understandable — the iPad is kind of a tough sell. Unlike the iPad, everybody knows what an iPhone does, and this is a better one.
And I think that’s ultimately what my issue is: the new version is basically a no-brainer of an upgrade. Based on Engadget.com’s recap and hands-on, it’s got just about every single thing that’s been missing from my current 3G model: the iPad’s processor, a better display, a better camera, a forward-facing camera, video recording, thinner form factor, less plastic-feeling build, Wireless N.
I usually go through my ritual of denial-acceptance-preorder-purchase-guilt whenever Apple releases a new iThingToBuy, but there’s none of that here. I’m going to get one, it’s going to replace both my phone and my point-and-shoot camera, and I’m going to get a lot of use out of it. It would’ve been a completely stress- and guilt-free first world purchasing experience, but then they had to trot out the video. And that just makes me understand why so many people roll their eyes at the sight of an Apple logo and accuse people who like their products of being “cultish.”
I said “just about every thing,” because it’s still missing compact flash storage, and it’s still tied to AT&T. I understand why they don’t do the compact flash — so the price difference between the 16GB and 32GB models will go to Apple instead of SanDisk.
But I’d sort of hoped that after years of profiting from flash memory markup on the iPhones and iPods, Apple had collected enough money to buy its way out of AT&T exclusivity. Like just about everyone else with an iPhone in San Francisco, I’d love to drop AT&T, and their reneging on the unlimited data plans just makes me want to even more. But Apple may have saved them once again, by putting out a phone that’s appealing enough to make up for being lousy as an actual phone.