App Industry Roundup: iPhone 4 reviews are in, and …

Jun 23, 2010
Tech

If you expected a glut of bad reviews for the iPhone 4, you will be disappointed. In today’s App Industry Roundup, we highlight key iPhone 4 reviews and look forward to an unveiling of a new Android phone from Verizon. The reviews: It’s not all love, but close It’s review day for the iPhone 4, but […]

If you expected a glut of bad reviews for the iPhone 4, you will be disappointed. In today’s App Industry Roundup, we highlight key iPhone 4 reviews and look forward to an unveiling of a new Android phone from Verizon.

The reviews: It’s not all love, but close

It’s review day for the iPhone 4, but as David Pogue writes in his piece for Wednesday’s New York Times, “honestly — what’s the point?” He’s right. At this point in the iPhone’s evolution, with its glowing history and a wanting public, Apple doesn’t need help from tech critics. People continue to line up to buy the phone, and if you recall, Web-based pre-orders were so intense last week that the system crashed.

People want the iPhone 4. But we love validation of our purchases, so lets take a look at what the tech critics are saying about the iPhone 4.

Let’s start with Pogue. Despite his dismissive attitude toward writing a review, he provides his usual sharp insight. He notes that the phone is “pretty amazing” and that the iPhone’s one key weakness — it’s ability to make phone calls — has been significantly improved thanks to the iPhone’s new hardware. Apple’s new iOS 4, now available for download, plays a staring role, too, as Pogue writes about three big improvements:

1. Multitasking: “Internet radio can keep playing, and GPS apps can keep updating, while you work in other programs.”2. The app switcher: “After three versions of iPhones, you can finally jump directly from one app to another without a layover at the Home screen.”3. Folders: “Each folder can hold 12 icons, meaning that download-aholics can now install 2,160 apps on a single iPhone.” (Did you note that, durgadas?)

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The dean of gadget reviewers, Walt Mossberg, says Apple’s new iPhone 4 “keeps it in the lead in the smartphone wars.” (As consumers, it really is nice the competition has improved so much.) He notes that the phone’s “overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S.” handled the iPhone 4 “sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor.”

Regarding the new FaceTime feature, which only works over Wi-Fi for now, Mossberg writes that the “feature worked very well for me and is a classic example of the value of having one company do integrated hardware and software.”

Multitasking wasn’t a hit for Mossberg, however. Apple’s version is “limited” and “won’t please everyone,” he writes. “On the iPhone 4, multitasking doesn’t mean every app can work fully in the background. …For some users, this limited version of multitasking will be a disappointment.”

At Engadget, Joshua Topolsky wonders if the iPhone 4 “can live up to the intense hype.” He calls the iPhone 4’s redesign, with it’s more squarish shape, “striking. …It feels great in your hand, with good heft, although it might take a little time to get used to the lack of a rounded back if you’re coming from the 3G or 3GS.”

Topolsky spends a lot of time talking about what’s inside the phone. Apple now uses its own A4 chip, the same as in the iPad. He notes that the iPhone 4 is faster than the 3Gs, but “it wasn’t blowing the doors off the joint. It’s certainly faster, but the 3GS wasn’t hurting on speed to our eyes, so it’s not as wildly noticeable a leap as the 3G to the 3GS.”

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Finally, if you really wonder what’s in the iPhone 4, iFixit will be tearing down the iPhone 4 live, on Twitter, once it gets its hands on one. Components have never been so exciting!

It’s not all iPhone 4, however

Motorola’s Droid X officially debuts today, and we’ll get a hands on with the phone that we will share with you tomorrow. The Droid X, available soon from Verizon, looks to be another promising Android phone to rival the iPhone. (Or at least make AT&T haters who refuse to buy the iPhone less envious.)

The defining feature of the Droid X appears to be its massive screen size; at 4.4 inches, its even bigger than the sweet HTC Evo. (Let’s hope it has better battery life, though.) The other key feature is the addition of the MotoBlur social networking software. MotoBlur appears on other Android phones, but this is the first time it will show up on a phone targeting business users and consumers.

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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