The iPhone 4 is now here and it’s all that we had hoped for and… well, that’s about it. Apple’s now predictable keynote began with stats, ended with “one more thing” and detailed a few highlights throughout regarding the company’s latest creation, the iPhone 4.
But one thing didn’t happen today: We weren’t blown away. We weren’t surprised. We didn’t jump up and down, screaming. We don’t even know if we’ll rush right out and get one.
In fact, we might just skip the iPhone altogether and get an Android phone instead.
Blame Gizmodo if you will, for spoiling all our fun with its spy shots of the iPhone prototype “found” in a bar. But we don’t think that was the problem. No, the problem is that iPhone has lost its edge. Meanwhile, Android is killing it.
iPhone 4 or Android?
Case in point, here’s the conversation this blogger had with the spouse:
Me: It’s only $199 to upgrade my iPhone!
Him: Is it 4G?
Him: What’s cool about it?
Me: Um, it’s got a better camera. And it’s faster. And it has a 3-axis gyro thingy.
Him: What’s that?
Me: This thing for games, it helps when you rotate the phone, the game rotates.
Him: That’s cool, but you don’t really play games, do you?
Me: Not really. But it has HD video recording!
Him: So does your camera.
Me: And threaded email… And video chat!
Him: Over 3G?
Me: Well, no. Over Wi-Fi. And only with other iPhones. But EVO has Qik, and that works over 4G, actually. Hmm, maybe I should just get an EVO.
In fact, maybe I just will.
While I’m at it, here are a few more things that Apple didn’t announce today:
No, it was not the “iPhone 4G,” it was the iPhone 4. Why? Because AT&T isn’t set to roll out its 4G network until next year. And Apple didn’t surprise us by finally confirming the mythical Verizon iPhone – not that we expected it at this point. But still. Where’s my iPhone 4G already?
2. Cloud iTunes/OTA Sync
Sure, Apple just bought Lala.com, but couldn’t they have at least teased us about the forthcoming “cloud iTunes?” After all, that’s what Google did. At its recent I/O conference, Google announced that an upcoming version of the Android Market would allow music and app downloads and automatic over-the-air sync. Is Apple even thinking about doing this? We have no idea.
3. 3G Video Chat
FaceTime, Apple’s new mobile iChat-like application, will probably be fun, but it’s not game-changing. It only works over Wi-Fi for one thing (thanks, AT&T), not 3G. Meanwhile, Qik and Fring already have video chat apps for Android, and Skype is hinting at an Android app arriving this year. Oh, and Qik on EVO offers 4G video chat, too.
4. Mobile Hotspot
In the current version of the Android operating system (the operating system!), there’s a feature that lets an Android phone function as a mobile hotspot. Carriers can choose to implement this feature or not. The iPhone, meanwhile, can be tethered for $20 extra per month via USB or Bluetooth on AT&T.
5. Free MobileMe
Apple wants to compete with Google, but still charges $99/year for MobileMe (for the smallest package) while Google gives away its low-end services for free. That’s not working for us either.
6. Voice Input
Trying to stop your dangerous texting while driving habit? Better get an Android phone. Although universal voice input is probably coming to the iPhone thanks to Apple’s acquisition of Siri – a cutting edge, voice-based digital assistant – it’s not here yet. When it is arriving, though? Apple’s reluctance to disclose future plans has us again, looking to Android, which does this right now.
7. Free navigation
Navigation on the iPhone? There’s an app for that! Yep, but it’s not free. Google, meanwhile, offers Google Maps Navigation for free on all Android phones. Apple, either provide your own app or make nice with Google and use theirs, for goodness’ sake.
We were halfway hoping that the recent news about Apple killing off all the dashboard apps on the iPhone and iPad meant the company was going to launch its own dashboard-like app similar to Android’s widgets. Guess we were wrong here, too.
All this being said, the iPhone 4 is still a great smartphone thanks to other hardware-based innovations like its “retina display” (326 pixels per inch!), its integrated antennas, and its glass and stainless steel casing housing the thinnest iPhone to date: 9.3 mm thick. But now that the hardware has been modernized, maybe Apple can focus on the software?