Now that all the hype and excitement surrounding the recently announced iPhone 4 has died down a bit, let's take a step back and consider if the new smartphone is worth your time and money. Is it worth it to upgrade from last summer's 3GS model? Is this a good time for first-time users? Here are some tidbits that may make you reconsider upgrading or purchasing Apple's latest device.
The Upgraded Hardware is Mostly Minor Upgrades of iPhone 3GS
Apple claims that the iPhone 4 is the platform's biggest advance since the original model's introduction into in 2007. How true is this? Let's compare a few of the key differences between the upcoming iPhone 4 and last year's iPhone 3GS.
The addition on the gyroscope will add an extra dimension to the iPhone's ability to detect movement. This feature may be used in games, but not much beyond that.
The improved battery life, which provides a few more hours of talk and music, and the slightly smaller dimensions aren't significant enough to warrant an upgrade.
iPhone Users Are Still Stuck With AT&T
iPhone users love their iPhones. According to the CFI group, 92% of iPhone users say that they own “their ideal smartphone.”
Unfortunately, AT&T is the only cellular service provider for the iPhone in the U.S., and many iPhone fans are unhappy with the exclusive contract. AT&T ranks among the lowest in customer satisfaction ratings, with 50% of their users claiming that they would like to switch service providers. Now that AT&T has recently dropped their unlimited data plan, their approval ratings will continue to drop as your phone bill rises.
So if you're planning on upgrading to the iPhone 4, you're still stuck with AT&T. Sorry.
FaceTime Has A Couple of Limiting Features
Without a doubt, FaceTime is the iPhone 4's most exciting new feature, and Apple is pushing this as video calling finally becoming a reality.
However, there are many limitations to this “perfectly seamless” method of video calling. For instance, the feature only works from one iPhone 4 user to another. If the person you're calling has anything other than an iPhone 4, then forget it.
Also, the feature doesn't work using 3G. It is currently crippled through WiFi only, which makes the feature feel a bit unfinished. Are they planning on saving a 3G-ready FaceTime for the next iPhone? This makes the “perfectly seamless” statement sound slightly less than perfect. If you want to have video chat using wi-fi Access, there are numerous ways that are more convenient and affordable to do so, like through Skype.
Another iPhone Will Come Out Next Summer
Let's take a look at the release dates of the past iterations of the iPhone:
- The original iPhone was released on June 29, 2007.
- The 3G was released on July 11, 2008.
- The 3GS was released on June 19, 2009.
- The iPhone 4 will be released on June 24, 2010.
Just like all electronic devices, there will always be an upgraded model available after a short period of time, and it's foolish to constantly try to keep up with the latest technology. According to the past history of the iPhone's release dates, Apple releases a newer, “better” iteration of their platform every year during the summer. Jealous of your friends who are getting the iPhone 4 this year? They'll be feeling the same way when you purchase the iPhone 4S (or whatever it'll be called) next year.
Your iPhone 3GS is fine for now, if you have one.
So save your money–at least for another year.