The iPhone 4 is set to launch in Canada on Friday and for the first time on an iPhone launch day I will not be lining up for it. Unlike past launch days where my mind was set months before release that I had to have the product, I am struggling to find a reason to upgrade.
When the iPhone 3GS first came out, it was a no-brainer to buy it. As someone with several email accounts, my iPhone 3G had become painfully slow when I had to switch between accounts and for loading up messages. Enter the 3GS. With its improved CPU speed and additional memory, it was able to handle the load that my multiple email accounts placed on it and served my emails up to me as fast as my fingers could request them. Although I am not a huge gamer, I was also impressed at the speed at which the 3GS was able to handle complex games and apps.
Now, bring in iOS 4. My 3GS seems to be handling the unified inbox with ease and is fully supporting multi-tasking and fast app switching. I’ve even been able to have a phone call over Bluetooth while having MapQuest giving me directions in the background shouting out directions in the middle of my phone call. Although the directions being blurted out while I was talking was a little annoying, the 3GS was able to handle the load without any trouble.
The question remaining is, what does the iPhone 4 add? Well, beyond the 3GS, the big features are the slightly improved back camera, the front facing camera for FaceTime and the high resolution retina display. From my experiences playing with an iPhone 4, I have not seen huge speed improvements for emailing or the other apps that I often use, leaving the front camera and retina display as the major differentiators for me between the two products. Although FaceTime could be a compelling addition to a smart-phone, I currently do not conduct many video calls using Skype and likely wont increase that until many of my contacts get an iPhone 4. Furthermore, not allowing FaceTime calls over 3G and the lack of interoperability with desktop communication platforms has made this feature fairly useless at this point in time.
The other major feature is the retina display. To be honest, character clarity has never been an issue for me with my 3GS and I’m definitely not looking for a decrease in font size so this feature also isn’t doing much for me.
The last feature is the improved back camera. Having only taken a few pictures with my iPhone over the past few years and having never shot a video with it, I am once again left wanting more from the new iPhone. I guess like the 3G users, until Apple releases a software update that makes my iPhone unusably slow, I will be left waiting until I drop my iPhone into the toilet to buy a new one. Although unlike any iPhone 4 that I would need to get, I have never used a case on my 3G or 3GS so no bumper will be able to save it on the way down. Well played Apple, well played.