Just a couple of days ago I was talking about my ‘genius’ friend who was about to get the iPhone 4. Well, it looks like I’m being the one to get it first before him though I never really planned for it before this. Yes, I’m now officially the owner of iPhone 4 (pictured above), but I have to say that ownership part is half-true, half-false.
It’s half-true (or half-false, depending on how you see it) because I paid half of the price while another half is paid by my girlfriend. In other words, I’m holding 1/2 share of the ownership, making me a co-owner of the iPhone 4. Actually it was my girlfriend who’s so passionate about getting it. She could have bought it herself but I somehow wanted to experience it myself when my girlfriend first mentioned about getting it thus I agreed to have a share on it. My first impression? Not that bad but not that great either.
Having the phone in my hand makes me wonder what if Apple didn’t make a smartphone but went for a ‘dumbphone’ instead? I bet nobody would buy it even if it is from Apple. Chances are the ‘dumbphone’ from Apple would be just another overpriced Nokia and won’t sell that way. So it’s quite makes sense for Apple to make it smartphone and on top of that to build the best smartphone possible to make it stand out from the rest of its rivals.
As usual Apple seems don’t mind selling their products with premium price but somehow with iPhone they used a modified formula. In order to make buyers feel like they are getting what they paid for Apple not only rely on the design but also adopting the latest and the best technology they could carry out on a phone. So what makes a cellphone a smartphone? Touchscreen alone is not enough. Many earlier smartphones already have it, except that most of them rely on stylus for the screen input and most of them are also geared for one-hand operation in order to compete with the traditional keypad operation. Apple thought giving a smartphone a multitouch capability for its screen would give it an edge over the rest of rivalling models but I personally think it’s a bad idea. Most people only use one hand for phone operation which is why it’s a phone, which also means most people wouldn’t bother to use the multitouch feature anyway. Therefore from Apple we get a phone with capacitive (multi-touch) screen and a few other whistles and bells.
Should a smartphone has capacitive display instead of resistive? Some might argue that a phone is bad if it requires more than a hand to operate it. Alright, iPhone is not a phone that needs both of your hand to work but because of it’s multitouch nature, it has extra functions and features that traditional touchscreen smartphones doesn’t have though I doubt not many people bother to use that feature anyway. Some other people might argue differently by saying there’s no point of getting a touchscreen smartphone if you’re only going to use one hand to operate it; better get a traditional keypad-type phones. For me I have to say the latter argument is weak because touchscreen offers an alternative to keypad input since writing is more natural, flexible and dynamic than typing. Speaking of writing, multitouch display isn’t as good as most people thought. For instance capacitive requires special kind of stylus if you want to write on the screen, unless you’re OK of doing so using only your finger gestures (which I prefer not to). Resistive allows virtually any tip of solid object to substitute the stylus if you lost it. I remember writing notes on iPaq PDA (anybody remember that?) using the tip of my necktie clip. Not to mention how I missed the Graffiti on the legacy Palm PDA series. It was fun and my only concern was the handwriting recognition algorithm although things keep improving each year which greatly reduced the error rate in the recognition. By the way I prefer the way Palm separated the Graffiti from the working display, because the stylus won’t get in our sight, although input on the screen works too. I also like the way Nintendo doing the similar thing on their mobile console, the N-DS where despite it adopted the dual-screen design, the user’s focus is emphasized on the upper screen while the lower, secondary display acts as a touchscreen interface for the stylus as part of the game controls. That’s why even if this iPhone 4 support some awesome 3D gaming, I won’t dedicate it for mobile gaming as how I did with my Nokia N-GAGE QD before, because I don’t like my gaming display disturbed or interfered by my fingers.
So does being the co-owner of iPhone 4 makes me more tolerant towards iProducts? Not a bit, in fact I still hate it. It took Apple three generations of iPhone before they could first came up with multitasking OS, despite the OS is a derivation of Apple’s desktop system counterpart. The only explanation I could think for this is the iPhone OS (predecessor of iOS 4), a mobile port of Mac OS X is not stable enough for multitasking (for your info, even the multitasking in Mac OS X itself took a very different approach than most other OS, which may be the culprit of why the OS initially is not suitable to be re-scaled for mobile device). I even heard there’s this issue about memory leakage or something like that, making multitasking in iPhone OS was not a good idea or almost impossible. I could say the previous iPhones are unfinished product because they’re preloaded with immature OS. Not to mention the arrogance of Apple of ignoring the current standards (eg. Flash). In my case I’m getting the iPhone 4 as a geek, not as a fanboy. This is just another hi-tech toy for me to play around, so I guess I’ll tinker around it a little more (and add some more troll in in the process).
And I don’t understand too why developers (both hardware and software) keep spoiling and favoring iProducts from time to time. It even irritates me more when they somehow has special unit or division to develop stuff specific for iProducts, as if iProducts are that important to the IT world. iProducts may be influential enough to control the tide and wind in the IT world but not jumping into the Apple bandwagon is not a bad thing either. I hope those developers didn’t doing so just because they think having Apple in their product support range is cool.