Fantastic 4

My first mobile phone was a Qualcomm something-or-other. Later I had one those dime-a-dozen Nokias, and then another smaller Nokia that had a removable faceplate. (Remember when the cool features of phones included interchangeable faceplates?) Then there was a cool Motorola flip phone or two that I used and liked, and then I had a random Samsung candy bar slider.

Then 2007 came along and I got an iPhone. After that I got the iPhone 3G S (I held on to my original iPhone until 2009 because I thought the iPhone 3G was too ugly to justify upgrading). And then the iPhone 4.

I have now owned my iPhone 4 since the summer of 2010. And it blows all of those past phones out of the water. Sometimes I wonder if I ever even owned a cell phone before I owned an iPhone, and the 4 is the greatest iPhone to date.

Of course, a new iPhone is coming out in a few weeks. And, of course, I’ll be in line to buy it (that’s who I am and what I do). But by no means does that mean I find my iPhone 4 lacking in any way. Quite the contrary actually: the iPhone 4 is quite possibly the most amazing gadget I have ever owned or ever imagined I would own.

  • I carry my iPhone 4 case free — I’ve never used an iPhone case — and it is still scratch, crack, and dent free. I keep it in my front left pocket with the front facing in. I’ve dropped it once and it only suffered a very minor scuff to plastic edging up by the camera lens.

In fact, the back of my iPhone 4 has less scratches than the back of my 4th-generation iPod touch. The touch’s chrome backing practically comes out of the box with scuffs on it.

  • On every other phone I’ve owned the battery life was part of the cost of ownership. But with the iPhone 4, the battery lasts me for 2 days. When I’m on the road at events, I usually need a charge every night because I’m doing a lot of 3G data usage. But in my day-to-day, this-is-how-Shawn-uses-his-iPhone usage, a full charge lasts me 2 days.

On my past iPhones, when the 20% battery warning would appear it meant I needed to go into iPhone survival mode — keeping usage to a minimum to save as much battery juice as possible before I am able to charge it next. But on the 4, a 20% warning simply means charge at my earliest convenience.

  • The camera is just great. In fact, it is the only camera in our house that gets any use. My iPhone is my camera. My iPhone camera roll is my photo library. The photo-editing apps on my iPhone are what I use as post-processing software for the pictures I take.

  • The Retina display. Oh, the Retina display. A year and a half later and this display still doesn’t feel normal to me. It still strikes me how it looks as if the pixels are painted onto the glass and how the images and type are so crisp.

  • Form factor. The original iPhone will always have a soft spot in my heart as being one of the finest looking devices I’ve ever owned. But nostalgia aside, the iPhone 4 truly is a gorgeous device. The black glass and the metal band with matching buttons are a hallmark of industrial design.

The design of the original iPhone was great, except it hindered signal strength. The design of the iPhone 3G /S was a necessary evil to makes sure that signal strength was good enough. The iPhone 4 is finally that balance of form and function.

The iPhone 4 is the completion of what Apple originally set out to build when they launched the iPhone in 2007. This current model is the last page of this chapter, and I believe the next iPhone will be the opening of a new chapter for the iPhone.

It’s hard to imagine what the next iPhone will be. Sure it’ll have a faster processor, and a better camera, and probably a longer battery. But who knows what it will look like? Who knows what other factors — factors which are still unknown to us — that will come into play and will give reason for the next iPhone to be that much more incredible?

We are content with the current iPhone, and yet we suspect the next one will be another hallmark.

Fantastic 4