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By 24 June 2010 | Categories: news

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Now that Apple’s iPhone 4 has been released into the wild reports are beginning to stream in regarding where the company went right when rethinking the device.

Despite the fact we at TechSmart are yet to get our hands on our own review model (local release dates have not yet been confirmed), we are able to give  a breakdown of what some of the globe’s most popular technology websites have to say about Apple’s most recent creation.

Design


When Steve Jobs announced that Apple has employed a more angular approach to the iPhone 4 a large contingency of consumers began biting their nails; wondering just how different the new model would be to the iPhone 3G and 3Gs’ curvaceous and bevelled design.

Fortunately, early reviews appear to have only positive words for the iPhone’s new direction.

“From the design aesthetic through to the actual build process, Jony Ive and his team have reset what we expect in an iPhone, coming up with something that clearly harkens back to the retro-future Braun designs of Dieter Rams” says Engadget.

"The iPhone 4 is an object of rare beauty. Noticeably slimmer but a trifle heavier than predecessors, its new heft only adds to the profound feeling of quality and precision that the device exudes. Sharper edged, it is girt by a stainless steel band which cleverly houses all the antennae required by a modern smartphone." commented celebrity writer Stephen Fry on the Guardian's website.

TechRadar did however pick up that the new glass plates which flank the iPhone 4 “picked up a good deal of fingerprints in the few minutes we had our hands on them, although the smudges were less noticeable on the all-white model”.

Internal

Much has been said about the iPhone 4’s internal transformations when compared to previous models. The most hotly debated talking point perhaps has been Apple’s decision to kit it out with the mysterious A4 system on chip processor, which it now shares with the iPad. It has also been rumoured that the company opted to bump up the RAM from 256MB to 512MB, which would make the iPhone 4 the most powerful mobile product in Apple’s arsenal.

In addition to this the company chose to include a larger lithium ion battery as well as a much improved 5 Megapixel camera with flash and 30FPS 720p video recording.

Boing Boing noted that a "strong point of the new version of iPhone's camera is the ability to make better sense of high, low, and medium light within one shot. When you touch on an area of the camera's view to focus, the iPhone automatically senses factors such as exposure, and auto-adjusts for you based on the selected focal point.

Overall the responses to the iPhone 4’s internal make up have been positive, with Engadget adding that “the phone is definitely snappier than the 3GS”.

Display

The iPhone 4’s advanced ‘retina display’ has arguably captured the most attention of all the devices’ improvements. Macworld even picked up that “the results were readily apparent” when comparing the 3Gs to the new model.

“Text on the iPhone 3GS, while quite readable, showed noticeable pixilation. We couldn’t pick out any pixels on the iPhone 4’s text; as Apple claims, this screen really makes text look like something you’d find in a book or a magazine, with none of the artifacts that we’ve come to expect from a LCD display.”

“Because Apple is using IPS and LED technology for its screen, the iPhone 4 is mercifully visible in full sunlight, and performance in low light and at extreme viewing angles is favorable. Overall, you simply won't find a better display on a phone, and that's not just lip service” added Engadget.

At 960 by 640 pixels, the display features double the resolution of other iPhone models without using OLED technology, which is impressive.

Software

In addition to the iPhone 4 announcement Apple also confirmed that it would be releasing iOS4 to device owners, bringing with it a number of sorely missed features such as multitasking and video calling to the iPhone series.

Overall, the reactions to the improvements brought about by iOS4 have been mixed. Although the majority of reviewers appear thankful for the additions most feel as though Apple could have done more with it, even going as far as to suggest?.

Cnet added that “Multitasking entails some trade-offs, and home screen folders are limited to 12 apps” while Engadget commented that “it's not all wine and roses as far as we're concerned. While Apple has made huge strides in many areas here … we still cannot understand or accept the company's approach to notifications. We're at version 4 of this OS, and we're still plagued by these intrusive, productivity-freezing alerts.”

TechRadar also criticized Apple’s iOS4 Multitasking capabilities, adding that “you can't quickly switch between two opens apps. As one example, you can't run a sync to your PC and check email. And, you can't see two apps at once - say, run a side-by-side window with a puzzle game and an IM app running”

Conclusion

Despite a few negative sentiments regarding iOS4 the general reception towards the iPhone 4 has been more than positive. Overall the physical redesign and internal makeup of the phone has been welcomed by critics across the board.

“We're not going to beat around the bush - in our approximation; the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package.” Engadget concludes.

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