iPhone 4 - Thoughts & Pre-Order Day Shenanigans

Today, AT&T's servers took 6-10 months off of my life. I spent from 9AM to 3PM feverishly trying to pre-order Apples latest lust-worth gadget, finally succeeding via the Apple store app on none other than my current iPhone 3GS. It was pretty stressful. In short, it looks like AT&T simply wasn't ready to handle the volume of pre-orders, since each transaction required asking their servers about upgrade eligibility. Gizmodo covered it the best, and I suggest you check it out to experience all the error, processing, and timeout screens that early adopter saps like me stared at for the better part of a day. The title effectively summarizes my experience today, "Apple iPhone 4 Pre-Ordering is a Total Disaster."

Many folks experienced horrific AT&T/Apple oopsies throughout the day, including multiple charges for a single order, mysteriously landing in other customer's accounts, and being forced to pre-order with off-contract pricing ($599/$699, yikes!). The latter issue was experienced via the Apple store iPhone app, where I was able to reserve my device. Thankfully, I was confirmed the 32GB black handset will be patiently waiting at my local Apple store both via email and through the pending reservation displayed within the app. The stress is over now, I can go back to hating everything about the iPhone 3GS in comparison to iPhone 4. 

Enough about the trials and tribulations of requiring the next greatest gadget the instant it's available, let's talk about this new slick and sexy piece of hardware. In my last post, I talked about what we already knew about the device and what I was hoping for. Well for starters, everything we thought we knew, we did know. The screen resolution, camera, new design, etc was all spot on. I mean come on, engineering samples were popping up all over the place and people were putting them under microscopes. No shocker here. For a summary of what's new, check out this link. But there were a few more details about the hardware that were surprises, at least to some degree.

1) 16GB and 32GB only - no 64GB!
I was expecting the usual 2x storage bump, but no such luck. This probably could have been predicted once we saw the size of the main board of the phone. Toshiba began sampling 64GB NAND flash chips near the end of 2009 and was expecting to go into production in Q1 of 2010. It's possible that there just wasn't enough time to work the new chips into the design, they were too big, the package was funny, or they were simply to new to be trusted. I haven't dug too deep into this, but since they couldn't simply double the density of the memory, they'd need to add another chip which there was simply no room for. 

2) Gyroscope!
Actually, I couldn't care less about this feature. I haven't really gamed on the iPhone and don't plan to unless something really compelling comes along. It will be interesting to see what sort of non-gaming apps are improved or created that will utilized the improved motion sensing, but for now, meh.

3) The metal bands around the phone are part of the antenna system!
In my last post, I was whining about how the orientation of the phone when running precluded the GPS antenna from getting a great signal, but by integrating the antenna around the exterior of the phone, this is no longer a problem! Check these baby's out. Voice and data use the right side antenna, while Bluetooth, WiFi (802.11n is included now, however just the 2.4GHz flavor), and GPS make nice with the left side antenna. Contrary to the title of the Engadget article I just linked to, I'm not convinced that this will have much effect on the dropped call issue, which has been explained in other, non-signal-strength-related ways. Assuming these antennas do a better job than the previous generation, it will definitely help all around. I'm particularly excited to see if there are significant GPS improvements. 

So what am I looking forward too most? Two words: retina display. Actually, I hate that name, and I think that they never should have claimed that the human eye can't discern the individual pixels, because some definitely can, and they're freaking out about it. A really high resolution display like this is going to set the new standard for the visual quality we come to expect from the various digital panels we stare at all day long. I'm glad Apple stepped up and is pushing everyone in that direction.

As I'm finishing up this post, I just read that Apple just sold out of iPhone 4 pre-orders. This happened several hours after AT&T sold out of their own allotment. Craziness. Looks like I'll be lining up extra-extra early on the 24th to drop-kick Apple fan-boys on the way to the front of the line.