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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:09 PM

So the new iPhone is looking to be amazing. Basically everything people wanted from it. Even on the tech sites I browse the PC fanboys are getting a little envious :P

In my opinion the biggest feature is the A4 processor, does this mean we can expect iPhone4/iPad only apps ??
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#2 Cougar

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:49 PM

I'm glad I kept my Razr this long, it was worth it. ;) Seriously, what can they add to it after this??

I'm excited about the gyroscope. Developers are going to make some cool games with it, no doubt.

#3 dojoboy

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:08 PM

I'll be getting myself one, for sure, this time.  The deciding factor was actually AT&T's decision to offer a limited data plan for $15.  I'm also excited to learn that the 2nd generation iPod touch is getting iOS as a free download.
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#4 Janichsan

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 12:55 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 08 June 2010 - 07:09 PM, said:

So the new iPhone is looking to be amazing. Basically everything people wanted from it. Even on the tech sites I browse the PC fanboys are getting a little envious :P
Hm, I don't know. It's not bad, but when you take a closer look you'll see that most of the great new innovations (e.g. FacePalmTime) are actually already available in other, similar smartphones and even implemented in a very similar way - if not better (for instance by offering video chat over 3G, and not just wifi). Basically, the iPhone is just keeping up, not leading the way in the moment.

The Retina display sounds pretty neat, although I'm sure that iOS developers totally rejoice in having to support now three different resolutions (the original iPhone's 480x320, the iPad's 1024x768 and now the iPhone4's 960x640). Yes, I know that alledgedly existing apps will just look "crisper" on the new display, but unless the iPhone4 has some magic quality enhancer for lower resolution resources, this will not apply to any custom UI element (like in virtually all games).

I do like the new design, though. Far better than the 3G(S)'s plastic back.

Anyway, I'm still getting the iPhone4 - but largely because my existing iPhone 2G is pretty much ageing and its 8 GB are becoming just too small for all my apps, not because I'm totally blown away by it.

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#5 teflon

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 02:37 AM

I think it's an incredibly well thought out piece of kit.

Basically, if you look feature by feature, the iPhone is ahead of the competition in almost every aspect. Where it's behind it's either very minor like the front camera being 640x480, or a very minor software hold up, like FaceTime being limited to WiFi, presumably at AT&T's request.

So I completely disagree Janich.
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#6 Janichsan

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 04:59 AM

View Postteflon, on 09 June 2010 - 02:37 AM, said:

Basically, if you look feature by feature, the iPhone is ahead of the competition in almost every aspect. Where it's behind it's either very minor like the front camera being 640x480, or a very minor software hold up, like FaceTime being limited to WiFi, presumably at AT&T's request.
Where exactly do you see this? Let's take a closer look at the iPhone4's new features (and I'm not talking about iOS 4 here, only the hardware):

  • High-res Retina display – as I said, the only feature where I see an advantage for the iPhone
  • Front facing camera for video chat? For instance available in all Nokia smartphones for two or three years now.
  • 5 MP back-facing camera with digital zoom? Too many examples. There are lots of phones with even better cameras. (The iPhone has always been far behind the competition regarding the camera.)
  • "HD" video recording? Many Nokia, Sony Ericsson and HTC smartphones.
  • Battery lifetime? There are countless other smartphones (with similar features) with a comparable lifetimes.
I don't say the iPhone4 isn't a good device, but definitely not "ahead of the competition" – not from a hardware point of view. Many of the new features of iOS 4 are also just things other mobile OS's already had in the past (most of all multitasking).

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#7 teflon

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:34 AM

Front Facing Camera- Sure, they've been around for a while, but it's about the implementation. 3G phones with front facing cameras have been around in Japan since the late 90s I believe. Here, I agree Apple's just playing catch up, but FaceTime has a certain flair to it. You phone someone, you hit the FaceTime button, voila! Eventually, AT&T won't hinder Apple and they'll be able to enable FaceTime over 3G.
In addition, it seems that whenever the camera(s) are in use, you can zoom, record, switch camera etc. etc. at will. Again, software making the difference.

5MP back facing camera- Apple have taken great care in choosing a good sensor which has large pixels on it to improve night and dark conditions photo taking in relation to its competitors who often persist in perpetuation the MegaPixels myth. Higher MP count doesn't mean better pictures, in particular, I think I saw several articles a few years back saying that 6MP was the max before you start getting unwanted noise in your photos when using a small sensor.

HD video recording - Again, it's about the software and quality rather than just having it as a feature. The better camera should result in better video particularly in low light, which you can then, if you want, edit directly on the phone. If Apple had wanted they could have added this to the 3G or 3GS, but didn't so they could do it properly.

Battery - The iPhone's battery isn't miles ahead of the pack, but it's an hour or two longer than its nearest competition across the board for video and phone calls. Music, since it's at 40 hours, is a moot point.
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#8 Janichsan

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 07:01 AM

View Postteflon, on 09 June 2010 - 06:34 AM, said:

5MP back facing camera- Apple have taken great care in choosing a good sensor which has large pixels on it to improve night and dark conditions photo taking in relation to its competitors who often persist in perpetuation the MegaPixels myth. Higher MP count doesn't mean better pictures, in particular, I think I saw several articles a few years back saying that 6MP was the max before you start getting unwanted noise in your photos when using a small sensor.
Well, how good the camera actually is remains to be seen. Nevertheless, even if it's good, that wouldn't be by far something new or revolutionary for a cell phone: especially the Sony Ericsson phone cameras are generally regarded as extremely good (and not without reason partly sold under the "Cybershot" moniker) – with a higher resolution. Of course, the new camera in the iPhone is an improvement but that's largely because the camera in the previous models was plain horrible.

Quote

Battery - The iPhone's battery isn't miles ahead of the pack, but it's an hour or two longer than its nearest competition across the board for video and phone calls.

Not really. The newer models from HTC (e.g. the HTC Legend and HD mini – which I both can't find HTC's US site) or Sony Ericsson (e.g. Xperia X10) also have 7 to 8 hours talk time on 3G networks.

I guess we can agree that it's mainly the software that sets the iPhone apart, but it's really not as if other manufacturers aren't catching up here. And the new features (both in hardware and software) are far from revolutionary in my opinion.

EDIT: Since you were mentioning noise in the pictures: I just read that Apple has a page with example pictures up. Zoom in and you'll not only see noise, but NOISE. (Okay, not worse than most other comparable cameras but definitely not better.)

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#9 Cougar

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 12:30 PM

View Postdojoboy, on 08 June 2010 - 10:08 PM, said:

I'll be getting myself one, for sure, this time.  The deciding factor was actually AT&T's decision to offer a limited data plan for $15.

Same here. I knew I was getting a new iPhone last week. I was so happy when I heard about that.

Janichsan, I think what sets FaceTime (god, what a terrible name) apart is the implementation. There is no configuration required. You just call, it detects you are talking to an iphone, and you can enable video with the press of a button. The way you can flip the video around and use the back camera instead is also slick as hell. (And I love Jony Ive, but the way he and Steve were acting, as though they'd just invented video chat, bothered me!)

The standard is also open, so hopefully we will see it in Android. The more phones that support it, the more useful it will be. I must say I was surprised that Apple didn't introduce a facetime client for the Mac. It seems quite an obvious feature. Hopefully it's coming.

The screen is probably the killer feature, but I was also blown away by iMovie. The phone was doing things my old  PowerBook is too slow to do. That's just crazy.  Specwise apple might not be far ahead of the competition, but in terms of software* and hardware design, they definitely are.

*Except for notifications. THey just hired the UI guy who did notifications on the Pre, so here's to hoping...

#10 teflon

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 01:15 PM

The facts I was talking about were actually more relating to dedicated cameras. Remember a few years back there was a boom that saw them reach ridiculous numbers of megapixels? With a sensor the same size as before, that just makes the pictures look plain bad. Obviously on a phone the sensor has to be smaller out of necessity, as does the lens and everything else.
What Apple are trying to do is improve low light picture quality, in the main. Here you need as large a sensor as possible to take in as much light per pixel as is possible.

Whatever the case, though, none of this is going to make the iPhone contend with a proper camera, but when compared to other smart phones, it should be better in low light and equal in good conditions. The images on Apple's site don't really show off the low light pictures because, well, they will look worse than the good light conditions, so Apple would have to take a competitor's phone and compare.


As for the battery life, the two HTC models you called up have lesser CPUs in comparison to the iPhone 4. I doubt the A4 is running at 1GHz in the iPhone, but at least 800Mhz is what I'd expect. The X10, fair enough, has a larger screen along with a 1Ghz CPU, just a shame that it's only running Android 1.6.


Loads of people are pulling the "It's no better than anything else" card, taking a broad spectrum of Android phones and picking and choosing the best aspect from each phone they can find. But if you come at it from the other direction, there's no single Android phone that can single handedly match every aspect of the iPhone (discounting the Gyroscope and the display).
Then, as you said, it's software.

But even on software, Android is typical linux. You've got loads of different variants, all running different builds and version, with differing UI overlays, and a very slow update schedule dictated by the handset creator, since they had to customise it... It's complete chaos with half of all Android phones still running 1.6 when 2.1 has been out for months. In part because of this, a lot of apps lack the polish that you often see in the iPhone's/iPad's catalogue.
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#11 Janichsan

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 02:48 PM

View PostCougar, on 09 June 2010 - 12:30 PM, said:

Janichsan, I think what sets FaceTime (god, what a terrible name) apart is the implementation. There is no configuration required.
Yes, true. But on the other hand, that exactly makes the feature also extremely limited: so far, FaceTime only works when person you are talking to also has an iPhone 4 (and no other model) and both have to be on wifi. I can't see this feature go anywhere anytime soon.

View Postteflon, on 09 June 2010 - 01:15 PM, said:

Loads of people are pulling the "It's no better than anything else" card, taking a broad spectrum of Android phones and picking and choosing the best aspect from each phone they can find. But if you come at it from the other direction, there's no single Android phone that can single handedly match every aspect of the iPhone (discounting the Gyroscope and the display).
Yeah, well, when we try to find an exact match in all features, we'll still be here next year. But when you take a closer look you'll see that many recent smart phones have very similar features – and the new iPhone isn't that different from these. I'll throw another one into the ring: the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD. Features: front facing camera for video chats? Check! Backfacing camera with more than 5 MP? Check (8 MP)! Low light capability? Check! (ISO 1600 – no comparable number for the iPhone available. Plus add a handfull of special camera features like smile detection and image stabilisation.) HD video recording? Check! Talk time of close to 7 hours over 3G? Check! Standby time of more than 300 hours? Check! (450 h and more.) And so forth... The best: it's available since May 2009.

Yes, you might  object that the Samsung has only a 600 MHz CPU, no  802.11n wifi, a lesser display resolution – but that's not the point. The iPhone has some advantages in some points, other phones have advantages in other aspects, but on the whole, these differences (in hardware!) balance out, making the iPhone 4 a lot less outstanding – in my opinion.

The iPhone's main selling point is still it's software.

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#12 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:08 PM

I hope they at least make facetime interoperable with iChat AV on the Mac.
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#13 Cougar

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:57 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 09 June 2010 - 02:48 PM, said:

Yes, true. But on the other hand, that exactly makes the feature also extremely limited: so far, FaceTime only works when person you are talking to also has an iPhone 4 (and no other model) and both have to be on wifi. I can't see this feature go anywhere anytime soon.

I can. It's an open API. If Apple doesn't do it with iChat, others (Skype, Fring, AIM) will. Hopefully Android will include it as well.

And I wouldn't be surprised (OK, maybe I would) if Apple put a front facing camera into the next Touch as a way to push FaceTime. They said they hope to have "tens of millions" of FaceTime devices by the end of the year, not specifically mentioning iPhones.


View PostJanichsan, on 09 June 2010 - 02:48 PM, said:

The iPhone's main selling point is still its software.

And design.

#14 teflon

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 05:35 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 09 June 2010 - 02:48 PM, said:

Yes, true. But on the other hand, that exactly makes the feature also extremely limited: so far, FaceTime only works when person you are talking to also has an iPhone 4 (and no other model) and both have to be on wifi. I can't see this feature go anywhere anytime soon.


Yeah, well, when we try to find an exact match in all features, we'll still be here next year.

But the CPU is all important here. Apple could downclock the A4 to 400Mhz and increase the battery life by a couple of hours if they wanted.
Anyway, that's not what I was aiming for in what I was saying. My point was that the iPhone brings all of the features together into one place. It's got that faster CPU, it's got the front facing camera, it's got the 7h talk time etc. etc. etc. All the android phones are missing a handful of features each. It's got this and that and this, but it's got a slower CPU, or it's got a few hours less battery life.
The iPhone has no real compromises other than in the resolutions of the two cameras. (oh, fine, there's no user-replaceable battery and no memory card slot either, but that's likely an hour or two battery life right there)


On the subject of FaceTime, Skype has already expressed interest in taking Apple's collection of open protocols and implementing it fairly soonish in skype. If they can then bring that to android and iPhone, that's cross platform video chat right there. How it can/will all interact with themselves will be interesting to watch unfold, but as with a lot of things Apple does now, they make a move and everyone else reacts.
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#15 Janichsan

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 12:57 AM

View Postteflon, on 09 June 2010 - 05:35 PM, said:

But the CPU is all important here. Apple could downclock the A4 to 400Mhz and increase the battery life by a couple of hours if they wanted.
Is it? The Samsung I linked to above and a couple of the other phones I mentioned have exactly the same CPU/graphics combination as the iPhone 3GS - the one that has been sold for being faaaaaast. Has this changed in an instant? How fast the A4 in the iPhone 4 really is, remains to be seen. Even Steve Jobs hasn't mentioned any speed improvements in his keynote.

One more thing, since you keep bringing up Android phones: Android is by far not the only mobile OS out there and limiting iPhone competitors to Android phones means leaving out more (hardware-wise) comparable phones. The Samsung for instance uses Symbian, one of the HTCs uses Windows Mobile.

Anyway, I doubt we'll ever reach a satisfying agreement here. I think we concur that the iPhone 4 is the best iPhone so far and that iOS > any other mobile OS.

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#16 ltcommander.data

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:08 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 08 June 2010 - 07:09 PM, said:

In my opinion the biggest feature is the A4 processor, does this mean we can expect iPhone4/iPad only apps ??
I don't see iPhone 4/iPad exclusive apps since the market it just too small. Apps requiring 3rd gen devices and up make sense though to take full advantage of the common Cortex A8 and NEON and especially games built from the ground up in OpenGL ES 2.0 with shaders.

The clock speed of the A4 in the iPhone 4 would definitely be interesting information, particularly the GPU clock speed. The same PowerVR SGX535 is used in the 3rd gen iPhone/iPod Touch and the A4 in the iPad and iPhone 4 only clocked differently. If the SGX535 is clock at a quarter of the CPU clock speed, say 150MHz on the iPhone 3G S, 200MHz on the iPhone 4, and 250MHz on the iPad, it would appear to me that despite the focus on the iPad and now iPhone 4, the iPhone 3G S with it's smaller 480x320 resolution may actually have more GPU power per pixel.

#17 Janichsan

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:42 AM

View PostCougar, on 09 June 2010 - 03:57 PM, said:

I can. It's an open API. If Apple doesn't do it with iChat, others (Skype, Fring, AIM) will.
Well, Skype's not doing it, as it seems.

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#18 NAG

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:16 AM

Skype can still use the front facing camera though, correct? I think the hardware is more important here than Apple's implementation of video chat. The front camera only being VGA is kind of a bummer but not the end of the world. I'm happy they are finally ditching the pin hole focus tiny ccd camera and using a larger ccd in the new iPhone (yes, you can frame this as "catching up" if you like). It's all about light collection and resolution. If you have good light collection but low resolution you're going to get low resolution photos. If you have bad light collection but high resolution you're going to get high resolution photos with a bunch of noise (exact amount depending on how bright the setting is). Light collection is the primary reason why SLRs were made. They excel at collecting as much light as possible.
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#19 teflon

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:46 AM

View PostJanichsan, on 10 June 2010 - 12:57 AM, said:

Is it?
.....
Anyway, I doubt we'll ever reach a satisfying agreement here. I think we concur that the iPhone 4 is the best iPhone so far and that iOS > any other mobile OS.

I think it is, actually.
The combination in the 3GS and the other smart phones might be fast, but the A4 is, I have no doubt, faster. That's it. Apple might not have it clocked as high as in the iPad, but it wouldn't be 400Mhz downclocked, that'd just be bonkers. Particularly when the nearest competition is running at 1Ghz on the CPU.

The only reason why I was focussing on Android phones so much is because software wise, they're the closest to iOS. Windows 6.5 completely sucks, whilst Symbian is also lagging behind. Also, Android phones are by and large getting a lot more coverage than the others. Since I've not really been following the competition too closely, I'll admit I'm slightly blinkered.

But OK. We can bench this discussion till next year where I doubt we'll see anything but a speed bump. The OS is pretty much feature complete with only AT&T's ineptitude holding features back now.

View PostNAG, on 10 June 2010 - 11:16 AM, said:

Skype can still use the front facing camera though, correct?

Of course, and it seems that they can just use the iOS' camera APIs which will mean simultaneous recording, switching cameras at will etc. etc.
FaceTime is just a set of protocols, nothing to do with the actual cameras. If Skype were to use FaceTime's protocols, or at least have it as an option, then it'd be possible for people to phone skype to iPhone and then turn on video chat on the fly.
If skype don't use FaceTime, then it's just Skype to Skype or FaceTime to FaceTime.
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Posted 11 June 2010 - 12:13 AM

Oddly, I don't see Verizon doing any better. I'm not an AT&T apologist, I think they're both scum. We're stuck with a bunch of shortsighted companies for telephone providers in the states. It would be nice if something would be done about it. Of course I'm not holding my breath since that investigation into phone companies charging outrageous prices for text messages went no where.
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