Last Thursday, I managed to get the boy dressed and out the door before 7am. Why? Because he had decided that he wanted to get an iPhone 4. He’d sold his HTC Desire the week before, so had been without a phone for a week. Let me just say, this is possibly the most annoying thing he could have done. Without a phone, I couldn’t call him to say “I’m here, can you pick me up?”. Couldn’t text to ask him to pop to the shop. Frustrating. All I could do was send him an email and hope that he was paying attention to his iPad.
I wasn’t that fussed to be honest, and had only decided the day before that I would at least try to get a phone. I went to Vodafone at lunch the day before and got them to do a credit check, and gathered up any proof of residence. You know, the sort of thing an overly organised person does.
We got to Cabot Circus Apple Store at about half 7 and joined the back of the queue which was snaking about outside Brasserie Blanc. There was probably about 30 people in the reserved queue, and maybe 60 in the “walk in” queue. The store had opened earlier than the 8am advertised time to allow the reserved people (such as my old colleagues Nick and Martin) to get their phone just that little bit earlier than expected. There was some problem with the system where it couldn’t sell SIM free phones (which annoyed me – a very unApple thing to do I thought!)
By quarter past 8, I was giving up. The queue hadn’t moved at all in the hour we had been there, and even the people who had reordered were left waiting. I left Alex in the queue, and headed towards Starbucks. On the way was the Vodafone store, open and looking pretty empty. I thought I’d pop in and ask on the off chance they had the iPhone4 in stock.
They did, and could even give an estimated waiting time of how long we’d be waiting before we saw someone. I resisted the urge to hug the manager Tony, got tickets for the queue and ran back to the Apple queue. I told Alex I’d reserved two iPhones for us so we walked back at a bit of a pace to Vodafone.
Signing up for my contract was nice and easy. I handed over a reference number for the credit check, and my PAC code. Signed the contract, grabbed my new toy and ran to get a bus. I was at my desk an hour after I’d gone into Vodafone – I dread to think how late I’d have been if I’d had the patience to stay at Apple!
So here’s where the bad bit started. Porting your number from network A to network B typically takes 24 hours. When I’ve ported numbers before, the new network gives the new phone a temporary number so you can still use it.
Sadly, Vodafone did neither. I had a text the next day saying that the number would port on Monday but no temporary number was allocated to me in the meantime. Which was pretty frustrating, since an iPhone is pretty dull without a connection. So I had this lovely shiny new toy but couldn’t do much with it. (OK, so I could do a bit with it, since I also received on the same day a MiFi to trial with “our” iPad from the guys at 3MobileBuzz, but that’s not the point!) Thankfully, the number port was slightly quicker than expected and by 1pm on Monday, I could finally use my phone!
So whats so good about it? The screen. It’s so crisp to read things on the screen, which is especially noticeable when reading blogs and Twitter I’ve found. Its quick to flick between apps (even those not “optimised” for iOS4).
The camera – well, my iPhone 3G thought it was good before, but now its hanging its head in shame. I’ve used the camera so far to mostly take photos of adverts in the newspaper – and the text is still legible. I’ve not yet tried out the video, or the editing, but it looks pretty decent – to be honest, its not something I would see myself using!
FaceTime (oh yes, the iPhone’s irritating auto correction applies to words you’ve not properly capitalised) isn’t something I would probably use very much – I don’t really like using the phone, let alone having to send a video of me! So far, I have only had a few FaceTime calls with Alex – while we were in the same house because it requires wifi (I wonder if it would work with the MiFi? Hmm…) Unfortunately, on one of those calls, he thought it would be a good idea to moon me.
Overall, I’d say that the iPhone 4 is a massive jump from the iPhone 3 – its just so much quicker to do anything now! Part of the reason that I chose to upgrade on launch day was because I had “upgraded” my iPhone 3 to iOS4 on Monday, and was getting annoyed with the slowness of the phone. Would I recommend it? Of course – but then I would usually recommend an iPhone to most people!