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Walt Mossberg reviews iPhone 4 for the Wall Street Journal

post #1 of 117
Thread Starter 
The first reviews of iPhone 4 are beginning to appear, including Walt Mossberg's in the Wall Street Journal, David Pogue's in the New York Times and Ed Baig's in USA Today.

Walt Mossberg - The Wall Street Journal

Mossberg's review noted iPhone 4's "dramatic redesign," writing, "physically, the iPhone 4 is attractive and feels great in the hand. Even the back is now clad in glass, which Apple claims is a superstrong variety 30 times tougher than plastic. I dropped it several times from a few feet onto a hard surface with no problem, and it acquired no scratches at all in my testing, even though I didnt use a case or coddle it."

Mossberg called the new FaceTime video calling "one of this devices best features," explaining, "there is no setup and nothing to learn. You just press a FaceTime button, and if the other person accepts the invitation to talk face to face, his or her image appears, with your own image showing in a small corner window. [] It worked great for me, except for a couple of brief freeze-ups."

The review briefly notes new iOS 4 features before saying, "the most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., its shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network."

Mossberg writes that Apple is working to improve things by using the phone's frame as an antenna, adding "Apple said it also tuned the phone to try to grab whatever band on the network was less congested or less affected by interferenceto stress the quality of a signal over its raw strength. AT&T said it, too, made some changes to its network with the new iPhone in mind."

Despite those improvements, Mossberg wrote that "network reception was a mixed bag," noting that he experienced fewer dropped calls but that the device sometimes registered no or fewer bars than an iPhone 3GS.

"Apple says that this is a bug it plans to fix," Mossberg wrote, "and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability to make a call. And, in fact, in nearly all of these cases, the iPhone 4 was able to place calls despite the lack of bars."

The review concludes, "I cant recommend this new iPhone for voice calling for people who experience poor AT&T reception, unless they are willing to carry a second phone on a network that works better for them. For everyone else, however, Id say that Apple has built a beautiful smartphone that works well, adds impressive new features and is still, overall, the best device in its class."

David Pogue - The New York Times

Mossberg's review is followed by one from New York Times columnist David Pogue.
The new metal mute and volume buttons are much stiffer.
Apple's A4 chip "makes a difference every time you tap the touch screen."
Video call (FaceTime) "picture and audio are rock solid, with very little delay, and it works the first time and every time."
The new 5MP camera is "better, though its still no rival to a real camera."
Snapping a photo is now "instantaneous," losing the lag of last year's models.
The LED flash can remain on for video recordings.
Takes "great" 720p HD videos.
The noise-canceling microphone, improved audio chamber, and new antenna design of the iPhone 4 produce clearer audio calls and less dropped calls.
Edward C. Baig - USA Today

Ed Baig of the USA Today also had this to add:
Apple has "nailed" video calling;
To reinforce the claim that the iPhone 4's glass is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic an "Apple executive dropped it in front of me. The phone was undamaged."
"You can seamlessly switch from front to rear camera and back during a call, allowing you to share your surroundings with a caller."
"It takes a few seconds once you tap the FaceTime button for AT&T to hand the call over to the FaceTime application."
To to downgrade a call from a FaceTime video call to an audio call, hang up and redial.
The 5MP camera took "several decent pictures in low light but had some grainy results, too. It's not a great camera for capturing fast-moving action. Close-ups taken with the 5x digital zoom, which is an iOS 4 addition, were so-so."
"The second, front-facing camera on the iPhone makes it a snap to capture self-portraits without flipping the device around."
"I found it a [iMovie] clumsy to use, however, and for some reason the app misidentified the location where certain footage was shot.
eBooks look "supercrisp and sharp" throughout the new Retina Display but fall short of the iPad experience.
post #2 of 117
Does anyone know the secret new field test mode to find out their true signal reception? I know only how to get it by upgrading from 3.1.3 to 4.0.

That would tell Walt the "TRUE SHIT SIGNAL STRENGTH" that AT&T has."
post #3 of 117
I'm glad to see the glass is holding up well. I would like to see what happens in PC World's stress test. As always the main problem with the iPhone is the carrier. I don't think it'll be long before see a Verizon version.
post #4 of 117
"The overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S., which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor."

"The Big Downside

The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it's shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network."

I hope those headlines really get Job's attention.
post #5 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by erybovic View Post

"The overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S., which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor."

"The Big Downside

The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it's shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network."

I hope those headlines really get Job's attention.

Walt gives ATT what they deserve. I am ashamed to say i pay ATT$100 a month to use the iphone.
MMMAd dropped calls.
If there gonna put a cap on data usage then they should put a cap on the amount of customers they have.
"DO NOT HAVE MORE CUSTOMERS THAN YOUR CRAPPY NETWORK CAN HANDLE"
And when u call them for compensation for all the dropped calls they say "sorry!!!"
I got so feed up 3 months ago i tried to get out of my contract. She said i couldn't and so did the manager.I asked her so what are u gonna do about the 5-8 dropped calls i get every single day and she said "sorry!!"
And the new HSPA upgrade in dallas is CCCCCCCCCCCCCrap!!!!!
Hear me now ATT "DOUBLE YOUR EFFORTS PLEASE!!!"
post #6 of 117


-113 Signal Strength
post #7 of 117
Live in Texas and work in Chicago have about one droped call a month.. Had more with VZW... and even more with sprint.. nextel was the best.. that I had..

If the call so damn important use a land line..
post #8 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by sigs21 View Post

Live in Texas and work in Chicago have about one droped call a month.. Had more with VZW... and even more with sprint.. nextel was the best.. that I had..

If the call so damn important use a land line..

What's a land line?
post #9 of 117
The WSJ review by Mr Mossburg is just super and a fine review of a fine product.. What comes through loud and clear. When will Apple do something about this handicap it is lugging around called AT&T? The damage it must be doing to Apple sales is very obvious . There are customers out there who would buy an iPhone in a flash, but they are holding off because of AT&T's poor quality of product.

It makes no sense at all. If I was in their shoes (I am not} i would also decline. Why would I buy a Rolls Royce grade product which only contains a small underpowered engine?
post #10 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by erybovic View Post

I hope those headlines really get Job's attention.

Well right, Steve probably doesn't use an iPhone, so he wouldn't know unless Walt Mossberg told him.
Please don't be insane.
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post #11 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

What's a land line?

I thought the United Nations banned them?
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post #12 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by sigs21 View Post

Live in Texas and work in Chicago have about one droped call a month.. Had more with VZW... and even more with sprint.. nextel was the best.. that I had..

If the call so damn important use a land line..

A lot of businesses no longer have pay phones. What are you supposed to do? Knock on someones door and say"excuse me, my smartphone can't make a phone call, can I use your phone?"

While I'm at it, think I'll ask for a glass of kool Aid to remind myself that I just love my iPhone and my network.
post #13 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Well right, Steve probably doesn't use an iPhone, so he wouldn't know unless Walt Mossberg told him.

Steve probably uses a prototype Verizon iPhone. I guarantee that if he dropped ten calls a day and couldn't get on line heads would be rolling like tumble weeds.

Keep the heat on AT&T. The more they trip over their dicks, the better it will be for consumers.
post #14 of 117
Dear Steve,

AT&T's performance over the past 3 years is ASS. It pisses me off to no end that I wasted so much time on money on their network just to have your phone.

Just as a refresher, I know you weren't with Apple at the time, but Windows ended up kicking Apple's butt in the 90s by being good enough and cheaper. Unfortunately the same thing is happening today. Because you have to protect the fat margins you get from AT&T, you are blinded to the fact that the Android phones are good enough - and much better in that I can actually make a damn phone call on my Droid Incredible now! What a concept! Good luck with your business. You got beat by Microsoft once, and if you're not careful Google will do it again a second time using the exact same playbook.

I'll see you in 2 years when your contract with AT&T is (finally) up and my Verizon contract is up.
post #15 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Steve probably uses a prototype Verizon iPhone. I guarantee that if he dropped ten calls a day and couldn't get on line heads would be rolling like tumble weeds.

Right, Steve is clueless and lives in a bubble. It shows in everything Apple does.
Please don't be insane.
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post #16 of 117
post #17 of 117
Oh Jeezuz, here we go again. The whiners are coming out in full force.

1. Apple would be getting waaay more sales if they were on Verizon
What was the last number 30 million or so sold? How many pre-ordered?

2. Verizon's network is soooo much better than AT&T.
Uh huh, for the time being while you don't have the iPhone. When Verizon's inferior network gets flooded too and your performance drops (in select areas), you'll piss and moan for who? T-Mobile? Sprint?

3. I'd get an iPhone, if only the prince charming of networks had the iPhone and until then, I'm going to buy an inferior product and whine about not having the iPhone.
Many of us are extremely happy with the phone and the service. I've been a satisfied customer of Cingular/AT&T in the SFBA for about 12 years now. Never had a problem, never thought about switching. If you live in an area that has poor AT&T service, it sucks to be you. But I vote with my dollars and I'm good.

4. AT&T is just a greedy corporation to switch their plans and try to suck our wallets dry.
Verizon's going to do the same thing. It's capitalism and you live in a capitalist society. Get over it or don't pay.
post #18 of 117
Every wireless carrier has its issues. For every complaint one has about AT&T, the same can be said by someone else on another network.

Even though I will be replacing my 2g iPhone with the iPhone4, my 2g has been trusty with phone calls, and I even live in San Francisco where so many people complain about the reception. I have experienced one one-block radius in San Francisco where the reception does not work. That's it.

So while I can understand the frustration that people have with AT&T, everyone I know in the bay area has not had those issues, or to that level that people here complain about. Perhaps we have lower-expectations or others have way-too-high expectations that no carrier can ever realistically reach.

I'll bet money that if Verizon had the iPhone, it will have a serious meltdown too with the same number of users. In the back room, VZW executives are sighing relief that they dodged the bandwidth-hogging bullet.

I'll take the new iPhone's quality and scalability over the fragmented mess that is called Android. If you want a phone that works, and works well.. it's the one to use. If you need an environment to satisfy your broken PC-Model and ADHD urges, Android is for you.
post #19 of 117
1. Your right - Apple could care less about the 90 million people on Verizon and the millions more phones they could sell there. 30,000 sold and 600,00 pre-orders is good enough, right?

2. No one is saying that Apple should leave AT&T. Spreading out the bandwidth hogging phone is what would make everyone happier (including those staying with AT&T.)

3. It's not inferior if I can actually make a phone call on it. I have been an iPhone owner for 3 years. It's not like I don't have experience with the crap that is AT&T's service.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

Oh Jeezuz, here we go again. The whiners are coming out in full force.

1. Apple would be getting waaay more sales if they were on Verizon
What was the last number 30 million or so sold? How many pre-ordered?

2. Verizon's network is soooo much better than AT&T.
Uh huh, for the time being while you don't have the iPhone. When Verizon's inferior network gets flooded too and your performance drops (in select areas), you'll piss and moan for who? T-Mobile? Sprint?

3. I'd get an iPhone, if only the prince charming of networks had the iPhone and until then, I'm going to buy an inferior product and whine about not having the iPhone.
Many of us are extremely happy with the phone and the service. I've been a satisfied customer of Cingular/AT&T in the SFBA for about 12 years now. Never had a problem, never thought about switching. If you live in an area that has poor AT&T service, it sucks to be you. But I vote with my dollars and I'm good.

4. AT&T is just a greedy corporation to switch their plans and try to suck our wallets dry.
Verizon's going to do the same thing. It's capitalism and you live in a capitalist society. Get over it or don't pay.
post #20 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Right, Steve is clueless and lives in a bubble. It shows in everything Apple does.

Did I say that?
post #21 of 117
Looks like a winner!
I only have to wait one more year before I can upgrade from my 3G because in Canada, you have to sign a 3 year contract!

On the flip side, we can actually make calls
post #22 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by htoelle View Post

The WSJ review by Mr Mossburg is just super and a fine review of a fine product.. What comes through loud and clear. When will Apple do something about this handicap it is lugging around called AT&T? The damage it must be doing to Apple sales is very obvious . There are customers out there who would buy an iPhone in a flash, but they are holding off because of AT&T's poor quality of product.

It makes no sense at all. If I was in their shoes (I am not} i would also decline. Why would I buy a Rolls Royce grade product which only contains a small underpowered engine?

Unfortunately, though, people are crazy over the iPhone. Supply is way lower than demand. Apple won't even give it a second look until they come out with a product that does not get people in line or until they get more supply than demand. At this point, they can't produce enough iPhones, so they don't have any reason to look at a different carrier.
post #23 of 117
Maybe Verizon would have had the same issues. The point is AT&T does have these issues. It is well past time for Apple to move the iPhone to all 4 networks to spread the demand out. One network obviously cannot handle the load.

I don't have super high expectations - I just want to make calls. The whole 3 years I've had an iPhone my wife has had a crap feature phone on T-Mobile. Everywhere we went we had to bring both phones because whenever the iPhone didn't have a signal her phone always did.

Finally, the iPhone is not "a phone that works, and works well" for many, many people - because of the network. The chorus of people calling for Apple to move past AT&T has been consistent and growing louder. While you may have had good experiences with your phone, many people have not. It is no accident that every single one of the major reviewers mentioned AT&T as a huge drawback to adoption of the iPhone.

As far as Android, you can laugh all you want, but you sound like the self-contented Mac users circa 1989 who were sure that Microsoft would never be able to duplicate their superior experience. Unfortunately for Apple, they did.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Every wireless carrier has its issues. For every complaint one has about AT&T, the same can be said by someone else on another network.

Even though I will be replacing my 2g iPhone with the iPhone4, my 2g has been trusty with phone calls, and I even live in San Francisco where so many people complain about the reception. I have experienced one one-block radius in San Francisco where the reception does not work. That's it.

So while I can understand the frustration that people have with AT&T, everyone I know in the bay area has not had those issues, or to that level that people here complain about. Perhaps we have lower-expectations or others have way-too-high expectations that no carrier can ever realistically reach.

I'll bet money that if Verizon had the iPhone, it will have a serious meltdown too with the same number of users. In the back room, VZW executives are sighing relief that they dodged the bandwidth-hogging bullet.

I'll take the new iPhone's quality and scalability over the fragmented mess that is called Android. If you want a phone that works, and works well.. it's the one to use. If you need an environment to satisfy your broken PC-Model and ADHD urges, Android is for you.
post #24 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadash View Post

1. Your right - Apple could care less about the 90 million people on Verizon and the millions more phones they could sell there. 30,000 sold and 600,00 pre-orders is good enough, right?

Verizon had its shot back in 2007 but their arrogance bit them in the backside. VZW demanded too much and would have crippled the iPhone like they did with all the other phones that were running on their network. The rest of the world runs on GSM making the iPhone a true "world" phone. That's the hard reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadash View Post

2. No one is saying that Apple should leave AT&T. Spreading out the bandwidth hogging phone is what would make everyone happier (including those staying with AT&T.)

In an ideal world, one phone runs on multiple networks. Besides the political issues, I can only guess that Apple is running the hardware/logistical numbers of supporting different protocols.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadash View Post

3. It's not inferior if I can actually make a phone call on it. I have been an iPhone owner for 3 years. It's not like I don't have experience with the crap that is AT&T's service.

I've been a very happy AT&T customer since the Cingular days. I have no issues with it and an I know many happy iPhone owners. AT&T has their problems, but so does other carriers.
post #25 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by erybovic View Post

Does anyone know the secret new field test mode to find out their true signal reception? I know only how to get it by upgrading from 3.1.3 to 4.0.

That would tell Walt the "TRUE SHIT SIGNAL STRENGTH" that AT&T has.

Yeah, keep complaining, it must be a huge deal with 600,000 phones reserved on the first day.
post #26 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Yeah, keep complaining, it must be a huge deal with 600,000 phones reserved on the first day.

Too bad most of them went through hell trying to get through on AT&T network.
post #27 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadash View Post

... you sound like the self-contented Mac users circa 1989 who were sure that Microsoft would never be able to duplicate their superior experience. Unfortunately for Apple, they did.

Bought my first mac prior to '89, so I may have missed out on something. When was it that Microsoft finally provided its users a "superior experience"?
post #28 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by replicant View Post

Looks like a winner!
I only have to wait one more year before I can upgrade from my 3G because in Canada, you have to sign a 3 year contract!

On the flip side, we can actually make calls

speak for yourself! i can't wait to end my contract with rogers (one year left. don't care) and switch to telus. where i live rogers STILL doesn't offer 3G, and drops my calls every second to third time, at least at my house/work. it's a little better at the beach, but EDGE only.

i went with telus for my ipad and get 5 bars all the time AND 3G. it always depends on where you live i guess. the fact that rogers ignores the rural market with no 3G after 2 years of having the iphone gave telus an opening when they switched on their new network a few months ago.

don't dispair at&t victims! there's hope yet when the competition heats up!
post #29 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by htoelle View Post

The WSJ review by Mr Mossburg is just super and a fine review of a fine product.. What comes through loud and clear. When will Apple do something about this handicap it is lugging around called AT&T? The damage it must be doing to Apple sales is very obvious . There are customers out there who would buy an iPhone in a flash, but they are holding off because of AT&T's poor quality of product.

It makes no sense at all. If I was in their shoes (I am not} i would also decline. Why would I buy a Rolls Royce grade product which only contains a small underpowered engine?

LOL...dude they just PREORDERED over 600,000 iPhone 4s...how exactly are Apples sales hindered? Unfortunately AT&T is benefiting from being the only carrier willing to take a chance on the original, and being the only carrier running standard GSM bands. If Verizon had not passed on the iPhone, and if they did not require a unique CDMA radio that unfortunately does not support a feature that Apple heavily advertised (simultaneous voice and data), I'm sure they would have had one by now.

Either way, Apple is in no way hurting in the sales department...to say otherwise is about as stupid as buying an iPhone when you get horrible coverage with AT&T, which is an unfortunate reality for some, but not nearly as many as angry bloggers would have you think.
post #30 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by nethawk7 View Post

Bought my first mac prior to '89, so I may have missed out on something. When was it that Microsoft finally provided its users a "superior experience"?

maybe back when IBM picked their DOS over CP/M?
post #31 of 117
The increase in speed in taking pictures is software related, not hardware; my iPhone 3GS is "instantaneous"
post #32 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Did I say that?

Not in so many words, but yes, you did.
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post #33 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by replicant View Post

Looks like a winner!
I only have to wait one more year before I can upgrade from my 3G because in Canada, you have to sign a 3 year contract!

On the flip side, we can actually make calls

perhaps, but you are still getting killed by ROGERS, which although may have better coverage than ATT, they charge their customers through the nose.


As for APPLE and ATT WIRELESS, i hate ATT wireless coverage. its a big reason why i haven't set to upgrade to a new phone yet. I am hoping in the fall Apple goes agnostic to all the carriers. which is the right thing to do. allow consumers to choose their wireless service, not beholden customers to one.

ie Blackberry, which has all major carriers.
post #34 of 117
"To reinforce the claim that the iPhone 4's glass is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic an "Apple executive dropped it in front of me."

Why is it that supposedly tech-savvy people do not understand the meanings of "stiffer" and "harder" neither one of these has anything to do with dropping them. Standard window glass is both stiffer and harder than plastic. I.e. - it is resistant to bending and much more resistant to scratching than plastic. It will still shatter much more readily when dropped, because it is more brittle. Apparently, this new glass is not. Still - why can't we use the proper terminology. Shatter-resistant or even "stronger" would suffice.

While being anal-retentive about language here, I might as well point out that there would be "fewer" dropped calls, not "less."
post #35 of 117
What's amazing to me is the way people are so in the tank for SJ and his business savvy but blame AT&T for all the iPhone ills. If it was good for Apple, wouldn't SJ be doing it? I for one would love for Verizon and tMobile to get the iPhone just so people can start bitching about them too.
post #36 of 117
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post #37 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

4. AT&T is just a greedy corporation to switch their plans and try to suck our wallets dry.
Verizon's going to do the same thing. It's capitalism and you live in a capitalist society. Get over it or don't pay.

Which is precisely why I don't own a cell phone of any flavor. But you do not hear me whining about it.

[whine...] But I DO wish I could get an iPhone 4 without a plan.
post #38 of 117
I had Verizon for years until I switched to the iPhone. I actually have had equal or better reception (Philadelphia marketplace primarily). My wife still has a Verizon phone...I can make calls at my vacation home in the mountains where she can't.

People who think Verizon is some kind of paradise are in for a rude awakening. Their customer service sucks, they do everything they can to cripple their phones and they were more expensive.

Be careful what you wish for.
post #39 of 117
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post #40 of 117
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