The iPhone 4 finally became available for purchase this past Thursday and already there have been reports of long lines and inventory shortages at iPhone retailers like Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy, as well as at Apple stores. So we at least know that the iPhone 4 is incredibly popular. But is the latest incarnation of Apple's industry leading smartphone as good as it is popular? As usual with Apple products, it's a mixed bag more heavily weighted on the positive side than the negative.
On the positive side, the iPhone 4 features several improvements from the iPhone 3GS, its predecessor, not least of which is the HD-quality 960 x 640 pixel screen resolution, also known as Retina Display for how closely it reproduces images to the quality of real objects before the naked eye. For the new iPhone 4, Apple also added a front-facing camera to allow for video chatting.
One of the other enhancements the iPhone 4 boasts is a flagship feature of the new operating system iOS 4, and that is multi-tasking capabilities (the ability to run more than one app without exiting out of one app to enter another--think: Pandora radio continuing to play while you check the weather at the destination for which Google Maps is giving you directions). Of course, the big concern everyone had about multi-tasking on the device was the potential battery drain, which is why Apple thankfully boosted its battery strength for the iPhone 4 too, allowing for up to 40% more talk time.
On the negative side, users have found that if you grip the iPhone 4 a certain way, you cover the antenna, thereby interrupting or blocking the signal. Apple says you can correct that by holding the iPhone 4 differently, but some users are decrying that that's not good enough. We will likely see Apple improve upon this defect in future upgrades.
The iPhone 4 comes in a more secure new stainless steel case with a glass exterior over the display screen. And as for internal hardware improvements, the new iPhone now boasts a 3-axis gyro, more and more becoming a necessity for smartphone gamers.
In short, the iPhone 4 is pretty much what you would expect it to be-- your favorite smartphone souped-up just enough to leave you wanting more.