The new iPhone 4 isn’t perfect. It’s a very good handheld computer, beautifully designed, with many powers. But it isn’t perfect. And a few days after launch, it’s clear that the device has some rough edges, which Apple is rumored to be working on smoothing out.
These troubles are magnified because it’s an iPhone. Lots of phones have issues like the ones I’m listing below, but you don’t hear nearly as much about them.
To a large extent, Apple has nobody but itself to blame for expectations of perfection. Steve Jobs and the Apple PR team like to maintain a fiction that their gadgets are without peer or flaw. Add to this a consumer and fan boy press that reacts to any Apple product the way my four-year-old daughter reacts to ponies, and you have pretty unrealistic expectations of a modern consumer electronics product.
Here are the top five complaints we’re hearing about the new iPhone 4. Please go ahead and add yours in the comments section:
Lousy Reception: The “iPhone Death Grip” is well-documented at this point, but many phones lose at least some signal when you cover their antennas. Engadget has been running photos from Nokia manuals, which warn against covering antennas, and PCMag Reviews Editor Dan Costa can do a pretty good “death grip” on his Palm Pre. The iPhone’s main problem seems to be that it just doesn’t get great reception anyway. iPhones never have. It hasn’t stopped people from buying them, but cellular RF design has been a long-term struggle for Apple.
Running Hot: This could be related to the reception issues. My iPhone has been clearly churning its radio to try to get better connections, resulting in a rather warm device. The iPhone seems to use its entire glass back as a heat sink, as well. A firmware update could improve this situation by instructing the iPhone to use its radio more efficiently.
Burning Through Battery: While the iPhone 4 has perfectly good continuous talk time results for a 3G mobile phone – at 6 hours 14 minutes, it’s in the middle of the pack – I’ve seen the battery run down after 13 hours of moderate use on some days. Now, before you go nuts, I’ve had the same thing happen with both a Sprint HTC EVO 4G and an iPhone 3GS. But I can’t help but think that this particular situation has something to do with those signal issues above, and that this could be helped by a firmware update as well.
Perilous Proximity Sensor: This one I haven’t seen personally, but I’ve helped some readers through it. Apparently, if you restore the iPhone 4 from a backup of an earlier iPhone model, it can make the phone’s proximity sensor a bit wobbly. As a result, you hang up on calls with your cheek. The solution seems to be to set up the iPhone 4 in iTunes as a new phone, which I did from the start (and thus I didn’t have the proximity sensor problem.)
Screen Screw-Ups: Reports of yellow spots on screens have been spreading through the Internet. Sometimes they go away with time; sometimes they don’t. One thing we do know is that no other major consumer electronics product uses 3.5-inch, 960-by-640 IPS LCD screens, so Apple is innovating out on its own with the iPhone’s new screen – and typically, with a new screen technology comes a higher error rate until the technology becomes more commoditized.
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