Why did I upgrade to iPhone 4?

I hate to admit it, but I have an iPhone 4. I didn’t stand in the queue to get one, at least. But I didn’t need to upgrade, and I did it anyway. 

Apple, on their website, described iPhone4 like this: “This changes everything. Again”.
The fact is, there is not a single feature in this new handset that I’d consider as game-changing as Apple does. A gyroscope? Please. Front facing camera – it make me look fat. HD Video and 5 megapixels? I hate taking photos and leave that to the better half. Multitasking? I’d already gotten so used to not having it, that now I do, I’ve forgotten how to use it. Glass case? Clumsy me, just wait till I drop it. 
So actually, I’m siting here now with the thing in my hand and wondering what was going through my brain when I decided to upgrade. I still don’t really know. 
But I do know this: once you turn it on and see the screen you get it.
What you don’t realise when you stare at a typical computer display all day is how much poorer it is compared to, say, paper. We’re all used to this, of course so we don’t even think about it.  But the moment you read text on the iPhone, you’re hooked. It is painful going back to a traditional display after that. I’m sitting writing this on my laptop, and all I can think about is the pixels I can see on the “s” I just typed.
You don’t see pixels on the iPhone any more.
I’m finding myself reading actual books on the thing now, something I would never have even contemplated just a few days ago. I’d read my feeds and stuff on my phone, but actual reading for pleasure? Never.
Anyway, this has changed my expectation for all my electronic devices. I was thinking about getting an iPad, but won’t until it has a screen like iPhone. In the next year or so, I’ll probably upgrade my laptop, but certainly won’t be doing so until it has a screen like iPhone. 
Maybe I won’t even update my appliances at home like the microwave unless they have such a screen. Even the vacuum cleaner  has a screen, and now I want it with resolution like on my phone. 
I’m joking about the appliances. At least, I think I am.
But for my real work tools, I’ll switch manufacturers and operating systems if they’ll give me a screen I can use instead of paper. The difference in the experience when you have to read all day makes that much difference.
My own response is interesting to me. I thought I’d care about the features, and the fit and finish, and other stuff that Apple are known for. Actually, all I care about a commodity component that is extremely replicable by Apple’s competitors. 
It is interesting, isn’t it, that even when you think about innovation all day, you can still be surprised to discover something you’d written off as incidental to the main game, turns out to be the most important thing of all.

4 Responses to“Why did I upgrade to iPhone 4?”

  1. Nick Smith
    July 8, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks James – two weeks in, and I'm finding I agree with you. Taking an interest in ebooks for the first time, and revisiting looking at documents on the device.
    (Didn't queue either, just went to a shop with no queue)

  2. Bob Sinclair
    July 10, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    Have you had any signal issues 😉
    Thinking of making the plunge myself but cant get my hands on one to see if the way I hold my phone is wrong!

  3. July 13, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    Bob- no signal issues that I can detect. Although, being on the O2 network, you do quite often get drop outs. I experienced them on the 3GS too, and am not certain the issue on 4 is any more or less.

  4. July 13, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    ".. something you'd written off as incidental to the main game, turns out to be the most important thing of all .."
    Interesting, Edgar Allan Poe once said:
    "Truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant."
    I've installed my Android v2.1 update and the best bit is that I now have a brightness control, the little things do make a big difference. 😉

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