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iPhone 4 impressions and the case program

by Philip Sellers

For once, I was not the first of my friends with the shiny new Apple toy!  You see, I work for an AT&T reseller and we had an internal policy for the iPhone launch that employees would need to wait so that our customers could get iPhone 4’s in hand as quickly as possible.  I can really respect that — it speaks to what HTC is doing for the sake of customer service.  

So, a little more than a week after its launch, employees were allowed to purchase iPhone 4’s for our personal use.  And I snapped one up.  The 32GB models were in low supply, so I opted for a 16GB, even though I had already filled my previous 16GB iPhone 3G model.  First impressions — I really love the iPhone 4.  The camera is fantastic, the screen is really amazing, and its speedy (which any original iPhone 3G owner can appreciate).   And iOS 4 is a great enhancement when you have the better processors.   I can attest, though, it runs like mud on an iPhone 3G.

That said, I found the attenna issue to be a real thing.  If I touch the left side near the break point, my signal diminishes.  Even with iOS 4.01 update, I still see signal go down.  Apple did discover that they had a software error that caused misrepresentation of signal, but the iOS 4.01 update didn’t resolve all the problems for me.   However, I believe that a case will fix the problem as Consumer Reports and Apple have both reported.  And so, today, I downloaded the iPhone 4 Case Program app from the App Store and selected my free case.  The shipping time shows 3 to 5 weeks to arrive (which is the only bummer), but Apple did a great job of making this program easy to use from a customer’s perspective.

To order your free case from Apple, get the app, launch it and then click the blue button.  You are asked to log into your iTunes account and then the app apparently checks the fulfillment system against your serial and/or iTunes account to see if you have a pending order.  If you have a pending order, it will display a message — otherwise, it displays a list of the available cases.  I was impressed with the selection — cases from Speck, Belkin and other vendors.  I selected my Speck case and placed the order.  The app automatically pulled my address and name information from my iTunes account and so one more tap and the order was complete.  It took only about 4 or 5 taps on screen to complete my order — which is a testament to Apple’s mentality and method of creating easy customer experiences.

That all said, I’m not sure that Apple PR or Steve Jobs handled the situation very gracefully, given the type of experience they strive to create for the customer.  But that is my personal opinion and no one can discount that Apple has made an exceptional device and people want them.  Even with the antenna problem, it is the best iPhone yet.  I can’t wait to see what is up their sleeves next.    That marks one thing off of my Apple to-buy list, but a new iMac and iPad are still on the list…  just waiting until the house comes a little further and we see how all of the finances for it works out.  We are trying to be very budget conscious right now.

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