Someone has to say it, so it may as well be me: Apple's iPhone 4 is a total fraud!
I had vowed that last week's chapter on my quest to obtain the new phone to replace my "aging" year-old iPhone 3GS model would be my last. I mean, three weeks of posts about the way Apple (or as I like to call the company, "The Fruit,") manipulates its own customers to generate news coverage, was, I thought, more than enough on the subject.
But now that I have actually used the new phone for more than a week, I must tell you, it is a rip-off, unless you are upgrading from the original iPhone models prior to 3GS, in which case, the iPhone 4 will be an absolute improvement in speed and function.
But for those of us who "upgraded" from the 3GS to the iPhone 4, it was a waste of time and, more importantly, money.
The only reason I decided to buy the new model was because of the promise that it would have greatly improved telephone reception due to its design, not to mention (but I will) what was supposed to be superior battery life and much increased speed for surfing the web.
On two of the three promises, I have found the iPhone 4 fails.
First, we all know by now the sad saga of how Apple first claimed that poor reception was probably because left-handed owners were simply holding the phone the wrong way. That was followed by an "admission" from Apple that its software, going all the way back to its very first iPhone model, was faulty, displaying more signal strength than was actually the case.
But this week, the respected Consumer Reports basically said it wasn't buying Apple's most recent explanation and that you should be cautious buying the iPhone 4.
Now, I do have a rubber case (that I paid for, but that Apple should have given out for free to fix the obvious design problem with the iPhone 4)--but I have not noticed any difference in reception at all compared to my iPhone 3GS: The new phone still doesn't get any bars in the the exact same places the old iPhone didn't get reception--like my house, my block, on the way to LAX, around LAX, coming back from LAX, along vast stretches of Sunset and Santa Monica Blvds, inside many office buildings, etc.
In fact, just this week, I got a surprise letter from AT&T (if the iPhone 4 is a fraud, then AT&T is its partner in crime) with a free offer of a new, in house mini cell "tower" that I could use to get cell reception indoors on my iPhone 4! If that isn't an admission of design failure, I don't know what is.
As for battery life, I made it a point this past week to use my new iPhone 4 exactly the way I normally would have used my old iPhone 3GS... about the same number of calls and about the same amount of time scanning various websites.
Guess what: My battery indicator went down just as fast as on my previous iPhone -- and, by roughly 3pm each day, I needed to recharge because my battery was showing less than 25% of its power left. Same as the old iPhone 3GS battery. And, yes, I did make sure I totally drained the battery prior to re-charging, which is normally the only way to get a complete re-charge.
I do find that the iPhone 4 is much faster than my previous model in downloading websites and uploading things like pictures, but once I had upgraded my old phone to the new iPhone operating system, even that phone became a relative speed demon when multi-tasking.
If they really want to make an improvement next year for the iPhone 5, they should announce that it will come with a telephone cord that can be attached to the phone on one end and a wall socket on the other to create something truly wonderful: a telephone that can make and receive calls!
Bottom line -- If you own a first generation iPhone, by all means, upgrade to the iPhone 4. It is better.
If, on the other hand (I hope the right hand, since Apple says the left hand is the one that screws up reception) you own a later model iPhone -- save your money. Upgrade the operating system, which is free, and take those few hundred you were going to spend on the iPhone 4 and pay down your credit card debt.
Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in Los Angeles since 1995 and is a regular contributor of investigative reporting to KNX 1070 Newsradio.