Tech Revision: iPhone 4

Back in 2010, Apple was at the top of the smartphone world. On the heels of the success of their latest release – the iPhone 4 – it seemed that there was no imminent competition for the fruit company.

BlackBerry was rapidly dying, Android was a really rough version of what it is today and Windows phone was no competition.

No one could challenge Apple. Or so we thought.

Let’s look back at one of Apples greatest products ever.

Pre-iPhone 4, the material phones were made up mostly consisted of mostly one element: plastic. There was nothing to compare those phones to. But when Apple came along a slapped two sheets of glass fused together by a metal band, the differenced was night and day. The first time I held the iPhone 4 in my hand I was blown away. It felt heavy, cold and sophisticated. It was premium. Something no other phone could claim at the time. In fact, it took years for Android phone to catch up to Apple’s design elements.

Boasting a brand new IPS LED display with the resolution of 960 x 640 for a ppi count of 326, Apple dubbed their new screens Retina display and darted to the top of the smartphone market in terms of display quality. Simply put, there was no other phone that even came close to the Retina display. It took years for competitors to finally exceed the iPhone’s Retina display quality.

That was the theme back in 2010 – Apple was years ahead of the competition in terms of software, design and quality. Apple was actually innovating and pushing new frontiers in the smartphone world.

There were other features that the iPhone phone introduced to the lineup that continued to enhance the iPhone experience – 5MP camera, 0.3MP front-facing camera, LED flash, thinness (9.3mm), A4 processor, iOS 4 – but the display and built were the two most outstanding features. Even to this day, the iPhone 4 can still hold its own half a decade after its initial release.

The iPhone 4 was Apple at its best in innovation. Breaking the boundaries of design and technology, Apple forced smartphone makers into a direction that has influenced every smartphone out there right now. The iPhone 4 was a jewel among rocks before the golden era of smartphones.

Today you can buy a OnePlus X for $250 and it borrows heavily from the original iPhone 4 design. It’s essentially a clone. But that’s the beauty of competition; where Apple innovated, we are now lucky enough to reap the benefits of the market shifting towards cheaper smartphones with high end design. The customer always win when there is competition.

Peaking in 2010, iPhone innovation rapidly slowed down in the subsequent years. From the iPhone 4’s launch date in June, it took Apple over two years to increase the display size over 3.5 inches and over four years to improve the display quality, not to mention finally pushing beyond the 4 inch screen size.

How times have changed. The competition has surpassed the iPhone in every spec that is noteworthy, but specs don’t define a great smartphone – something even Android is discovering with its low end premium phones (OnePlus X, Nexus 5X, Moto X Pure). Apple still delivers great phones that just work, and it’s easy to see that with the amount of iPhones they continue to sell. But I look forward to the day Apple decides to pursue exploring new grounds in the smartphone world, and not just evolutionary improving an already great phone year to year.


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