June 24 2010|04.43 PM UTC

Erik Chang

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPhone 4

Category: WirelessTags: , ,

1. You Might Not Be Able to Make Calls

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You know how the joke goes. The iPhone is great for many things — except of course, for making calls. Forget network strain from AT&T and bad reception, word on the street is that “holding your iPhone 4 will degrade the reception and the cellular signal.” We’re not kidding. Checking further into this new phenomenon reveals that this may be an iOS 4 problem, making it a software issue instead of a hardware issue. Video from users across the web with the old iPhone 3G upgraded to iOS 4 shows that reception problem is now plaguing the old phone with the software update. Note to all non iPhone 4 users, you may want to wait a bit before you upgrade to iOS 4, let them work out all the potential kinks. (Update: Antenna problems are confirmed. Apparently some people are holding the phone the “wrong” way. But in all seriousness, Anandtech has an in-depth coverage of this issue along with a well-written review).

2. Your New iPhone 4 Comes With Free Yellow Spots

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Nope. We’re not shi*ting you. Your new iPhone 4 may come with yellow spots and/or bands across the screen. Thankfully, it appears to be residual left-over from a sealant/bonding agent that should disappear over time. Apparently Apple is shipping these units out so fast to meet with demand that some bondings aren’t completely sealed, thus showing up on screen. Apple support has stated that the residue from manufacturing should disappear within a couple of days, though some iPhone 4 owners are stating that the yellow spots/bands are still present (maybe they’re impatient Apple owners, word is that there just might be a few of them out there…). If you’re plagued with the yellow spot problem and the issue isnt resolved, you shouldn’t have any issue getting a replacement phone from Apple, though you should check if a unit is available before you take the phone back to the store.

3. AT&T’s Network Continues to Strain Under Load

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Imagine having the latest and greatest, only to have bandwidth and network speed issue when you’re using data on the phone. Without question, the iPhone 4 will be a successful product, the previous three generation has almost ensure this sure bet. But getting Apple’s latest will also mean another two year with AT&T, a network that has been heavily taxed through the past three year with heavy iPhone usage. Though Steve Jobs have often said that he firmly believes the issue will be replicated no matter the carrier Apple choose to go with, industry leaders begs to differ as Verizon has consistently shown their network to be stable and fast (course, this is a non-issue in Europe and Asia).  Let’s not forget AT&T’s recent removal of unlimited data plan, and going with the possibly more expensive tiered rates for data. If data is mission critical for your smartphone, you might want to opt with another network…

4. There Are Great Alternatives Out There

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Google’s Android-based smartphones has surpassed the iPhone during the first quarter of 2010 in terms of market share. It is now the second largest smartphone market in North America, right behind the slowly eroding BlackBerry from Research in Motion. Of course, this doesn’t suddenly mean that the iPhone is now out of the game, analysis expects that Apple and Google will trade heavy blows through the next few quarters as sales data are released, and to be fair, many Android-enabled phones are also given away in 2 for 1 deals at certain carriers.

Check out the Samsung Galaxy S comparison, the latest Android-powered phones stepping into the smartphone war!

Still, when you look at the latest generation of smartphones, there are plenty of alternatives. From the well-built Droid Incredible with better UI than previous Android phones, to the first WiMax 4G-enabled EVO 4G, to the venerable but open Nexus One. Not to mention the recently newly refreshed Droid X. Android phones are known to be open, flexible, and hackable. You may want to tether your newly minted iPhone 4 to your iPad, but due to “software limitation” as stated from Apple, it’s not going to happen  (after all, why would pay another $130 for a 3G version of the iPad if you can easily tether it to your iPhone). Making your phone into a mobile hospot for the iPad and seven other devices isn’t an issue though on the Droid Incredible or EVO 4G. Heck, the hotspot feature is free on the Palm Pre Plus (WebOS may not be completely dead yet, as hinted recently by HP).

Haters Gotta Hate?

There are definitely a few more reasons why you shouldn’t get an iPhone 4, but for every reason we can come up with, an Apple fanboy (or enthusiast)  can come up with 500 other reasons why you should. And often times they’ll be right. If you’re not a gung-ho Apple fan, and you just want a smartphone that fits your need, there is no doubt that you should shop around. This is a great time for gadget/smartphone lovers. Never before are there so many alternatives. Never before is the market so competitive. As competition continues to heat up across carriers, phone manufactures, and app developers, you can bet that the sure-winner in all of this are the customers.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Beagle June 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

I love it! It kills me when I see all the people standing in lines, shelling out top dollar, and selling their souls for another two years just to get this thing. Ugh.

Thanks for this. I got a couple of nice chuckles out of it even though I’ve heard all of these things, so sadly they’re true!


Anonymous June 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

They may be for the few that have these issues, but the vast majority don’t. The frequency of each issue is being exaggerated, and I can safely say that everyone I know that got an iPhone 4 hasn’t had a single issue that wasn’t carrier related.

PS I hate Apple and most of their overpriced products, but the iPhone is still the best of all worlds.


Melissa July 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I have an issue – I can’t get the stupid phone. I guess because of the slow production and high demand, I’ve been calling Apple stores, Radio Shacks, and AT&T stores for weeks and no one has phones OR knows when they’re going to get them in. I was excited about laying down my $300 for the phone, but as time wanes on, I get less and less excited – especially as I hear about more issues, and experience more problems with my iPhone 3G over the AT&T network. AT&T is literally dropping like every third call at this point for me.


iPwn4 June 26, 2010 at 12:04 am

Yawn. Same old droidbag bs. The call issue is hardly a problem as it’s likely a software issue that will be fixed Monday, and the yellow spots will also go away or you’ll get a free replacement. On the other hand, with Android, you start with an I’ll-designed device that you have to spend more time setting up and tweaking than actually using to do things. Plus, android phones are all butt-ugly by comparison. How about we make a deal? I’ll stop beating you up with Apple talking points and you do the same re: Android. This “news” story is just poorly executed propaganda for droid devices. You never see Apple people posting news stories about how ugly and unwieldy Android devices are. Give it a rest; we’ll leave you alone if you don’t poke at us.


one n900 to rule them all... June 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

But realy, how could we _not_ poke at you? Apple fanatics are simply an irresistable target because they are soooo easily triggered:-)


JOE Casino June 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I agree with IPwn4! The droid is ugly it looks cheap, stop hating throw your droid in the trash and buy an I Phone! YOu know you want too..


Marty July 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

Not really


Mr. Mustafa June 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I don’t wanna start some fanboy war over Android vs. iPhone 4, but Android definitely doesn’t suck. The Droid Incredible does look ugly, but the newer generation of Android looks to be sleeker. HD2 and EVO impress me, Galaxy S Pro (US version) looks pretty sleek, and HTC Hero looks sleek as well. Each side has their good points and bad points (iPhone with their app market and national reliability and Android with their customization and wide array of carriers), so no need to get hyped up. The EVO itself provides stiff competition with the back facing 8 megapixel camera vs. the 5 megapixel camera of the iPhone 4. The Qik app allows video calling PLUS live video streaming. The 4.3″ screen of the EVO vs. the 3.5″ screen of the iPhone 4. And the dual LED flash of the EVO vs. the single LED flash of the iPhone 4. But, iPhone has a higher resolution and bigger app market than the EVO, so no need to get worried I’m just circulating even more propaganda. I’m not a huge Apple fan, so I can’t come up with more praise for the iPhone, but both are equally good. Just saying and throwing in my two cents.


Ms. Penacolada July 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

Mr. Mustafa thank you! Finally someone said something worth listening to. I myself am a fan of Mac products (even though they are an arm and a leg) but I LOVE my new EVO 4G. No complaints here. Thank you for your two cents.


Anonymous June 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Is it just me, or is this article riddled with grammatical errors? For example, “Checking further…reveals that this may be a iOS 4’s problem, making it a software issue instead of a phone issue.” Also, “a gun-ho Apple fan” is probably a Gung Ho Apple fan–it’s an anglicized version of a Chinese motto meaning work together. Another example is, “you might want to opt with another network…”, which corrected would be “you might want to opt for another network.” Perhaps I’m being too harsh, but the article also seems to be filled with slight exaggerations, and while I realize the article is about why you shouldn’t buy an iPhone 4, it doesn’t even seem remotely impartial. Anyway it seems like you don’t have an editor, or if you do he isn’t doing his job, so my advice is to find an editor.


BillShrink Guy July 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Fixed. Thanks for spotting them!


B Anonymous June 30, 2010 at 6:26 am

I wouldn’t get an iPhone anyway. I don’t care if people say it’s awesome or it’s crap. Apple keeps coming out with this new stuff that’s just like other things.


Anonymous June 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I think that this EVO thing is just EVIL!!!!! They are fighting with Apple just to drag attention to themselves. They copied the iPhone in so many ways!
1. They have the same look (but iPhone looks better!)
2. They copied iPhone on the new flash thing
3. They put 2 cameras just like iPhone
4. They now do live Video Chat just like iPhone
5. The phone is more EXPENSIVE than the iPhone!!!!!!!!

Don’t let these Sprint cheapy liars get to you! They just copy the iPhone and TRY to make it look better! Think about, was there a phone that came out before iPhone that was touch-screen and had a few buttons??????? Plus, Android phones (like the EVO ‘EVIL’) is easy to hack into. Another thing, why do they call it the 4G just like the iPhone 4G?? Let me answer that: BECAUSE THEY ARE GOOD FOR NOTHING COPIERS AND THEY CAN’T THINK OF THEIR OWN PHONE DESIGN SO THE RUB-OFF ON THE IPHONE AND ON MAC, IF I WAS STEVE JOBS I WOULD BE PISSED OFF!!!

Don’t waist your time, get an iPhone THE ORIGINAL, THE BEST, THE EPIC IPHONE!!!!!!!!!!
So be quiet Sprint, stop dragging attention to yourself, it just makes you look like a loser!!!!!


Melissa July 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm

You do realize that flash, a front-facing camera, and video chat are all concepts that existed before the iPhone, right? I mean, Steve Jobs didn’t invent video chat, he just put it on his phone. Also, it’s called the 4G because it’s the next network – 2G, 3G…4G. The new Apple iPhone isn’t called the iPhone 4G anyway, it’s called the iPhone 4. AT&T doesn’t have a 4G network while Sprint claims to.


Alex X July 1, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Sheesh, 2 weeks ago, this same website had a perfectly well reasoned comparison here:

Then a crappy one like this is posted. As far as I can tell, few of the iPhones have the yellow spots (and if they do, they take it back to Apple or AT&T) and most people don’t have any worse reception with the iPhone4 than the iPhone3Gs (inasmuch as AT&T is capable). In fact, one of my friends gets great reception high in the Rocky Mountains where I have never ever been able to get a signal with my Verizon phone.

Droid and Apple seem like good competitors. Droid is for folks who like to mess with their phones and so far is on every network. Apple makes one that works easily for everyone else and is easy to sync/backup with Mac and PC users via iTunes. If/when iPhone is on Verizon, I am likely to consider getting one.

But this pointless blog post kinda ruined my opinion of this website. Way to go.


BillShrink Guy July 1, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Alex, sorry that it disappoint, but I personally thought some of the points were valid, especially considering the fact that you too are likelier to consider the iPhone if its available for use on Verizon instead of AT&T. I do agree that the yellow spot issue is a bit sensationalist, but the antenna problem is appearing to be more pronounce by the day. Though I’m also in the camp that the issue is very likely blown out of proportion by the media and blogs (and we’re guilty of that too), there really are some design & software issues. Anand’s in-depth review of the iPhone sums up the iPhone 4 antenna issue quite nicely:

The drop in signal from cupping the device with a case on is purely a function of us being “ugly bags of mostly water.” A material which happens to be pretty good at attenuating RF – thus increasing path loss between the handset and cellular base station. There’s nothing Apple nor anyone else can do to get around physics, plain and simple. It’s something which demonstrably affects every phone’s cellular reception.

Add in an external antenna you’re essentially forced to touch and bridge to another adjacent antenna while holding, and the signal attenuation is even worse. The fact of the matter is that either the most sensitive region of the antenna should have an insulative coating, or everyone should use a case. For a company that uses style heavily as a selling point, the latter isn’t an option. And the former would require an unprecedented admission of fault on Apple’s part.

The drop in signal from holding the phone with your left hand arguably remains a problem. Changing the bars visualization may indeed help mask it, and to be fair the phone works fine all the way down to -113 dBm, but it will persist – software updates can change physics as much as they can change hardware design. At the end of the day, Apple should add an insulative coating to the stainless steel band, or subsidize bumper cases. It’s that simple.


** REALITY CHECK ** July 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

wow …
every single one of you is directly indebted to Apple for creating products years ahead of any competitor & for creating a level of expectation of software quality, reliability and simplistic elegance. They are directly responsible for the competitions offerings & pulling the rest of the industry into the next century kicking & screaming.
if anyone of you think for a nano second that the rest of the thug/slug tech companies would be trying so hard, delivering so much just to claw and scratch to play ‘catch-up’ with Apple and that you are not directly benefiting tremendously from this then you are FACTUALLY delusional.
Lesson boys & girls: ‘Don’t dump where you eat’. Every slam you post & every customer that you sway from Apple means less speed in innovation & competition. These slow poke ‘ eh that’s good enough for consumers ‘ companies are loving your spite for Apple because it will mean the less & less they will ‘have to’ do for you. You want open source ? Well you got it. ( Everything you do is open to the NSA). While open source is an ideal it is also sometimes a mess & not the best way to incubate & grow a young product – one that you have a vision for. So far Apples vision of a smart phone is the vision everyone else is trying to copy. Movies, like any other product, that are made by comity almost always end up only enjoyed by unsophisticated young teens, everyone else wants to gag. Apple makes adult products that are inspired, refined & sophisticated. And while were at it lets be perfectly honest here – you know your doing something right when you attract so many deeply jealous haters. But why the defensive, jealous responses? Because Apple doesn’t want or need you to play with them – i.e. your tech knowledge is effectively ‘neutered’ like obnoxious children vying for adult attention but the adults won’t let them into the conversation because it’s of no value. And that’s what’s going on here ignorant resentment and sniveling, open source sniveling.
Counter intuitive to Open Source theory, the fact is, by buying Apple you assure yourself of a market of fierce competition & innovation which benefits you most.


t09 September 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Your post is full of hypocrisy. Any company can become sluggish to consumers needs when it reaches critical mass. People will run away from such companies and find better technology “providers”. Some time ago a lot of market fled Microsoft because of Apple’s product simplicity. And now the story is repeating itself. Apple has become the fat giant and showed it by releasing iP4. In these days of globalization and low cost electronics open source became possible. Open source IS the future and it will oppose any company that starts “slaving” it’s users; too bad Apple gets to feel that most.


laughing still December 14, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Wow why do people feel the need to defend apple so much. If its the all god of invention and inspiration then why write a 5 page mindless dribble about your personal beliefs. You didn’t leave anyway for to check your statement. So far the apple tards have convinced me not to buy Apple at all. If you don’t like to customize get an Iphone. Oh yeah its Iphone 4 not 4g lmao. 4g is the network. I think Iphones are apperantly for people that can’t do much for themselves. In laymen terms.Iphone is for the not so bright.


Bob August 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I will not give a cent to a company feels it should decide what developers and customers should have access to.

You truly must be foolish to support a system which is taking AWAY your freedoms.

Open source must be the future and must be supported or we will lose everything we love about the net. Apple is taking us down a very dark road.

Volkswagen may have been a great car in 1935, but what were you really buying?


t09 September 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm

- Apple
- Apple
’nuff said


Vincent December 15, 2010 at 5:40 am

What exactly can an iPhone do that other phones with e-mail and apps can’t do? In the end all these brands and carriers come out with the same technology. Wow, thanks Apple, for being years ahead of the others. Ooohh, fancy. Rich techie people who hate Microsoft found their grail. Excellent.
First Blackberry had the best email, and perhaps they still do, but you can get email on any phone now. It only took a year for everyone to catch up when it comes to push. Apps? Every smartphone can download now, though about 95% of the vast number of apps are a total waste of time and money. People rave about Droids because you can “root” and “ROM” these systems to make it “faster”. It’s only a small obsessed fanboy sect that is going to these extremes with smartphones.
What does an average person need? Text and maybe a calender, possibly some email and good call quality. Any phone is good enough if it doesn’t break before the two year contract is up. It allc omes down to aesthetics and personal preference.


Tallin August 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Ya learn smohetnig new everyday. It’s true I guess!


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