My initial experiences with the iPhone 4.
Launch events for Apple products aren’t exactly a big deal in Dubai, especially considering this region gets most of the latest stock a couple months after launch in the US. What this means is that a lot of the hardcore fans will usually import their Apple gadgets from the US well before the official launch here, so it was a pleasant surprise to see a small queue in front of the du shop in Ibn Battuta Mall as I made my way to pick up an iPhone 4 yesterday afternoon.
Of course, the pleasant surprise turned to mild annoyance pretty quick as my wait turned out to be 50 minutes in line, for what should have been a quick grab in and get out job. Once at the counter, the kind lady there says that there are no white iPhone 4s available in the region at all, that they will be shipped some time later. Disappointed, I finally settled for the standard black one. Admiring the piano black finish on my shiny new mobile (I had to!) along with du’s Elite Super 100 plan pack, I excitedly head out to do some grocery shopping.
Five hours later I finally get home, insert the micro-sim and startup the iPhone 4 to be greeted with the “Connect to iTunes” screen. This used be a major pain in the neck back when I had a jailbroken iPhone (2G), but yesterday I readily plugged it in and immediately my iPhone 4 is registered and unlocked for use! A quick access to my Gmail Contacts list upon startup in iTunes and I don’t have to worry about adding any number in the new sim. I quickly check the iPhone 4 to see a full 3G signal in my house (JLT) and started downloading the Facebook and Twitter apps.
A minute later I tweet to the world from my iPhone 4 via 3G, felt really good if I do say so myself. As I made a quick call to my sister in UK, I noticed the FaceTime icon in the options menu on the call screen, something I was really excited to try out. Sadly my sister doesn’t have an iPhone 4, so this feature will have to wait for a bit. Afterwards I see a small notification in iTunes saying that I should upgrade to firmware v4.1 (the iPhone 4 originally came with 4.0.2) so I decided to go ahead and do it.
I’m excitedly going over to the camera to check out the HDR options and registering myself on Game Center as soon as the update was done. After adding a couple of friends on Game Center I get a call from one of them, and I notice that little icon for FaceTime is gone from the options menu. He basically called me to tell me that v4.1 disables FaceTime from iPhone 4s in this region.
So after some prolonged swearing I calmed down a little, especially after reading this news. Perhaps there’s still hope of seeing my family and friends on FaceTime one day. In the meanwhile I’m looking into some of the other new features that make the iPhone 4 still worth the money despite the lack of FaceTime. Multitasking was fun, but ultimately felt unnecessary; the iPhone 4 is pretty damn quick with all of the apps. More interesting was playing around with the HD video recording and trying out Espgaluda II and Chaos Rings which ran butter smooth on the powerful new hardware.
All in all, I’m really happy with both the iPhone 4 (despite FaceTime) and du’s Elite Super 100 plan which allows me to use the phone without any headaches. I was especially grateful when I downloaded iBooks and tried out a couple of samples while stuck in traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road as the police cleared out the road accident. Probably someone who got distracted on the phone while driving. Drive safe people!