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iPhone 4 launches in the UK

Another new ShinyPhone from Apple, the iPhone 4, hit the UK streets in June 2010, surrounded as ever, by lots of hype, queues and disappointment. Here's our first look at the iPhone 4

iPhone 3GS on Vodafone

iPhone 4 UK launch

The iPhone 4 launched on Thursday, 24 June 2010 in a number of different countries including the UK. Within three days, 1.7 million iPhone 4 handsets were sold. This is far in excess of the number estimated, and makes for the most successful launch of any Apple product ever. We took an early look at the iPhone 4 in our audio special, recorded a couple of days after launch.

MicrophoneListen to our iPhone 4 Launch Special and hands-on review!

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As expected, many Apple fans camped out overnight, waiting to get their hands on the new shiny toy from Apple. Many UK high street stores ran out within minutes of opening, and those that received a decent volume of handsets quickly gathered long queues, with many unhappy customers unable to buy a phone on the day.

iPhone 4 queues


About the iPhone 4

So what's so special about the iPhone 4?

iPhone in Pete's hand

  • Screen: The new Retina Display, as it's called, has four times the pixel count of the iPhone 3GS making the screen stunningly sharp and crisp.

  • Battery: Battery life has been improved, as a result of including a larger battery and swapping over to the smaller micro SIM card.

    Micro-SIM card

  • Camera: Several improvements including an upgraded five megapixel camera with an LED flash, as well as improved zoom. The iPhone 4 is also capable of recording HD video, and with a small application from the App Store can also edit video on the device itself, prior to uploading online.

  • Video calling: When you look at the iPhone 4 for the first time, you may notice a small window, just to the left of the earpiece. This allows for video call functionality using something called Apple FaceTime. Video calling uses a front facing camera on a mobile phone and many devices have had this functionality for some time. Apple has finally caught up, but all is not rosy. FaceTime can only be used a WiFi connection. Additionally, it's only possible to make a video call with other iPhone 4 devices.

Much of the other functionality is now available to iPhone 3GS users as a result of the upgrade to iOS 4 for that occurred on 21 June 2010. Most notable of these is the ability for the iPhone to multitask, allowing you to run third-party applications in the background. If you are running iOS4, double-tap the Home button to see the new multitasking view.

Other recent changes include a unified inbox, the ability to group applications in folders, and a three-plane gyroscope is now built into the iPhone 4. As far as we know, there's nothing that yet makes use of this gyroscope, but no doubt three-dimensional gameplay is just around the corner via applications in the App Store.

iPhone 4 in Pete's hand again


Buying the iPhone 4:

The way the iPhone 4 is sold is slightly different to previous iPhone releases. As the iPhone is no longer exclusive to the O2 network, you can now buy the iPhone at 02, Vodafone, Orange, 3, and the supermarket chain Tesco.

Tesco Mobile LogoWorthy of note is the Tesco deal. They are offering the only 12 month contract (most other deals are either 18 or 24 months contract is). With Tesco, you can pick up an iPhone 4 on a £20 per month contract, with a 1GB monthly data allowance, and with unlimited WiFi and texts. Handset price is £349 for the 16Gig version. The handset is cheaper on other networks, for example, £209, with O2, however, with O2. you'd pay £30 a month and be tied to at least an 18 month contract. Given that Apple tend to bring out a new device at least once a year, frequent upgraders may well want to pay a little more for their handset upfront for the convenience of a shorter contact. Details at

A word of warning for those upgrading on o2 - Previously, the iPhone came with unlimited data. Now, that's dropped to a limit of 500 Meg a month. Not ideal, especially if you use your iPhone as a sat nav device, or for mapping using Waze.


Listen to our iPhone 4 Launch Special!

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Problems with the iPhone 4

Some of the lucky 1.7 million that were able to get their hands on the new iPhone 4, quickly started reporting some problems with the device. Largest of these seems to relate to the phone's ability to keep a good signal.

Many report that when holding the device, signal strength drops making calling tricky and causing problems with data connectivity as well. It transpires that the problem is to do with the way some users are holding their phones. On the bottom left hand side of the iPhone 4, there's a line - this indicates where the antenna lives. If this comes into contact with a hand, the signal can be reduced.

Apple's rather helpful advice, is to suggest that users may be holding the phone incorrectly. The problem is especially bad for left-handed people, as the ball of the thumb conveniently covers the troublesome area on the phone. Apple, is reportedly working on a quick fix to make some changes in software to at least partially resolve this matter.

As well as the well reported, antenna and signal strength problem, some users have also reported problems with screen, notably yellow spots on the screen. Some also reported that the new glass screen is far more prone to scratches.

Additionally, some users have reported that the proximity sensor that detects whether the phone is up against your face, is problematic. When the device is held against your face, the screen functionality is meant to be disabled to prevent accidental keypresses, but this is not happening for some, causing the calls to drop.

No doubt we can expect a patch to 4.01 any time soon to lessen the effect of some of the reported iPhone 4 troubles.


Recycle your old iPhone:

We've found one site offering up to £270 off an old iPhone - Go to to check for the best price offered by the various recycling firms


EnigmaTAG bottleKeep it safe

Got a valuable iPhone? Keep it safe with a dollop of EnigmaTAG, the unique property marking solution that we looked at in our Gadget Show Live Special.

More details: EnigmaTAG Protection


Got a question on the Apple iPhone 4 that we can answer in the next show? Call 020 8133 4567 or send us a message


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