iPhone 4… 10 Years Later – 2020 Review

Published on July 1, 2020
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Stop me if you’ve already seen this believe me you ain’t seen it you’ve got to see this thing in person it is one of the most beautiful designs you’ve ever seen [Music] the iphone 4 is 10 years old and it’s been quite the journey innovation controversy this phone has had it all hey how’s it going i’m josh from 91 tech and in 2014 i made my first ever tech video on the channel reviewing the iphone 4. it wasn’t a very good video but somehow it managed to hit 20 000 views and because of that making youtube videos suddenly seemed like a possibility for me this phone that my uncle gave to me for free back in 2013 is the reason i have a youtube channel today and that it’s my job somehow and i’m eternally grateful for that this is my seventh yearly review on this phone but i want to make this one a little bit different it’s hard to express the significance of this device and how it’s impacted technology over the past 10 years so today we’re not gonna just talk about how the phone performs in 2020 because you know it doesn’t perform well this is an old phone it’s quite frankly completely obsolete and that’s not a surprise but i want to talk about some of the background and context behind this phone because the story of it is actually one of the most insane of any apple story ever if you want to skip ahead and just hear me review the phone i’ll have timestamps in the description but without further ado let’s rewind our clocks and go back to 2010 but not quite june gray powell was a young apple software engineer working on an iphone baseband software which is what allows the iphone to make calls everything was going great for grey even though he grew up with the name gray which must have been difficult at least until march 18th when he went to a bar to celebrate his birthday at the bar gray was on his prototype iphone 4 using facebook and it was disguised to look like the iphone 3gs so nobody would know now this sounds pretty standard i’m sure apple employees do this often bring their phone out into the wild except gray might have had a little bit too much to drink because he forgot the iphone 4 and left it on the stool naturally someone found it and tried to find the owner but failed because gray was already gone so the person brought it home and the next morning realized a few odd things first the phone no longer turned on as apple had remotely bricked it using mobileme this is a bit of a throwback as everything is icloud now but yeah mobileme used to be a thing anyways the finder found a few other odd things as well like there was a front-facing camera the 3gs doesn’t have a front-facing camera so this was clearly strange after tinkering with the phone he was able to open it up and find that there was a whole different phone inside the outer shell and of course it was the iphone 4. he tried contacting apple about it but of course no one took him seriously so finally he ended up selling it to the tech news site gizmodo for 5 grand and so gizmodo ran a story on it and that’s how the iphone 4 was leaked months before it ever was announced the magnitude of this leak can’t be understated apple has always been extremely tight on security possibly even more so back in the steve jobs days than now after all we see tons of leaks every year on the new iphone but this hadn’t really been the case at least the extent it is now back in 2010. iphones back then were a lot more locked down people didn’t really know what to expect i think the rise of social media and the internet in general has really made it harder for apple to protect their phones from leaks and other companies same thing but regardless this was a huge deal when it happened ray powell believe it or not was actually never fired although it’s difficult to tell if he’s still working for apple as his linkedin seems to say he only worked there until 2017 so i don’t know if it just hasn’t been updated or if he actually doesn’t work there anymore regardless it was a once in a lifetime mistake and one really anybody could make which is likely why he never got fired apple and steve jobs were furious with gizmodo though the site that published the story and actually pursued criminal action for possession of stolen property and extortion although nothing came of it apparently the editors of gizmodo were extremely juvenile according to the district attorney at the time stephen wagstaff they had seized their computers and were looking at their correspondence and apparently it was very obvious that they were extremely angry with apple for not inviting them to events and that they were just overall really unprofessional according to steven they talked like 15 year old children and that’s an actual quote they talked about how they had apple right where they wanted them and it was obvious that this whole thing was a malicious move on their part and while i don’t blame them for publishing the article on it they did pay 5 grand for what was essentially stolen property before the iphone 4 was even out it had already made waves and in a way this did benefit apple after all they say no publicity is bad publicity apple definitely wasn’t happy the phone was leaked but it did certainly stir up a lot of interest and excitement as the iphone 4 looked like something people had never seen before how was it different from older iphones well i think that’s a good segue to talk about the design of the iphone 4 and how it stood out from the entire tech industry in the best way possible this is beyond the doubt one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever made and the precision of which this is made is is beyond any consumer product we’ve ever seen [Music] the fourth generation iphone features a glass front and back sandwiching a stainless steel frame this is easily one of the most iconic tech designs of all time and there’s a reason it came back with the 2017 iphone 10 more or less apple switched to aluminum in 2012 with the iphone 5 then back to glass and stainless steel with the 10. that was one of the things i was most excited about when i originally got the iphone 10 that it looked so similar to the iphone 4 and 4s and of course with the new iphone coming out in 2020 supposedly it’s going back to the old boxy design so that is pretty cool we only had two color options here white or black as was customary back in these days when it came to iphones the white color actually has some history behind it it wasn’t available immediately at launch and almost didn’t even happen until the 4s essentially having white glass was apparently much harder than apple expected and caused a whole boatload of issues which resulted them pushing it back 10 whole months that’s absolutely nuts this was also the first iphone to have white bezels surrounding the display and let’s look at that display as it was easily the most important feature this phone brought the iphone 4 has a 3.5 inch retina display with a resolution of 960×640 and pixel density of 326 pixels per inch this might sound like random numbers but basically this was by and far the best screen on any smartphone up to that point phones at this time looked blurry and the iphone 4 finally made it crisp there were no visible pixels and because of that it’s held up really well even to today now you might be thinking that’s got to be an exaggeration right there’s no way that this display still looks good compared to phones today well you’d be wrong for perspective it has the same pixel density as the iphone 10r and 11. two phones that are still being sold by apple for 600 and 700 respectively obviously there are key differences you know phones are much bigger now and you know apple has improved the screen in other ways such as true tone but still it’s amazing that the iphone 4 even comes close to holding out compared to these very expensive phones but the iphone 4 is tiny in comparison to most devices today the closest on the apple side being the 2020 iphone sc that has a 4.7 inch display the next year’s 4s would be the last phone to keep that small 3.5 inch screen the home button below the display there is notable due to the large amount of issues that spawned from it it would often get stuck and stopped clicking properly which meant you had to use a workaround with accessibility mode and that was no fun also while i do love the glass on the back glasses glass and glass cracks as a result it felt more common to see a cracked iphone 4 than one that wasn’t i guess you could say the glass wasn’t all it was cracked up to be yeah the cracked glass was probably a big reason apple switched to aluminum with the iphone 5. i’d say this is one of the best looking smartphone designs of all time but it certainly isn’t winning any awards for durability the 2011 4s shared an identical design with one key difference in the cellular band placement the iphone 4 had an antenna band right there beside the headphone jack on the top whilst the 4s moved it to the side it’s also worth mentioning that cdma models of the iphone 4 as opposed to the gsm models put the antennas on the side and also had no sim tray which is interesting this might sound unnecessarily complex and to be fair it kind of is but it’s important because it leads to the reason for antennagate which was really apple’s first big iphone controversy and would remain the king until bendigate with the iphone 6 four years later basically the band placement resulted in dropped calls being a very common issue i remember my dad actually having a lot of trouble with that back in the day i was super excited when my dad got the iphone 4. he got it through his work i think and before he had blackberry which in comparison seemed so boring and obsolete the iphone was a whole new world and my young mind was blown but anyways yeah antenna gate was bad it was a very very horrible oversight on apple’s part and they absolutely deserved to be called out for it while they did fix things eventually it still resulted in a very unpleasant experience for some users and that’s disappointing coming from an otherwise fantastic smartphone battery life certainly isn’t any good 10 years after release and in all fairness it was never that great to begin with small phone means small battery and because of that there’s no way anyone could get a full day’s use out of this thing anymore if you need to use it for some reason i hope you’re keeping a charger nearby because you’ll need it speaking of which on the bottom of the phone is the 30 pin charging port apple had been using these for years even with their ipods so this was totally expected back in 2010 in 2012 they would of course switch to lightning and at the time people were actually very against that because it meant they had to buy new chargers of course now the reverse is true if you want to boot up your old iphone 4 you’re gonna have to go through your junk drawer and try to find one of the old chargers the design of the iphone 4 is the best thing about the phone without a doubt it’s not a stretch to say it was revolutionary when it came out and set up every future iphone over the next decade it just brought premium design to an entirely new level you might not like every single iphone design that’s come out since the iphone 4 but besides the 5c i don’t think there’s much question of the quality apple has put into each of their products except also maybe the iphone 6 that definitely could have been better when steve jobs pulled out this phone you could tell he was excited about it i’m not sure if he fully realized at the time the impact iphones would have throughout the rest of the 2010s but there’s no question that the iphone 4 was a large part of that everybody loves to talk about things that are very tangible when it comes to photography like megapixels but we tend to ask the question how do we make better pictures back in 2010 another huge improvement was the camera or actually cameras not only did we have a selfie camera for the first time but the rear sensor also added hdr and of course could take significantly better photos than the 3gs of course the next year’s iphone 4s completely outclasses it but for the time the iphone 4 was top of the line the iphone 4 boasts a 5 megapixel rear camera sensor that can take some pixelated grainy photos obviously these haven’t aged well at all i don’t think that it’s much of a surprise given it’s 10 years old but hey at least you can tell what’s happening in each photo there’s almost a bit of nostalgia i have attached to older photos like this it brings me back to a simpler time when people didn’t care about how great the camera was just that it had a camera and could capture moments and memories compared to the iphone 11 pro max and you can really see how much things have progressed it’s not a fair fight but there’s no question that we’re lucky to have such advanced photography tech in our pockets at all times i think a lot of us including me really take that for granted the iphone 4 was also the first iphone to be able to record hd video in 720p this is pretty awful now and it does look its age but that’s okay i don’t think anyone is going around trying to film things with the iphone 4 anymore the selfie camera though this was the first one on any ios device and well pictures from it look like they came from the first selfie camera on any ios device it shoots 0.3 megapixel vga quality photos i always found it funny apple purposely put vga quality on their site like it was a good thing but hey the selfie camera in conjunction with facetime was immensely impressive to users back in 2010 and it’s led to video conferencing eventually being the ideal way of communication 10 years later even if the circumstances for that aren’t exactly positive the iphone 4 is powered by the a4 chip apple’s a4 chip this is a chip designed by our own team they are really good and this is wonderful to have in an iphone at apple’s recent keynote it was officially announced that max would be switching over to arm processors as in the ones that they have in iphones and ipads this is a huge deal and a very big blow to intel especially with amd doing as well as they have in recent years it was briefly mentioned in the keynote how apple has improved year over year and it just so happens the first custom processor they made came with the iphone 4 in the form of the a4 chipset this along with 512 megabytes of ram made the iphone 4 quite the beast in 2010. as sad as it is half a giga ram really wasn’t that much less than most netbooks at the time and uh yeah you remember netbooks those were way too common 10 years ago and they were awful and yeah anyways iphones are now shipping with like four gigabytes of ram and androids have unnecessarily large heaps of ram the s20 ultra goes up to 16 gigs which is more than most people probably have in their computers obviously it’s completely overkill but it does give some perspective on how things have changed in the past 10 years and suffice to say the iphone 4 doesn’t perform well anymore and it really hasn’t performed well since the ios 6 days ios 7 and 2013 initially decimated the user experience everything was sluggish leggy and just a pain to use on a regular basis however ios 7.1 did speed things up quite a bit and what we’re left with is still a very slow phone that isn’t great but hey it could also be worse like the iphone 4s on ios 9 for example you think the iphone 4 is bad try the 4s it’s awful but even by 2014 or so most iphone 4 users including myself were about ready for an upgrade so i personally ended up going to the 5c from my review back in the day and from what i remember it was slow but it worked and honestly got the job done i could take pictures play games and do anything a 14 year old would want to do with a smartphone this isn’t exactly the best example of longevity when it comes to the iphone line but if anything i think it shows how fast hardware was progressing in the early 2010s the 2013 iphone 5s is only three years newer than the four but it is so far ahead in terms of technical specs it’s kind of insane only double the ram but with the 64-bit a7 chipset it got support all the way until late 2019 with ios 12. if you were to try to use the iphone 4 in 2020 you wouldn’t have a good time initially i wanted to actually use this phone for a whole week before the 10th anniversary but i ended up dropping that idea why uh would you want to live with the iphone 4 for a week this is a very obsolete phone and while you can manage some of the basics you really really can’t use this phone anymore or i shouldn’t use this phone anymore let’s talk about the good imessage works facetime works you can make phone calls it could be used as a music player maybe if you have an old docking station or something the bad it’s super super slow latest compatible versions of apps are completely outdated and often broken trying to watch youtube or netflix or whatever seems borderline impossible it’s so slow the phone might be slow but the design actually isn’t that much removed from ios today ios 7 still looks fairly modern seeing it really doesn’t scream old which is a big contrast to ios 6 and below if it weren’t for the small display and home button someone off the street probably wouldn’t even realize this wasn’t the current version that speaks to how well this thing holds up in both design as well as the os even if performance is still a rough spot if you have one of these lying around and want to mess with it jailbreaking is always an option it’s easy and personally i find it pretty fun to do plus it could be a good intro into jailbreaking your current iphone the community is as large and active as ever but cydia hasn’t really changed much so using it on the iphone 4 actually will give you a good idea of what it’s like currently so that is the iphone 4 and we think it’s the biggest leap we’ve taken since the original iphone we’re really proud of it and uh i think you’ll agree there’s more to it than met the eye the legacy of the iphone 4 lives on today as strong as ever and the design and the process behind each and every iphone there’s no question that steve jobs was one of the greatest innovators who ever lived and it’s comforting to know that despite his passing the passion and commitment behind his devices still does have an impact on modern apple even if it doesn’t always feel like it people constantly talk about how different apple would be if jobs was still around and that very well could be the case but what people don’t seem to think about is what if jobs hadn’t been around in the first place everything apple is about now stems one way or another back to the founder and while he might be gone his influence remains innovation and change will always continue and that’s a good thing i don’t know if i have the words to conclude this video properly and so i think a quirk word from steve jobs could be a good fit my entire life’s been spent only in one industry which is this one and but i’ve been in it now for about 15 years and i’ve seen a lot of people make a lot of things i’ve seen a lot of people fail a lot of things and my my point of view on this or my observation is that the doers are the major thinkers uh the people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker doer in one person and if we really go back and we examine you know did leonardo have a guy off to the side that was thinking five years out in the future what he would paint or the technology he would use to paint it of course not leonardo was the artist but he also mixed all his own paints he also was a fairly good chemist knew about pigments knew about human anatomy and combining all of those skills together the art and the science the thinking and the doing was what resulted in the exceptional result and there is no difference in our industry the people that have really made the contributions have been the thinkers and the doers and when you when you uh a lot of people of course it’s very easy to take credit for the thinking the doing is more concrete but somebody it’s very easy for somebody say oh i thought of this three years ago but uh usually when you dig a little deeper you find that the people that really did it were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual problems as well what i would have given to have five minutes to talk to jobs it would have been amazing it’s like they say don’t be sad it’s over be glad it happened nearly every single person on earth right now has been affected by steve jobs in one way or another and the iphone 4 was just one of the many projects he was passionate about if you’re watching this you were impacted by steve jobs the first personal computer with a graphical interface the first computer with the mouse the first good smartphone the first good tablet steve jobs wasn’t always first but he was nearly always best at what he did this is definitely different from my typical content but i wanted to do something a little bit special for the 10th anniversary of the iphone 4 and i don’t think there’s any better way to do that than to honor steve jobs memory there’s really no better example in modern history of how one person can completely change the world technology makes the world go round and it’s in large part because of steve jobs from a university dropout and working in his parents garage to how we remember him today the tale of steve jobs is an inspiring one and maybe one to think about when we feel unmotivated or useless because we’re not we’re human and we have the ability to make change in not only our lives but the lives of others the iphone 4 was a great phone and it’s led to more great phones it was spectacular in 2010 and while it doesn’t hold up very well 10 years later no one expected it to it’s just enjoyable to appreciate the novelty of the device and the revolutionary features it brought with the design a4 chipset and retina display but with that i think i’ve taken enough of your time today did you ever have the iphone 4 what was your first smartphone let me know in the comments down below if you found this video interesting maybe hit that like button and consider subscribing for more content just like this you can follow me over on twitter and instagram 91 underscore tech and we have a discord as well that you should definitely check out thank you so much for watching this was a fun video to make and i hope to make more similar to it in the future i’m josh from 91 tech and i will see you all next time.
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