iPhone

Apple iPhone 4 review: Everything you need to know

Apple's iPhone 4 has sold like gangbusters, but how well does it measure up from an IT and business perspective? Here is TechRepublic's review.

Apple's iPhone 4 has sold like gangbusters, but how well does it measure up from an IT and business perspective? Here is TechRepublic's review.

Rather than overwhelming you with a long narrative, TechRepublic product reviews give IT and business professionals exactly the information they need to evaluate a product, along with plenty of photos, a list of competing products, and links to more information. You can find more reviews like this one on our Product Spotlight page.

Specifications

  • Carrier: AT&T Wireless
  • OS: Apple iOS 4
  • CPU: Apple A4
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 16GB or 32GB; no expansion slot
  • Display: 3.5-inch 960x640 pixels; 326 ppi
  • Battery: Lithium-ion 1420 mAh
  • Charger: Apple Ultracompact USB Power Adapter
  • Weight: 0.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 4.5(h) x 2.3(w) x 0.37(d) inches
  • Camera: 5MP with LED flash and video recording; plus a new front-facing camera
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, GPS, digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor
  • Keyboard: Virtual QWERTY keyboard only
  • Networks: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM and UMTS; Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Tethering: USB
  • Price: $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB (with 2-year contract)

Photo gallery

Ultimate iPhone 4 gallery: Unboxing, comparisons, and screenshots

Who is it for?

Three types of business users are well-suited to the iPhone: 1.) Workers who are intimidated by technology and have not had good luck with other smartphones such as BlackBerry or Windows Mobile in the past; 2.) Executives who want the iPhone not just for corporate mail and calendar but also for multimedia (iPod/iTunes) and reading (Kindle/B&N/iBooks) because they spend a lot of time on the road; and 3.) Technophiles who are into the power of digital information and can use the iPhone's massive selection of apps to enhance personal productivity.

What problems does it solve?

Since its debut in 2007, the iPhone has transformed the smartphone category, leading smartphones to become much more accessible to use, much more touch-screen dominant, and far more Web-centric. But, last year's iPhone 3GS was only an incremental upgrade from 2008's iPhone 3G -- the device that brought the iPhone to the masses and to the enterprise with the introduction of Exchange support and third party applications.

However, the iPhone has been stagnant for two years, and in that time Google Android emerged as a fierce competitor. Since Google released Android 2.0 in October 2009, there have been four Android devices that have been big hits - the Motorola Droid, the Google Nexus One, the HTC Incredible, and the HTC EVO 4G. Each device has advanced the Android platform another step forward and produced features that have outpaced the iPhone, such as processor power, display, camera, OS widgets, and more.

So the biggest issue the iPhone 4 solves is to bring its platform up to speed with the rest of the leading smartphones of 2010.

Standout features

  • Next-generation display - The most remarkable feature of the iPhone 4 is its new "Retina" display, as Apple calls it. That's mostly a marketing term, but the screen itself has a resolution of 960x640 and has set a new standard in screen quality. The first smartphone screen that really impressed me was the Google Nexus One with its 3.7-inch AMOLED. The iPhone 4 is even better, as photos look very bright and sharp, and text looks as good as a page printed from a high quality laser printer.
  • 3.5G bandwidth - As I wrote on Friday, the iPhone 4 can effectively double 3G bandwidth compared to the iPhone 3G. That's because Apple upgraded the hardware in the iPhone 3GS in 2009 to support HSDPA and then upgraded the iPhone 4 to support HSUPA as well. These upgrades mean the iPhone 4 can theoretically reach speeds of up to 7.2Mbps for downloads and 5.8Mbps for uploads. While those kinds of speeds aren't likely, I was surprised to discover that the iPhone 4 has topped out at 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up in some of my initial speed tests. Previously, with the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS, the maximum speeds that I was able to get were typically about 1.5Mbps down and 250K up.
  • Platform versatility - The iPhone is arguably the most versatile smartphone on the market. It's like a digital Swiss Army Knife that can replace multiple single-function tools. Much of that is due to the fact that there are over 200,000 iPhone apps available, which shows how many different ways developers have morphed the platform to serve a wide of variety of functions. But, there's also the solid camera and photo editing software (more on that in a minute), the e-reader applications from multiple vendors (including Amazon's Kindle and Apple's own iBooks), and the iTunes integration for managing a digital entertainment library that was likely started years ago with an iPod for many users. Throw in a navigation app from a company like Tom Tom and suddenly the iPhone 4 can effectively serve the function of five devices: smartphone, digital camera, MP3 player, e-reader, and GPS.
  • Camera capabilities - The iPhone camera has never been the market leader in megapixels for a camera phone. But, Apple has consistently put a decent sensor into the iPhone, which has allowed it to take solid pictures with a large depth of field when outdoors and in well-lit settings indoors. When you add that to quick photo editing apps like Photoshop Mobile, Photogene, and Best Camera (plus panorama apps like Pano) then you have a fast, always-available solution for Web photos. Apple has upped the game with the iPhone 4 by adding a larger sensor and lens, upping the camera to 5MP, and adding an LED flash. There's also a new front-facing camera that, combined with Apple's FaceTime software, provides a glimpse of what the future of mobile video calling will look like. This may sound like a consumer-only feature, but many professionals put smartphone cameras to use for business purposes as well.
  • iOS 4 - Apple's latest mobile operating system introduces a ton a new features, most notably multi-tasking, app folders, and tethering. The new features keep iOS a step ahead of Android in terms of its overall polish and ease-of-use, but Android still has some advantages, especially its widgets.

What's wrong?

  • Disappointing battery life - Leading up to the official iPhone 4 announcement at Apple's WWDC 2010 I noted that the biggest thing Apple needed to fix with the iPhone in order to make it a better business tool was its battery life. Based on the fact that the iPhone's cousin, the iPad, has excellent battery life in the real world and that the iPhone 4 was getting the same Apple A4 processor as the iPad, I was guardedly optimistic that the iPhone 4 could improve the situation. However, while others such as Engadget have reported major battery life improvements, I have not experienced any significant improvements. In fact, in my tests the iPhone 4 has roughly the same battery performance as the iPhone 3GS and similar performance to most of the popular Android devices. None of these devices can make it through an entire business day of heavy use.
  • Inconsistent AT&T network (U.S.) - One of the most anticipated customer hopes for the iPhone 4 was that it would no longer be an exclusive to AT&T in the US, but would also be available on Verizon Wireless and other carriers. While numerous countries now have the iPhone available on multiple wireless providers, US residents remained locked into AT&T as their only option. While AT&T works great in many parts of the country (PCMag recently named AT&T the fastest wireless network in the US), it does not do well in areas where there are large concentrations of iPhone users, especially San Francisco and New York City. Whether it's the iPhone itself or AT&T or both, the iPhone also tends to drop more phone calls than other phones so if you need your smartphone to make a lot of business calls then you'll probably want to select a different smartphone and a different network.
  • Apple ecosystem lock-in - As I mentioned in my review of the iPad for business, the fact that you have to connect the device to iTunes in order to do several things is very distasteful to corporate IT. The same holds true for the iPhone 4.
  • Antenna problems - Some users have reported problems with the iPhone 4's reception when holding it with the left hand. At the iPhone 4 launch announcement, Steve Jobs played up the fact that the iPhone 4 changed the location of its antennas by integrating them into the metal side plates of the phone, and implied that this could improve the performance of the device. This could be contributing to the improved 3G speeds, but it may also be causing problems, especially for people who hold the device with the left hand. I have not been able to replicate the reported problem, but I am right-handed and I'm using one of Apple's Bumper cases, which is said to counter-act the problem. There may also be a forthcoming software fix to address the antenna problem, but it remains an issue to watch.

Bottom line for business

The iPhone 4 does much of the same stuff that the iPhone platform was already good at - provide excellent ease of use, serve as a digital Swiss Army Knife, and offer a large ecosystem of applications to extend the product in many useful ways. However, the iPhone 4 kicks it up a few notches with its ground-breaking new display, dual cameras, improved bandwidth capacity, and iOS 4 improvements such as multi-tasking and app folders.

As with previous versions of the product, it's still bogged down by the AT&T Wireless network in some places and it's still just as locked into the Apple ecosystem. While that will cause some consumers and businesses to choose BlackBerry or Android, I doubt it will slow down the iPhone's overall momentum. There were already 40% of iPhone sales coming from businesses and companies like UBS may have large numbers of users moving from BlackBerry to iPhone.

While the iPhone 4 doesn't introduce a lot of new business functionality, it succeeds at refining the existing product and that will likely be enough to continue to win over enterprise users from legacy products built on BlackBerry, Nokia, or Windows Mobile.

For instant analysis of tech news, follow my Twitter feed: @jasonhiner

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About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

92 comments
Jason Mier
Jason Mier

You can get up to 7 hours of talk time on 3G (14 hours on 2G), 300 hours of standby time, 6 hours of 3G internet use, and up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi internet use. hire a programmers

jameskchau
jameskchau

because of the bigger form factor, iPad battery life will always be at least 3 times longer than smartphones, including the iPhone. Apple can and probably will put SoC that are much more powerful than smartphone SoC. The iPad uses a carrier neutral sim slot allowing iPad to use any data and service provider, including individual company private sim such as Homeland Security or FBI police or military band radio frequencies. iPad can be equipped with kernel level firmware to perform enterprise synchronization and real time connectivity. iPad has no external antenna. To Apple, iPad is the long term strategic product, not iPhone nor Mac. With custom development, squadrons of iPads can be deployed in highly strategic projects for accomplishing national security missions such as toppling UN sanctioned terrorist regimes or units bent on destroying terrorism acts, or in war field operations. Because of the highly hybrid capability of centralized and localized processing, and Apple's capability to equip an iPad with any SoC or CPU for complete hardware and software control, the iPad is bringing back the age of Hardware specific computing, which include complete control over anything, including nuclear weapons.

l_creech
l_creech

Does it meet full HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, or PCI compliance yet? Until it can do all 3 it isn't a valid corporate product and any IT admin allowing it to connect to their mail server or any other part of a network they are responsible for is flat crazy with a single compliance violation costing as much as $250K plus defense fees.

DUBAKK
DUBAKK

Jason, This iPhone is now just getting competitive with the HTC Desire (not mentioned on your Competitive Products list). Having recently migrated from the palm OS platform (Pre too short on features), I am relieved to fin it Synch's reliebly and can be configured readily for synching Calendar, Contacts, Notes & To Do Lists, between Palm/HTC, Outlook/HTC, without any of the restrictions or fuss of the Apple ecosystem. This is what won over our IT team when approving it for Business use.

Stealths15
Stealths15

1.7 million sold in spite of: Not so impressive features, high price, and design flaws. We can call that IPhone "Bandwagon Effect"

bryan_es
bryan_es

hmmm, another iPhone article, another writeup with absolutely no mention of the gapping security holes in the iPhone platform. Maybe if we ignore it, it will go away?

jpyner
jpyner

I like this phone a lot. I have a 3Gs and I think I am getting my wife a new 4 for her birthday. One neg that you forgot to mention is that FaceTime only works on WiFi and only between iPhone 4's.

MacNewton
MacNewton

Your should be able to tether using Bluetooth, same as the G3 & 3Gs

karl
karl

One of my biggest gripes is the way that if you have no signal you can't delete an email (in an Exchange inbox) Why not? Just marked it as deleted, stick it in the bin and next time you get a connection delete it from the server .... like all my other phones and my laptops do!

NotSoSerious
NotSoSerious

If you are west of the Mississippi but not quite to the shore you ONLY get access in the big cities or along the highways. Yes there is life off of most of these highways. This takes a pretty big hunk out of the US. If you look at a map it might actually be a "little" bigger than 3% not covered by AT&T.

balakshman
balakshman

"This Technology is Great! The Brains behind this technology are also Great! And the users' of this technology are also Great! - Apple's made a legendary user-experience mark that shall continue forever after...". The only downside that I can envision is the following: The "i" Series gadgets are all good as long as they don't let their users' ignore the blind-side of life, i.e., the blind spots in their day-to-day journey....This comment is meant neither to criticize nor to offend any or all of the users, it is only a cautionary note that can go a long way as a Precautionary measure in defending the "seemingly oblivious circumstances" that sometimes tend to be "more a curse than a blessing". To give a simple example...."(Almost) All digital and No bother makes life a care-free buoy". - A tech-savvy & life-loving IT professional from New Jersey!

miguel.villela
miguel.villela

A problem that I observed with Android phones is about OS Version upgrade. Nowadays life in production for a cell phone is only a few months and at maximum one year. In Android based phones, the OS must be adapted to hardware by manufacturer because OS and hadware producers are diferent and Android is a generic product. How big is the possibility of manufacturers put avaliable upgrades for phones that are out of production??? With iPhone, only now with iOS4.0 in the streets that you won't have upgrades for FIRST generation iPhones. It's a 3 year life with full upgrades from Apple. I want to see if any Android phone will have a so long upgrade life.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I guess maybe in 5-6 months there will be a left handed version of the iPhone. So, when you walk into the Apple Store and want to by an iPhone, they will ask if you are left or right handed [but you are scr?wed if you change hands to write while talking]. :-)

alec.wood
alec.wood

Software fix to solve the antenna problem?!?! That must have come from marketing since no-one with even a schoolboy's understanding of antennas would buy that. If you hold the case in a certain way you change the electrical characteristics of a lump of metal by connecting your body to it electrically - that's why cases solve the issue. Software cannot change this any more than it can change the colour of the case as to do so would require a physical change in the metal components themselves. If there is an internal antenna they could apply software to switch it on in preference to the one built into the case, but that's the best they could do for a software fix for this problem, and that would be quite damaging to their image given how much they've punted this antenna as a good thing. I reckon you'll see free cases for affected users in the very near future

Slayer_
Slayer_

Didn't even include a left handed tester...

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

I don't consider myself a techno-phobe. I'm a tinkerer. I fell in love with the device playing with girlfriends phone. It's quick, very responsive to finger movement, and loaded with applications. I've had second rate phones for years because they're cheap but I'd like to make the leap to Apple if it EVER gets supported by Sprint. I've seen some interesting things with the HTC Dream and the HTC Incredible but the interface feels funny. Maybe I haven't done enough but I don't like them. So what's holding Apple back from using other carriers? It would mean extra sales leading to more profit right? So what's the hang-up?

abc123a
abc123a

This is a great phone. Some of the cons that are mentioned simply do not make sense. 1 - Closed Apple EcoSystem - Thank god for that - look at the system that Android has - complete and total mess. 2 - Antena Problems - Temporary - every phone has some problem - this will get fixed one way or the other. 3 - Battery Life - I have been using an iPhone for 4 years now and hearing the same song - iphone has bad battery life. In 4 years I have never been in a situation where I ran out of battery - NEVER - and I use my phone really hard. It seems to be the cool thing to bash iphone but it is not. Like everything else there are good and bad things about the iphone. It will never solve world hunger or the wars around the globe but it is a great piece of technology that performs reasonably well.

pjaneiro
pjaneiro

If apple didn't sell it, After spending a few days with it, i realized it really is an oversized Iphone with no real potential, I don't care what people are saying at the current time, there are no uses for apple product in enterprises, the iphone mail system is shaky, there are no integrated tasks, the ipad has no oiifce suite I mean REAL office, not a comptabible version that barely works, as for military uses, i could see an app developper doing a big red button app, but then again, it probably would be underpowered and by the time the button signal is sent, we'd be dead already.

rhonin
rhonin

It will take an audit and a hefty "SLAP" before some companies realize what they are allowing on premise. Those who have been through this before know better.

rexrzer1238477
rexrzer1238477

You're to a one PC, Android, Windows Mobile, or HTC fanboys and largely missing the point of iPhone 4 iOS. It works; it's being adopted by IT and security in masse; people are buying them because it does things better than the competition, not just because it's Apple's next great thing. Multi-tasking; Folder apps; 960 x 240 pixel 326dpi LEOD display, clearer and better than every other phone of any type in the market; more apps to choose from than the other guys could dream up in 5 years of bashing a great product. iPhone 4 is a perfect tool for the masses to adopt specific technology that works to interpret digital reality better than any other phone in existence. It does everything really, really well, and its detractions are minor if any, so please bash some of your own products for a change because they lack substance. The iPhone 4 will outsell all phones 10X by year's end, with 50-million+ or more online and working by 2011, just watch it happen.

rhonin
rhonin

One significant difference between iOS upgrades and AndroidOS upgrades is the hardware. Phones without custom front ends (ex: NexusOne) will be able to adopt a longer upgrade cycle than say an HTC or Motorola. Next add to this the significant hardware advancements that dot the Android landscape. These phones are evolving at a far faster pace than the iPhone. At the current level of development, what the iPhone accomplished (4 iterations), the Android devices will accomplish a lot more, likely 10+ iterations making for a much more evolved device - significantly more functionality. Add to this we are now seeing development of Android devices with 2ghz processors. It will continue to explode. I highly suspect that one of the goals of these companies is to far outstrip the hardware development of the iPhone 4, already accomplished excluding the display) pushing Apple to either fade or come out with a really wow device. Either way, Apple really has their work cut out for them.

ctrogers
ctrogers

This reminds me of back in the old days of trying to adjust the television antenna. It was rather often that you could pull in a station just fine as long as you were touching the antenna, but the second you let go, the signal was lost. Maybe they should just go all the way and use our bodies as the antenna.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Software might be able to address the problem in this case. The iPhone essentially has two antennas - there's a break between the metal side plates. The one side (and bottom) is mostly used for GSM/UMTS (3G) and the other side is used for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Theoretically, software could be used to tell the device to try to use the other antenna if the one antenna has a weak signal.

Zwort
Zwort

For some things I'm a sinister, for others a dexter, and for some an ambidexter. For phones, buttons and one or two other things I happen to be a sinister. It might make good evolutionary sense to have my right hand available for emergencies. A thought. Anyhow, for me the iPhone is out on handedness alone. I only use a bluetooth device when I'm driving.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I naturally tested it left-handed a lot to try to replicate the problem, but couldn't. I thought I should mention that I'm right-handed and so my regular use wasn't the same as those who've run into the issue.

jwilson
jwilson

It could be the biggest piece of junk ever produced and people would still line up around the block to buy it.

tbrown
tbrown

Vendors can negotiate favorable deals with a carrier via exclusivity, which drives consumers to that particular carrier.

rhonin
rhonin

Dude if you are a hard user and have never run out of battery you are either sadly mistaken or have no clue. My family has 4 iphones and usage ranges from basic to social to tech. Basic - 36 hours Social - 10 hours Tech - 4 to 6 hours Never run out - you likely do a 24x7 dock.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

not solving world hunger or preventing wars but why do so many fanboys think it will?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"2 - Antena Problems - Temporary - every phone has some problem - this will get fixed one way or the other." Dude, it's the ANTENNA! The device is nearly useless without it. This should have been fixed BEFORE release to market, not 'one way or the other'. Perhaps the 'stolen' one was their only test unit?

alec.wood
alec.wood

I hate the iPhone, with a passion, but it's good on a number of levels 1. The closed eco-system makes it less liable to be hit by major exploits over time assuming that Apple tighten things up in response to each new bit of malware that does break through the system 2. Antenna problem can not be solved by software, a physical change will have to be made, even if that change is as simple as putting some clear tape over it in the factory 3. The smarter the phone the more people bitch about battery life, but it's enough for most people, and it's easy to recharge. iPhone is like all smart phones. It works. If you like it buy one, if you don't do not. But it's not better or worse than Android, it's better or worse "for you". The AT&T tie in is no issue for the primary smartphone markets in the world since it doesn't affect them - so iPhone's dependency on it in the US is not as big a deal as it seems to be to much of the US based tech press

Nsaf
Nsaf

Can you please clarify what you mean on your number 1 item listed?. My wife has had an iPhone since 3G came out, and I have had Blackberries and now an Android (Nexus1) phone. She received her iPhone 4 on June 23rd, and I have to say that it is amazing. But, what I like to say is that 2 devices in hands of 2 different people with differnt needs and tastes, that is the bottom line. We should all stop bashing one side over the other and relize that they all are fantastic devices making our lives a bit easier.

NereusArcadius
NereusArcadius

Apple is loosing its lead because of its close-minded leadership. History is full of examples of innovators who try to control every aspect of their invention only to find themselves overcome and made irrelevant by the shear mass other innovators who can do better. Despite Apple's fanatical followers, it will always be a niche player.

Zwort
Zwort

What about this then: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/is-the-iphone-4-becoming-the-windows-vista-of-apple/36509?tag=nl.e539 Probably these difficulties in Apple are long overdue. Their soon to be flagship product is the Tablet I understand, and ISTR there were wireless difficulties with that. Hmm. Mind you, I've recommended it to my mum as the designer alternative to Kindle et al.. There was a slight danger of me buying an Apple Airport Express recently, but I lost my nerve, given Apple's current travails, and I went for something from an IBM/PC oriented networking/Wi-Fi company.

l_creech
l_creech

It does take a hefty slap. I know of several companies that have been audited and fined, including fines levied directly on IT staff for failing to comply with legal requirements. Personally I refuse to work for any company that is not willing to be compliant, not saying they have to be perfect; but at least attempt to be. (edit for spelling)

rhonin
rhonin

Couple of issue with your "summation". What IT and security droves? I know of several companies in my business who will not allow it beyond basic calendar/email due to the poor security and lack of effective encryption. The 4 is getting a number of functions other platforms have and the 4 does not do them well. Multi-tasking: more like quick switching - poorly implimented Folders: so deos all other smartphones Display: great but small. Try using a the Galaxy and 4 side by side. The 4 looks "old school" in size. At the present rate, Android Market is growing faster than the iTunes store for the same age. Maps, calendar, email, etc... it lags in functionality behind 2.x Android. I'm not saying the 4 is not a good phone. Excepting the display, with the engineered cross company development of Android, the iPhone is being relegated to playing "catch up". Why am I not getting a 4? I'm tired of Apple promises and trying to develop "work arounds" for business shortcomings of the iPhone.

Stealths15
Stealths15

Many IPhone users I know personally bought the phone coz either its the only phone they know to be multi touch, and/or surf the web, and/or its posh and/or they just love the "brand". Not because they were able to compared it with the features of other brands/models nor done any research. It's a fact that it sold millions. I don't contest that. Those who have apple stocks or sell apple accessories are obviously the one that will most benefit it. But the common users? A Bandwagon Effect. I respect if all those user's enjoy the phone. But it's still a bandwagon effect. It's a great phone I agree. but not the best. "Argumentum ad populum"

evilkillerwhale
evilkillerwhale

The antennae aren't compatible. The only way software could fix it is to (In typical Hollywood fashion) REROUTE THE POWER THROUGH THE DRIVE CORE GOING INTO FTL WITH THE PVSAP AND GET ONTO THE INTERSPACEWAYS AGAIN. It just doesn't make sense.

ganyssa
ganyssa

but use my phone with my left. I can easily replicate the issue. However, I've also noticed that I can make and receive calls with fewer bars than I could with my previous 3G. That doesn't excuse letting something so stupid get by, though. Particularly since I can also replicate the issue through a case, it just takes a little longer for the signal to drop off.

Zwort
Zwort

Here's a way for iPhone users to get around the aerial problem; upgrade to a cantenna. ;-)

swelch
swelch

Well, it's pretty good at being a niche player then because Apple is now bigger than Microsoft. Not bad for just niche huh?

Economix
Economix

Apples sales figures don't lie. They're killing the competition with units sold AND revenue. Niche? Not yet anyway, though I can understand your point especially when it comes to competition and 3-rd party apps. But for now, there has been little downside to Apples strategy, it's obviously still working very well for them.

Zwort
Zwort

Plus the aerial sucks!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You measure by capital, others measure by sales, some measure by raw numbers. Be clear how you define the term when you introduce it, not later.

jwilson
jwilson

is pretty much the absolute worst metric for the size of a company. Revenue? Microsoft. Profit? Microsoft. Employees? Microsoft. AAPL has a P/E over 20, while MSFT has a more reasonable one at just over 12. Of course, GOOG is just over 21, also. And this is why market cap is deceptive as a metric for comparison. Apple hasn't paid a dividend since 1995 (and it didn't pay much of a dividend when it was paying) -- it retains its earnings as cash. Microsoft used to do that, too -- until 2004, when they declared a special dividend of $3.00 per share, and started an annual dividend (currently $0.52/shr). Which means that if MSFT had the same capital strategy as AAPL does, its shares would be worth at least $5.50 more per share -- cash that MSFT instead distributed to its shareholders. And if it had done so, its market cap would be $47B greater -- enough to put it well ahead of AAPL. Having said that -- both are good companies, and probably should be considered roughly the same size these days. But not simply because they have the same market cap.

swelch
swelch

Sorry, poor choice of words. Apple is worth more than Microsoft...still not bad for a supposedly niche player.

philip.arnold
philip.arnold

Bigger that Microsoft for what? Mobile OS, yup, definitely. Desktop OS, not a chance in hell. Applications, not even close. Turnover, close, but no cigar.

jwilson
jwilson

When it comes to sales and profits, Microsoft is still in command, turning a $14.6 billion profit on $58.4 billion in sales last year compared with Apple's $5.7 billion profit on $36.5 billion in sales. "bigger" indeed

darpoke
darpoke

the majority of the world once used Internet Explorer. Crappy technology can be overcome, even if it seems predominant. Let's not give up hope for HTML5 just yet.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

... if it *really* sucked that bad, do you think they would have the same level of sales for their product? No, I'm no Apple fanboy, but I do see the reality of it all. But Jobs, get off the anti-Adobe kick already. 98% of the web uses Flash, so no matter how much you pout and cry it isn't going away....

darpoke
darpoke

Let's just remind ourselves here - these phones may have the capability of basic computers, being as advanced as they are - but they're still smart*phones*. As in mobile handsets. The so-called 'latest and greatest' actually IS later AND greater. The iPhone 4 is a *hardware* upgrade. The original 3G does not support multitasking. It does not shoot video. You can zoom with the camera using iOS 4 but it's the same crappy 2MP camera with the same small sensor and lens. The resources such as CPU and RAM are still tiny in comparison with the latest offering. The iOS 4 is designed to offer APIs taking advantage of the new 6-way gyroscopic sensor - not present in the 3G or 3GS. Nor do they offer high-speed download using HSDPA. And let's not forget about the resolution increase. If you haven't seen a physical handset in the 'flesh', you simply can't understand the difference it makes. The pixels truly are indistinguishable to the human eye. As a reading device, the only way it could be any better is if it wasn't backlit. Suffice to say, no current handsets by any manufacturer can surpass it. I understand and agree with the sentiment that it's not necessary to continually plump for Apple's latest offering simply because it's there. I disagree, however, that this is the motivation of those who are upgrading right now. It is a better device. iOS 4 on a 3G does NOT, I'm afraid, compare.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I have a Macbook from three years ago in excellent condition and a perfectly good iPhone 3G running iOS 4. I paid good money for this stuff. Why throw it out? I mean, come on! When they break/get too old/wear out/are no longer supported, I'll make an upgrade. Until then, I'm staying with my existing hardware! It makes no sense to me why people *have* to have the latest and greatest Apple products!

Zwort
Zwort

Argumentum ad populum, the sort of theory of truth employed by charismatic leaders in drumming up forther support from the millions for whatever mad policy into which they may wish to plunge their nations. Or, to put it in a quaint old English why, "sh*t is great; several trillion flies cannot be wrong".

rbosgood
rbosgood

As a previous poster pointed out, Apple customers are not like other customers. They buy whatever the latest iteration of Apple products are out whether they need them or not. Around my office every person with an iPhone has upgraded. They toss out perfectly good functioning 3G and 3Gs phones because the 4 is available. Those of us that are not Apple customers do not replace our hardware every year. I have heard of very few Android customers tossing their phone whenever a new one appears. In the non-apple world we upgrade when the phone is non-functional or very obsolete, not on the vendors schedule.

philip.arnold
philip.arnold

Saying that the sales units are the real reason that it's the best, then that makes McDonalds the greatest food in the world - just because it sells lots, it doesn't mean it's the best!

tbrown
tbrown

While their strategies might play well for their bottom line, there could be serious repercussions for the consumer at large (e.g. Hiner's reference to the iTunes lock-in which seems so flow with the rest of Apple's proprietary/control philosophy).

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