Love and Hate: A Story of Two Phones by Marco Paravani

An object Inspector Gadget should never be without is the new iPhone 4. Of course, come summer it will be old news, to be overshadowed by its predecessor, the iPhone 5 (and surely enough, the iPhone 27 will come out shortly afterward). But alas, Steve Jobs and the Apple team’s marketing tactics are not the focus of this post.

To operate the phone, you simply push the only apparent button and proceed to touch the screen to use. Volume controls are found on its side. Often the trouble with phones is just how complicated they are. One might attribute this to having too many buttons! Having fewer buttons minimizes confusion. In conjunction with a touch screen, the simplicity of the phone allows the user to feel a more natural connection to their technology, rather than bringing attention to the machine in their hand.

As it would be nearly impossible to cover all of the great features available with the iPhone, I’ll go over the few affordances I believe to be the most note-worthy.

The first and most worthwhile feature is the phones multi-functional nature, as both phone and portable mp3 player. Before owning iPhone, I was lugging around an iPod, a phone and a wallet, all in two very bulky pockets. Having two in one makes for a lighter load, and of course, pockets free of stretch marks. The device also has a great camera, eliminating the need for yet another weight in your pocket. The front camera is a wondrous feature, finally putting an end to unwanted facial cropping and endless retakes. Call me vain, but it also makes for a useful mirror when you need it.

Apple’s App Store is total bonus. Especially when one sports a jailbroken phone, which allows users to run their own scripts, rather than restricting them to those authorized by Apple. This means free games, utility apps and customization! There is an application for virtually any activity, and if you’re one for smooth effects, the iPhones smooth graphic transitions and .

The only thing the iPhone is without is tactile feedback; while the device provides wonderful visual and auditory stimulation, it fails to respond physically to touch. Though personally, I can do without my phone vibrating every time I ‘click’ something. Aside from this, the fact that Facetime is a total gimmick that never works, the absence of Flash, and the mysterious battery life, which dies not when it should, but when it feels like it, the iPhone is one nifty gadget.

Finally, navigating the iPhone is simple, fast and intuitive. What you expect to happen when interacting with it will most likely happen. This includes pinch and double tap zooming, swiping to turn pages and tons of other small details that make this product the perfect plaything for adults.

While the iPhone 4 is the first cellular device I’ve ever purchased, I’ve also had the displeasure of carrying around my father’s LG Chocolate kg800; a phone I’m sure has a twisted mind of its own, and one that will stop at nothing to watch you tear every hair from your skull. If you’ve ever used an LG Chocolate past its prime, you’ll understand I’m not entirely delusional.

When it was first released in 2009, everyone I knew had one. The touch-buttons were evolutionary and slide phones were it. Unfortunately, the initial attraction died down, and what was left was a sleek black, plastic piece of stool (and that’s stool in the scientific application of the term, people). Besides the buttons eventually losing their sensitivity and having to literally hammer the keypad with your finger to get a response, the phone itself is just horrid to navigate. I’d spent 20 minutes trying to change a ring tone, a feat that would have taken a less tech-savvy user (my father) twice the time.

The phone would occasionally seizure, but not for any particular reason, and even power down spontaneously. It might even have had spasms without reason more often than it did to notify me of a text. In terms of sensory response, there was little. The touch button lost its attraction over time, which may be attributed to its lack of visual, tactile and auditory response. It could not inspire the same satisfaction as clicking a button.