Review: iPhone 4
Placing a call can start in one of several places. There's obviously the Phone app, which includes Favorites (visual speed dial), Recent calls, full Contacts list, and Voicemail. You can quickly call someone from any of these lists in one or two taps. You can also search the Contacts list in the Phone app, in the (somewhat redundant) Contacts app, or from the phone-wide search to the left of the home screens. There's also a keypad to enter an arbitrary number, which can accept a number copied and pasted from another app.
Receiving a call is something Apple pretty much nailed with the first iPhone, and it was much-imitated, but it hasn't changed much since. When your phone is ringing, you'll see the name and face of the person calling, with a "slide to answer" control across the bottom. A quick tap of the volume-down button silences the ringer if you don't want to answer. The missed calls list shows you the state and country for each number. Unfortunately, they still haven't fixed it to show you location info while the call is ringing, which would be really useful. That's a shame. It also lags behind some competing phones which show you social info associated with contacts for incoming calls, like recent text messages and status updates. Then again, Apple lags with social network integration on all fronts.
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The competition has also copied the elegant in-call controls of the iPhone, although again, they haven't changed much since the first model. You can quickly mute, switch to speakerphone, start a conference call, load the keypad, etc. The one change is that "hold" has been replaced with a button to start a FaceTime video call. I don't think many people will miss "hold" as long as the microphone mute button remains. Pressing the Home key lets you access apps while staying on a call. Unfortunately, you can't use the Voice Memo app to record calls, something many freebie phones can do. But you can use the web and email during a call, which can be very handy.
Contacts are relatively basic. You can add all of the usual phone, Internet, and physical contact info you'd expect. You can sync with Exchange and add photos. There is a groups capability accessible from both the Phone and Contacts apps, although you stupidly can't add or edit groups from the phone; it must be done on the desktop. You can easily jump from a contact to recent text messages with that person. There is some extensibility available to third parties, so that, for example, the separate Facebook app (from Facebook, not Apple) allows you to sync with phone contacts, populating your Contacts list with photos and link to their Facebook profiles. This is a good start, but falls far short of the full social networking integration offered by most of the competition.
Google Now Pushing Desktop Search History to Android, iOS
Google today announced that it is providing Android and iPhone users with access to their desktop search history from their smartphone browser. As long as users are signed in to their Google account both in their desktop browser and in their mobile browser and have web history enabled, recent searches will appear across all types of devices.
iPhoto Available for iPhone and iPad
Apple today announced a new version of iPhoto, its desktop photo editing and management software, for iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad. iPhoto for iOS supports a wide range of photo-editing features, including scrollable thumbnails, crop, rotate, exposure, contrast, saturation, and other multi-touch editing functions.
AT&T Wants Platform-Agnostic Video Calling
AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega asked the wireless industry to agree on a single video calling standard that can be used by all devices and all network types so that customers can more easily use the service. As things stand today, there are plenty of video calling options, but the services are often only compatible with other devices running the same software and platform.
Dropbox Adds Auto Photo Upload Feature to Android App
Dropbox recently updated its Android application with a new feature that automatically uploads user photos from their phone to their Dropbox account. According to Dropbox, it will upload full resolution files over either Wi-Fi or cellular data to a special "Photo Upload" folder in the user's account, which can then be accessed from other devices and the Dropbox web site.
Google Refutes Safari Tracking Accusations Made by WSJ
Researchers recently discovered that some online-based advertising companies — including Google — were using a software workaround to avoid the privacy settings of Apple's Safari browser for the iPhone and its Mac computers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the workarounds allow the sites to install cookies on user devices even if the users have set their device to reject such cookies.