So, here comes the second day and so the second interview. Kind of favorite phone for many and I would say a favorite man of mine coming together to give views over a part about which many of us really wish to hear in layman terms (in place of fanboy tone).
I met Deep Gantara a few years back (online of course) in early days of my writing and I will say, when I remember those days, then I feel like kind of laughing over myself sometimes. Anyway, though I didn’t found Deep writing much over tech now days, but the way, he writes in most simple ways, was always fascinating to me and I could easily say that he is was one of the people, who been the reason and inspiration of my blogging knowingly or unknowingly (I guess this statement might be a revelation to him).
Honestly speaking, when it comes to iPhone 4, then I have not seen anyone with it around me in real till now and Deep was the only Indian in my circle with it. So, he was for the perfect candidate to bring the common man perspective over iphone, specially because of being Indian, where users care about Value for Money most.
He has already given some very details and warm answers over my questions, which are sure much interesting than my words, so let me guide you over the questions and answers.
Deep, Can you tell us something about you? like your profession, background etc..blogging\ social life
I run a Web Development firm named Web1 Solutions and I am also Technology Director for BiteBank Websites Inc. I like blogging, but these days due to time constraints, I don’t get much time to blog. Social life.. well, in the online world, Twitter and FaceBook are going pretty good job so far. Hate the messengers, so don’t use them. Offline world is pretty much active too, I am no party animal but love to try out new places.
Congra8s about the makeover of www.whoisdeep.com first and isn’t it strange that even after being active in blogging, not interested in blogging about phones much?
I am more of a personal blogger than technology blogger, my blog is mainly about things around me, so I post what I personally feel like.
How long do you use Apple products?
I have been using Apple products for the past 3 years I guess. iPhone, iPod Touch and OSX (Mac Mini)
I have seen you keep a close eye over new apple products whenever they come, what fascinate you about them?
I love the simplicity added to their products. They keep doing new things. Good looking and very usable products. Innovating stuff I would say. Some examples would be iPhone first version, once they started with touch phones, everyone followed, Mac Mini is one of their finest products too, new Mac Book Airs gets added in the list too.
Was this always Apple or you used others like Nokia/ Samsung as well? Can you list out the phones you have used for last few years?
Nokia was the first love. It was time when Nokia used to make fantastic phones. I started with the banana shaped phone, Nokia 8110 I guess, then moved to Nokia 6510 (The best simple phone I have used till date), then I moved to Nokia 6110i, 6220. But then Nokia started making funny phones, e.g. the fat Nokia 6000, then Nokia phones started getting affected by virus and ended up becoming messy. (I think it was due to Symbian or something)
After this, I moved to Sony Ericsson, it was pretty good too, almost stable OS, very good music quality and all. Used 3-4 SE phones, 810i was the best. And finally moved to iPhone 3G when it was arrived in India. Never changed the brand after that.
When did you plan to go for your first Apple ,(is it a plan or accident ?) You bought from India or abroad? What was the price then?
It was planned, I wanted a smart phone and iPhone 3G was the best choice. I bought it from India, Vodafone store. Rs. 29,000 was the price.
Whats your views on touch screens? Do you really feel that they are at par with Non-Touch ones about text entries?
I have used touch screen phones of other brands and after iPhone, I found only HTC Touch phone with decent keypad. Quite comfortable with the touch keypad but yeah, in many cases, you can’t type without seeing the screen.
What personally I don’t feel comfortable about Apple product is their price and eccosystem that binds you, What’s your views?
Price is fine, new smart phones with decent touch interface cost around Rs. 23,000 – Rs. 35,000, iPhone 4 is around Rs. 27,000 in Dubai. In other countries it’s between the range Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 35,000 (based on the tax structure. So I guess, price is fine. I am not saying this coz I am an iPhone user but I have not seen any phone coming near to iPhone’s user experience. HTC makes very good phones but they come 2nd after iPhone.
Eccosystem? iTunes sync.. yes, but things could be done without using iTunes too. But iTunes is advisable. The photos / videos can be copied directly too. Like the songs can be copied via Winamp too.. check this out http://blog.winamp.com/2009/03/11/how-to-manage-music-in-ipod-using-winamp/
You use iPhone for accomplishing which thing most… calls, browsing, navigation, movies, twitter.. which one?
As it’s a phone first, so calls always take the first place. Use Calendar and mails very actively. Then Twitter and Facebook. The browsing come after these 2. I don’t listen to the music or watch movies on my iPhone. Use iPod Touch for the movies. Play games sometimes.
Though even I feel that Antennagate was some hyped issue, but whats your experience about signals? Any weak signal area around you? Office/Home?
Antennagate was super hyped, actually it’s a silly thing. I have been using iPhone 4 since it was released and frankly speaking, I have not faced single drop issues at all. May be this is because I use the free bumper but I have tried it without the bumper too, I did not see much difference. 2ndly, to see the signal loss, you need to hold the phone in funny position and talk. Practically, you can’t talk by holding your phone tight with 2 hands. So it was almost useless issue for me.
Everyone talks about responsiveness of iPhone 4. What you think what’s different here, underlying screen tech or processor or OS itself?
Oh yea, this monster is much more faster than 3G. I see lot of difference, it’s very quick, I have not faced issues so far. Yeah, I have seen it getting hung on the call screen sometimes but it’s majorly due to the software. Hardware is pretty strong. Loved the speed. It’s more about the power than the OS to me. Same OS works very slow on my 3G phone. So many power or technology using which the OS was built.
There were sure some frustrating limitations with earlier versions and iPhone4 has moved ahead of many things now. What’s changed for you with iPhone 4 in terms of usages? Something which was not a part of your life earlier and now is?
No idea about the frustrating limitations you might be talking about. But yeah, when it started i.e. 3G first generation with the OS, it did not have copy paste and message forwarding, it was kinda bad but I think they covered up the things. Multi tasking was the limitation in 3G, but I was not concerned about it much as I knew even if 3G had multi tasking, it never would have been able to run smoothly as it lacks powerful hardware to support it. Love the push notifications overall. Exchange sync is superb.
Battery is something which makes or breaks things for many. Where iPhone 4 stands about it?
Awesome battery life. Mine goes on till 12 or 1 AM plus daily. (With around 20-30 % remaining). The usage is mainly the calls and mails (with Exchange sync on always). Use twitter and FB daily too. On the older version, the battery used to die around 7-8 PM daily. This one is quite stronger.
Phone always stood as slimmest one around. Is it always a pro or any cons associated with it? Have you slipped it ever from your hands?
I don’t know if it’s the slimmest one but yeah, whatever it is, I am loving it. The 3G one used to slip many times but this one, thankfully, it has not slipped so far. But may be because I use Bumper. I don’t know the exact reason but it’s good. No disadvantages as such.
I hear about the glassy back. Isn’t dangerous to drop it? Do you keep it covered or like it open?
I use Bumper, but I don’t think the back is so weak.
Portrait or Landscape.. what you prefer about texting? What’s different about keypad here than other platforms you might have tried?
Most of the time I use portrait but for mails, I prefer landscape, it works lot more faster, you can easily use both the fingers. The typing is very fast in this, in many phones, you have to wait for first letter to get typed and then it will move to the 2nd one, here you can use multi touch. But again, I am not sure if it happens with all the phones or not, have tried couple of phones and was not happy with the keypads.
Many say iPhone is an ego booster in itself, but the same time dangerous to public places. How you keep it safe with you?
Ego boost? It’s just a phone. Those are the fools considering it as a Ego booster. I don’t see it being dangerous at all. Can you tell me what Dangers?
Facetime is on WiFi and many of the apps of iPhone too. What value the phone has for you when you might be cut off from internet connection? Is there other stuffs too which could keep you engaged when no internet connection in your phone?
I think it’s only FaceTime which needs WiFi only, rest work on the GPRS. Since my usage is mostly calls and mails, so I need internet access all the time. If net isn’t available, games are the best options. There are many other applications which work without the net but my usage revolves around the calls and mails, so not much into too many apps.
How is GPS there on iPhone? They use Google Maps, if I am right. Voice navigation? Ever used the GPS related things?
GPS is decent, yeah, it uses Google Maps, no voice navigation so far. But there are 3rd party apps, which has this, there is one Indian app for GPS, which I have heard is very impressive. (It costs around USD 75)
What about the build quality and what you think that could go more better? Like Anodized aluminum etc
I think this is the best build so far, plastic build was good but it was prone to scratches (on the back body), this one does not have a single scratch on the body so far. So for me, this is the best.
Is it loud on calls? What about the music performance, I have heard some extra praises, but what about the bundled headphones?
Yup calls volume and ringtone volume is good enough. Music, I don’t have much on this phone but it works well, no issues at all. Earpieces are very nice.
Be honest, if your younger bro ask you for some phone, then considering the price of iphone, will you prefer the same again for him or you have some alternative to it in mind? Which one?
iPhone is a smart phone, it’s best suitable for the people with usage of mails. For normal use any Sony Ericsson phones are good. But yeah, if someone asks me for the Smart Phone, iPhone will be the first preference then HTC phones.
Do you think iphone can act as a full time phone in your hands or you need some backup phone too .. considering touch screen and battery limitations in mind?
It works very well as full time phone. I don’t see any reason for carrying another phone. (Unless you want to have a separate SIM card for some other use)
What about iPhone Gaming? I hear many love iPhone and Apple solely on this. Any of your personal experience?
Angry Birds is the best game I have ever played. Fantastic controls. Have played couple of other games too, loved it. But I am more of a console gaming person so don’t play many games on the phone.
Nokia sure has contributed a lot to bring full fledged digital camera like phone in hands of people. Where Apple stands in camera battle? How is camera software interface? How tough is the glass window protecting camera? How the flash module cut it in darker conditions? Samples please.
Yeah, Nokia N8 has the best camera around I guess. But these are just phones, there is a digital camera thing for the purpose. Main purpose of the phone is to make calls and other functionalities working properly. Camera should be good no doubt but other things should be given high priority.
As far as the camera of iPhone 4 is concerned, yeah it’s pretty good, love the HDR mode. Clicks good pics in day as well as in nights. iPhone 3G camera was good to but much on the weaker side compared to this one or any other phones.
It does not have any separate window protecting the lens but it’s covered with a glass which is pretty strong. Flash is decent. I have attached some samples.
What feature(s) are completely different and most attractive to you on iPhone, which you find no where else?
The multi touch is awesome. I don’t think any other phones have such good touch functionality. 2ndly the speed is very good. And obviously, usability always comes on the top.
What you don’t like about iPhone 4 or Apple?
iPhone 4… hmm… nothing as such. It’s good enough to satisfy my needs. Apple, I hated their recent Beatles hype, it was pretty lame on their side.
What about Apple Services? I hear there is seamless integration among their product about the same and it just works fantastically if you have Apples around, but does it connect well with other brands too?
Works very well with on my Windows 7, syncing is fantastic. Connects nicely with every other Windows machine, absolutely no issues.
Let’s say, you got a SIM with no GPRS and you have to start a fresh piece of iPhone without internet, is this really cut then?
iPhone is a smart phone, so are Nokia ones, blackberry or HTC Touch Phones. If there is no Internet, then why to spend money on the smart phones, normal phone costing around Rs. 2,500 – Rs. 5,000 should be good enough.
Your score points to the iPhone (rating if any..)
I would rate is 10/10 as I am totally satisfied with it. Personally I have not faced any issue with it. But yea, if you ask me about iPhone 3G then I would rate it 6/10 (the ratings changed after iPhone 4 arrived)
Have you ever convinced someone middle class to buy iPhone like pricy thing? Hard to make one buy some phone at this price in India where no subsidized rates from Service providers. Will you recommend it for normal people, who want value for their money and dont want to keep on spending on apps later on? Or what you want to say differently than my words about pricing and quality product?
I don’t generally convince anyone to go for any particular brand products. If someone asks me about smart phones, I suggest, iPhone and HTC phones, rest is on them to decide.
About the price factor, it’s not costly. Rs. 29,000 was the official price for 8 GB iPhone 3G. At that time Xperia was around Rs. 42,000, HTC and Blackberry phones used to cost almost the same amount.
Currently, iPhone 4 costs between Rs. 27,000 to Rs. 35,000 (Depending upon the country you buy from). The other smart phones are in range of Rs. 22,000 to Rs. 35,000. E.g. Nokia N900 is around Rs. 24,000, SE Xperia 10 is around Rs. 27,000, Samsung Galaxy S is around Rs. 27,000, Blackberry Torch is around Rs. 33,000 etc…
So iPhone is in the same range, price is fine. The gray market guys sell it at exorbitant rates but that’s not the place to buy from.
About recommending to normal people. This is a smart phone, the people who can afford phones in the range Rs. 22,000 to Rs. 35,000 can go for this one surely. I have seen so many friends buying iPhones and then sticking to the same brand for ages.
About the Apps, there are huge amount of Apps, which are free. I have only 3 paid apps, 2 paid games and rest are free. I have around 26 4rd party apps and 4 games.
What makes Apple an Apple for you and why you like them so much? Can others also learn something from Apple without raising the prices?
I am fan of beautiful products and great usability. It has both, so I am with them. I am sure, they are gonna make stick them for quite sometime. Don’t know what others can learn, there is nothing to learn. It’s just a brand, which makes good products, people can buy if they feel like. That’s it.
Price is a non-issue. I have mentioned it above.
Absolutely loved talking to Deep and honestly speaking after recent reviews of @MickyFin from Nokia DNA and now yours view on it, I am really really tempted to buy/ manage one in my own hands. May be dryness of Nokia/ Samsung review units for me now days have to do something with it, but seriously .. if like you say Price is a non-issue, then sure I might hit the nails very soon.
Felt suspicious at a moment about the fact that even if Antennagate was a hyped issue, you and many users still using it with bumpers, also felt a setback that it uses limited set of free navigation (no voice navigation like Ovi Maps), but it was a turn around for me, hearing about the prices.
Happy about one of the points that I was specially looking for, that a serious kind of office going person that might not be too much into apps and gaming still loves his iPhone 4. Thanks Again Deep, for giving me so much time and patience. You did a superb job for sure, like you always do.
So, this was the second part of the interview series, in which I am meeting with people from different smart phone backgrounds, who may raise their voices for their phones with being techie or crazy or fanboy-ish. And I must say that Deep came to put the Apple case very strongly.
This interview series certainly started looking more awesome giving much broad perspectives. I myself loving it. Wanna be part of it? Drop a message to me on @nkumar_ on twitter or comment below the post and you could be a part of these interviews.