Form over function – the iPhone 4 as a fashion accessory

The iPhone 4 is perhaps one of the most useful fashion accessories today. It has a remarkable camera, a high quality display screen, easy-to-use social sharing and access to hundreds of applications that enhance shopping and fashion browsing. This is wrapped in a slick, silver bullet of a design that, when compared to the iPhone 3GS, wins in almost every way. Yet, antenna problems have resulted in an unappealing solution which leaves the iPhone 4 in an awkward position.

The iPhone 3GS was not known for its great camera. Users in search of a great picture would bring their digital cameras with them. The iPhone 4 has overhauled the camera, boasting high quality photos and beating out a number of other mobile phone cameras. This is particularly useful when considering the iPhone as an accessory, it enables easy on-the-go high quality pictures that are ready to share in an instant. I got in close to take a picture of my own, and I was impressed with the result.

While applications are not exclusive to the iPhone 4, the retina display screen enhances the visual experience of graphic intensive apps. Apps that showcase fashion editorial, runway and other fashion photography greatly benefit. Style.com, for example, has an app that share video and photos straight from the runway.  From my experience the retina display delivers photo and video flawlessly, creating a strong viewing experience. Magazine applications (such as the new Interview application available on both the iPad and the iPhone) will benefit for the same reason.

Yet, the iPhone 4 faces one major hurdle as to winning over fashion. The bumpers that are Apple’s solution to the antennae problems are just not that great.

Reviews say the bumpers feel ‘somewhat cheap in your hand.’ The way it fits around the phone also creates a raised edge that is somewhat uncomfortable to hold. They are great if you like cases and colours, but they detract from the slickness of phone we loved to begin with.

The iPhone 4 looks great, it’s got a good camera, a good screen, and opens the gateway to fashion on the go. Yet requiring these bumpers in order to retain full phone functionality is a significant downside. I’m not completely sure  whether I’d make the investment. Are you?

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

One Comment

  1. @mdubsnz Reply

    The antenna issue on a 'naked' iPhone4 is not much of an issue for a lot of people outside of the U.S. (ATT's crappy network makes the antennae issues far worse than it is in any other country)

    Obviously your location plays a large part in whether or not you will notice any signal drops (as is the case with any mobile phone), but in Auckland's CBD and outlying suburbs I have had no issues with dropped calls ever (albeit the signal does hover around the lower end of the the 5 bar measure) while carrying my phone naked.

    Personally I prefer the look of my phone with its black bumper on. Mainly because it distracts from the otherwise standout 'look at me' accessory that many view the iPhone4 as. To me the bumper doesn't feel cheap at all, especially when compared to a lot of the other case alternatives available out there. If you're not a fan of the bumper then there are a multitude of other case options out there that can still show of the beauty of your original device.

    As for the investment, it was the best investment I've ever made in regards to an electronic device. The device works exactly as it should, takes superb photos for a point in shoot (negating the need to carry a spare point n shoot although many will still want to carry their DSLR's when they know they will be taking photos), records HD videos and + all the usual features you'd expect to find on an iPhone.

    So if the only thing holding your self back is the bumper situation then you have nothing to worry about. As of the 30th of September, Apple is stopping the free case program, meaning in their view, the antennae issue is a non-issue. I cant see Apple willing to sell the device 'naked' and not fear the opening floodgates of potential lawsuits if the issue was as large as it was originally made out to be 🙂

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