AN UNSOLICITED NON-PAID PLUG FOR THE IPHONE 4 | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED



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AN UNSOLICITED NON-PAID PLUG FOR THE IPHONE 4

The Japanese like to talk about the customer satisfaction "cross". That comes from a diagram that relates product features with the advertising. A product whose advertising exceeds the actual product performance will score low, like Pandigital (who is now thankfully out of business). When a product's advertising matches the product performance, customers will be satisfied. But to score the highest customer approval of a product, the product should have features that the advertising never mentions, so that the customer thinks he got more than he paid for.

I had an experience with that just the other day. My iPhone 3 was starting to show its age. The buttons were occasionally misperforming. I cannot complain about it since I put that device through a lot of heavy usage over the years. I think the iPhone and indeed all of Apple's products are very well made, proving that China can indeed manufacture quality products if that is what American importers ask them for.

After looking at competing cell phone providers I decided I did not see any advantages significant enough to justify the headache of changing providers, and when we renewed our current contract, the AT&T store had a special offer of a new iPhone 4 for only $1. That fits my current budget restrictions, and I happily traded up. The iPhone 4 (no, I did not want the one with Siri in it) is faster, brighter, louder than the iPhone 3 and I was happy with the new phone, especially at that price.

Then, I started playing with the internal camera and under options it had a button for HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This is a mode of photography where the camera sees further into the bright and dark portions of the image. I am very familiar with HDR because I used it to shoot background plates while I was working on LOST to give the compositors greater freedom to bland the final images. But whereas HDR using the Canon camera takes three shots on a tripod, the iPhone 4 camera does it in a single click. And this is what it does.

The above is a picture taken in normal mode, as it would be seen through an earlier iPhone or a standard camera. Note how the sky is blown out and the tree almost lost in black.

The above is a picture taken in HDR mode. You don't need to be a visual effects expert to tell that this picture captures a wider range of luminance.

Color me very pleasantly surprised.

Well done, Apple. You impressed me!

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