Why and where to buy your iPhone 4

Since the original launched in 2007, the Apple iPhone has taken the world of mobile technology by storm. The latest incarnation, the iPhone 4, arrived on the scene in June 2010 and boasts a number of improvements.

iPhone 4
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As always, the design is impeccable and amidst the super hard-wearing scratch-resistant glass front and back, the iPhone 4's stainless steel rim is not just for decorative purposes, it's the antenna.

Of course, users will already be aware of the problems that touching the lower left edge of the phone caused as a result of this innovative antenna and in light of the issues, Steve Jobs provided those who had already purchased the iPhone 4 with a free case to solve the problem.

Despite complaints, a survey by ChangeWave Research found that 72 per cent were "very satisfied" with their product.

In addition to the five megapixel rear-facing camera (with integrated flash and 5x digital zoom), the new iPhone features an additional front-facing camera. The rear-facing camera is also capable of recording 720p HD video, while the iMovie app allows consumers to not only edit but share their movies directly.

One of its most attractive new features is the FaceTime video-calling capability - though the service is Wi-Fi only, restricting where you make a call, it is undoubtedly a tempting addition to the iPhone arsenal.

Moreover, 512MB of eDRAM give the iPhone 4 twice the memory of its predecessor.

If you are looking to join the ranks of iPhone 4 devotees, finding the right payment option is essential. Buying the gadget without a contract is a pricey way to get your hands on one (around £500 from the Apple store) but the ability to then go for a Sim-only contract means you could be paying as little as £10 a month (with T-Mobile) with free minutes and texts into the bargain.

Sign up for a contract and you'll get the phone for as little as £99 - however, many companies these days offer only 18- or 24-month contracts (some are even offering 36 months) so you won't have the freedom to switch to a better deal. The draw, of course, is that you can get your hands on the iPhone 4 without having to fork out too much upfront.

As a shorter contract option, Tesco offer a 12 month contract - though you get 250 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data for just £25 a month, the upfront cost of the handset is £342. It does mean that you are not tied to a contract for too long though.

Meanwhile, Pay As You Go customers should beware - the PAYG iPhones is still fairly limited. As always, where there is no contract, the handset is expensive and, though it may seem cheaper than buying direct from Apple, unlocking charges often mean you're effectively paying full price.
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