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Retiring my iPhone 4

The time has finally come to wipe the data from my iPhone 4. It might seem strange to have such an attachment to a four-year old phone, but this was the first iOS device I had that was capable of enabling convincing creative output. In fact, the push-numbers-and-talk phone app was, and still is, the least interesting aspect of any iOS device for me.

As I wipe this phone, I’m thinking about some of the things I made on it.


For sure, my personal favorite creative use of the iPhone 4 was Forward Motion, which I made with Rowan O’Brien. We also shot a video for a Hank Williams remix together, and I shot this video called Loop Line not long after I got the phone.

None of these were edited on the phone, though I do think iOS devices are moving toward that level of power these days.


There were also the countless photos which were taken and edited on the iPhone 4. I printed a few earlier this year and they hang on the wall at イタチshelter. Whenever I’m asked what those photos were taken with, people are surprised when I tell them it was a phone.

To be sure, photography was a pleasure I discovered because of the iPhone 4. I’m sure many people have similar stories.


I didn’t use the phone for music so much. The device struggled to keep something like GarageBand working properly (so much waiting for “playback optimization”, as I think it was called).

I did use the built-in voice memo app for lo-if field recordings and quick notes on music ideas. It’s hard to overstate the benefit of having a good voice recorder handy.


I used the iPhone 4 for writing quite a bit, mainly in the Simplenote app, which syncs to all of my devices perfectly.

I also used the WordPress app to post directly to this site on occasions when the writing was done completely on the phone and the photos (taken and edited on the phone) were ready.


This one was a bit of a stretch, but about a year ago when I was getting into Processing, I used an iPhone app to create simple sketches in my free time. It was super laggy, but entertaining enough to try out what I was learning while sitting on a train.

I’m replacing my iPhone 4 with an iPad mini.In the last couple of days I’ve been asked by two people who I regularly plan events with how I intend to manage without a phone number.

I’ve actually been without a phone number for over a year now. The fact that they didn’t even notice tells me I’m doing something right on that front. My Pocket Wifi and iOS devices are serving me well.

I think the iPhone 4 was the first iOS device that truly offered the ability to create multimedia work that didn’t require a “made on mobile device” disclaimer. The work could stand on its own. Since the iPhone 4 was released four years have passed and the options for what we can make with these devices continues to expand. I’m looking forward to finding out what an iPad mini with an A7 processor can do. But first:

Goodbye, iPhone 4. You will be remembered fondly.

Retiring my iPhone 4
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