Took me a while. I did leave my name on lists and stuff. No one ever called me. My iPhone contract had even neatly expired at the beginning of September.

Luckily someone nice at Vodafone, unconnected to the store operations, tipped me off that some had arrived in the country, so I was waiting outside the Vodafone Queen St shop at 9am the next day. Along with at least 20 others. Twenty others, all ahead of me.

So either my nice contact at Vodafone has lots of friends, or there are others at Vodafone letting people know, or they have secret sources or something.

Or the store actually rang people on their lists, although I find this hard to believe. I've never actually heard of that happening (could be wrong of course).

Apparently Apple doesn't even tell Vodafone iPhones are coming, or how many to expect ... they just arrive. The Queen St shop had about 80, I heard a staff member say. They seemed as perplexed by it all as everyone else. Not to say they didn't handle the queue with polite aplomb - they did.

I waited an hour, as the line shuffled slowly forwards, in patient but steady spirit. Then, finally, I had my iPhone 4, all converted to the micro-SIM.

I know this is old news to many readers, as you already have yours. I am relieved to have finally joined your company.

Why? Coz it's bloody great, that's why! It's faster, the display is gorgeous ... the plan is way better than the old one, too, thank goodness, for the same price.

And I have solved the mystery of the dropped calls, because it's been happening to me. I have dropped two, which is a very high proportion considering I have only used yer actual phoning about 20 times since I got it. And this would be a scandal, you would think - ten per cent of calls 'dropped'.

But I have to disappoint. Read on.

It's all the fault of the case, you see. It's true. Because I haven't got one. So I have dropped the phone, during calls. Literally.

Luckily not from a great height, and not onto concrete. And because it's all shiny and slippery.

I need that rubbery case, like my 3GS had. I never dropped the 3GS.

And I could have bought a case, but whoever gets anything from Apple for free? So I ordered one via the gratis Case Program app, since the program ends 30th September. I have to wait till it arrives so the nice rubberosity (yes, I made the word up) of the case keeps it snug in my pocket and in my eager hands.

Looking forward to that.

Images are definitely better, at more like 1.6MBs each instead of around 500-850K. That's 2592x1936 at 72 per inch compared to 2048x1536; images seem clear and sharp, and the 4's little flash is very handy.

But the best thing, apart from snappier performance (it's about 30 per cent faster than my 3GS), is the battery life. I'm literally getting two days from a charge instead of one for the same usage.

Another huge benefit to the family has been what I did with the 'old' 3GS. I just reset it, then slipped my partner's pre-pay SIM into it.

Wow, it's like she has finally been liberated from cell phone tyranny. Her texts are now long, more contextual, accurately spelled - and she's loving all the apps that come with it; being able to look up a date instantly, or the fact that all her Address Book details went onto it immediately, having a map, being able to take pictures. She actually checks her phone gleefully now, instead of with trepidation.

I know, all those things can be done with other smartphones too - but honestly, who cares? Certainly not us. We appreciate the synchronisation with our Macs. Slight and imperceptible niggles about tiny technical details that 'other' brands excel at ... they just pall into utter insignificance, I'm afraid. Sorry. We really don't care.

My partner is a long-term Apple user herself, professionally, but even she is shocked at how immediately useful and great the iPhone is.

And the teenager is also smiling. She got the hand-me-down iPod touch, now surplus to requirements.

All good, thanks Apple, for making such great devices.

Apps are good, too

NZ On Screen is a new online showcase of New Zealand television, film and music video. On the NZ On Screen website you can view full length programmes or excerpts from hundreds of iconic NZ productions straight from the app, which boots them into Safari.

This free iPhone application keeps you updated about what's new on the website - you just touch a picture on a selection from the application's 'recently added' listing. Then you can watch the video or find out more information, as seconds later you're on the site.

Developer Sandy Mamoli told me she had "been working with NZ On Screen as a Scrum Master for their web development team in the past, and developed their internal workflow and content management system.

"We had talked about creating an iPhone application, and I was keen to try my hand at some new programming. They agreed to give me a chance to be creative and we decided that the RSS 'What's New' feed was a perfect opportunity."

The original version of the app was pretty basic.

"It was essentially a pretty rendition of the 'What's New' feed. At that time the site was running videos through a flash player, so it didn't make sense to take it any further.

However, in July this year NZ On Screen released an HTML5 version of their site which runs on iPhone and iPad devices, and so I updated the app to version two, which has just been released, and incorporates links through to the site where users can view the videos directly."

It looks good and works well - a nice example of leveraging good site content into a neat and effective app.

- Mark Webster mac-nz.com