back to Screen-Friendly page

Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Apple’s iPhone 4: More Smartphones Ask for Smarter Users


By Kevin K. Ho, Esq., Law Offices of John T. Hendricks

Apple’s signature iPhone debuted on mobile carrier Verizon Wireless’ network in early February to much anticipation.

Apple modified the current version of the smartphone, the iPhone 4, to work on Verizon’s wireless network. Previously, AT&T had an exclusive right to market the iPhone in the U.S. since its release in 2007. The modified model became Verizon’s most popular phone launch ever.

Noting better customer service and reception, San Francisco-based IP attorney Chad Woodford, a long-time iPhone user, switched from AT&T to Verizon after the Verizon launch.

“As an iPhone customer on AT&T since day one and a San Francisco resident for that whole time, switching to Verizon was like a breath of fresh air,” Woodford said. “I can make and receive calls (and send and receive data) from more locations in the Bay Area, more reliably. Overall, it’s been a great experience and I am very happy that I made the switch.”

The Verizon iPhone doesn’t allow simultaneous data transmission during a voice call like AT&T’s version does. But Woodford notes this is made up for by another feature unique to Verizon’s version where the iPhone can act as a wireless hotspot allowing mobile laptop computer access to the Internet. Woodford says this makes his “portable lifestyle” much more productive.

Retired San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren, currently a JAMS arbitrator, said he had “strong feelings” about smartphones in the courtroom.

“I didn’t care if lawyers had them, as long as they didn’t use them during court proceedings, or at least not without the court’s permission,” Warren said.

For example, Warren suggested one of the only acceptable times to use a phone is to find relevant information online that answers a judge’s question.

“If your phone is in your pocket and it vibrates, I challenge the most disciplined of you not to take a peek to see what’s there, even if you don’t intend to respond to it,” Warren said. “This is distractive to the court. It detracts from your own presentation, and it is downright rude.”

Warren cited distraction, as his main reason for instituting a policy during his judgeship that anyone found using a cell phone during session would forfeit it until the session was done.

“That was my policy years ago when phones were dumber,” he said. “I see no reason to let their increased brainpower drive a change in policy. But then, I’m just a hard nose.”

While Verizon has yet to release sales figures, market analysts estimate that Verizon has already sold 1 million iPhones in just one month. And according to Apple’s latest earnings report, AT&T has activated five million iPhone 4’s. With most analysts predicting the iPhone 5 to be released by summer’s end, the era of the smartphone is here to stay.


Kevin K. Ho is Of Counsel with the Law Offices of John T. Hendricks in San Francisco where he specializes in advising clients on legal issues with social networking and new technology. He is also a real estate broker at Vanguard Properties and a mediator as well.

Our partners at BASFAhern Insurance Brokerage