By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
June 23, 2010

Mossberg, Pogue and Baig all loved it. With reservations.

Wednesday’s papers will carry the first official reviews of Apple’s (AAPL) new iPhone 4. The usual suspects have been playing with the device for the last week or so and they are, for the most part, pleased. A sample of what they had to say:

The New York Times’ David Pogue: New iPhone Arrives, Rivals Beware

Despite the strong initial, positive reaction, this must still be a nerve-racking time to be Apple; the iPhone is no longer the only worthy contender. Phones running Google’s Android software are gaining rave reviews and packing in features that iPhone owners can only envy. The Android app store is ballooning, multiple phone makers are competing, and Google updates the software several times a year. Apple releases only one new model a year, so the new iPhone had better be pretty amazing to compete.

It is.

Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg: Thinner, Faster, Smarter iPhone Raises the Stakes

It has some downsides and limitations—most important, the overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S., which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor. I’ll get into that below. But, overall, Apple has delivered a big, well-designed update that, in my view, keeps it in the lead in the smartphone wars. …

Although it is the same weight as its predecessor, the iPhone 4 feels denser and tighter—more like a fine possession than a disposable gadget. It still looks like an iPhone, but it manages to make the 3GS appear bulbous by comparison.

USA Today‘s Edward Baig: Apple makes all the right calls on iPhone 4

Buyers won’t be disappointed. The killer feature is what Apple calls FaceTime video chat. The promise that you and the person you’re talking to on a phone can gaze into each other’s eyes dates back to when LBJ occupied the White House. … There are other iPhone 4 features worth crowing about: high-definition video recording, super-crisp display, a handsome and thin stainless steel and glass design. …

Cutting through the hype, Apple has given longtime diehards, and first-time iPhone owners, plenty to cheer about.

Want more? Check out the growing collection at Techmeme, starting with Joshua Topolsky’s at Engadget.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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