iOS4: Thoughts & Review
What Apple Brings To The Table
The long awaited firmware update was released June 21st to the public via the usual iTunes update method. As a UK Apple user said, the update was made available at approximately 6:20pm and downloaded very fast (5 minutes). Some US users (as expected) had very slow download speeds as Apple's servers struggled with the amount of traffic connecting and some people even experienced speeds as slow as 100kbs.
I own both an iPhone 3G, 3G[S] and an iPod Touch 2G non-MC model. I first installed iOS4 on my 3G and instantly noticed how much smoother it ran, after syncing all apps and music I played further to find that multitasking and SpringBoard backgrounds were indeed not available. As expected Apple claimed that the device doesn't have enough RAM to handle it. The guys over at the iPhone Dev Team's blog disagreed (but I'll talk about that at the end). The OS itself bring hundreds of new features to the stale iPhone layout and enables more customization, such as an actual password on the unlock screen, a universal mailbox, automatic geotagging of photos, and much, much more. The lack of multitasking and SpringBoard wallpapers makes you feel like your parents prefer your brother (or sister) to you and therefore haven't treated you as well as they've treated them, giving them all the goodies.
Overall the new OS brings only a handful of handy things (to the 3G) that other phones (such as the Palm Pre, Nexus One and yes, even the LG Cookie) have had for a while.
When installed on the 3G[S] the new firmware really comes alive; it runs as smooth as the iPad and does have support for multitasking and SpringBoard wallpapers. Now for us CodeThemers, this is nothing special. But, when put in the hands of a non-themer this update seems like the iPhone has literally just got the functionality of phones dating back to when Nokia was king. Customizing wallpapers is very very old and has Apple's "smoke and mirror" effect as it makes you think "YES, FINALLY! IT'S NEW AND AWESOME" when it's actually been done on nearly every phone that has a color screen.
Now to multitasking.. It seems to work very well -- but only with a few native apps. For apps such as Angry Birds, all multitasking enables is slightly faster launch whereas with native apps like Photos or Contacts it leaves them running in the background (true multitasking). This isn't anything new either, as the jailbreak community have been "backgrounding" for a while now and if anything, Backgrounder is faster than Apple's take on multitasking. This feature was inspired by the jailbreak community and has done us no justice; this is merely a poor attempt at something 3rd party developers have already perfected.
Not much to say here, odds are you've already installed it and are playing around with it yourself. Just keep in mind what features are actually new and what features Apple is just catching up on.
The amazing guys in the iPhone Dev Team have already released a jailbreak for iPhone 3G & iPod Touch 2G (non-MC model) users which also enables mult-tasking and SpringBoard wallpapers for both devices. Multitasking on both devices runs perfectly smooth, so Apple not including them in their release for both devices seems trivial but I suppose they'll never get anything perfect. [http://blog.iphone-dev.org]