The new iOS4 is not just for Apple’s iPhone 4. The new features get much more out of iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch hardware
The updated iPhone OS, now known as iOS 4, adds a lot of new features to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. In particular,m it now pushes the iPhone 3GS hardware to its limits.
Your mileage may vary when upgrading devices with new software – and that certainly seems to hold true for early adopters of iOS 4, which became available for download on 21 June. After experimenting with the new features for a couple of days, I’m ready to label my experience with iOS 4 as “relatively painless.”
Easy download – let’s look at the multitasking
Although some reports indicated that customers were experiencing problems when downloading the OS update, I must have been one of the lucky ones, as my download of iOS 4 (for an iPhone 3GS) at high noon of release day passed without incident. Because I’m the cautious type, I’d made sure the phone was fully charged, and that there was nothing on the device that I couldn’t easily replace.
Apple is playing up the multitasking features of iOS 4, which only work on the iPhone 3GS and the latest iteration of the iPod Touch (and on the new iPhone 4, of course), but it’s going to be the applications themselves that determine whether multitasking is useful. Depending on exactly what functions an application uses, taking full advantage of multitasking may be as simple as a recompilation or difficult enough to require a complete reworking.
The 5x digital zoom for photographs taken by the camera of the iPhone 3G and 3GS may be welcomed by some, but in reality, it doesn’t accomplish much. After all, digital zoom in effect stretches what was already an image of mediocre quality, creating a close-up that looks to my eyes like I left my glasses at home. Users of the video camera mode on these devices will appreciate the ability to focus the camera by simply tapping the screen.
All users of updated devices will like the enhanced mail client, which includes a unified inbox and message threading. I was able to easily set up multiple Exchange e-mail accounts that were fed by an Exchange 2007 server in the eWEEK lab; Exchange 2010 support is also included in this release.