After all the dust has settled from the exciting (contrary to what you might be thinking, I say that with zero sarcasm) iPhone 4.0 announcement, I thought I would discuss the parts that exceeded my expectations, as well as those that disappointed. The thing is, to cover all 150 plus of the new user features announced would require a VERY long blog post, and my readers have been kind enough to provide feedback lately that shorter blog posts are preferable. So, I present to you a short summary, then a video of iPhone 4.0’s latest surprise.
So without doubt, the biggest announcement for most tech geeks and something I have been waiting for for a long time, is multitasking. I do not want to commit to anything, but this functionality might just be the thing to push me over the iPhone fence and leave BlackBerry territory. I also very much connected with the way Jobs presented it, that they were not the first at the party, since other platforms support multitasking for years (Symbian, BlackBerry, and Android kinda), but they will be the best at it. He compared it to the copy/paste saga on the first gen iPhone. “How did they leave that out” , we all asked, but when they finally added it, we saw they had implemented it to perfection, and looks like the background apps feature is going to be the same story, I am excited. However, one more thing is missing in order to make me throw my Bold out the window, the email experience, which leads me to the next point.
A unified email inbox. Something so simple that makes my BlackBerry email experience so unbeatable, until now when it was added to the iPhone. I still think the iPhone will have some room for improvement when it comes to email and competing with the BlackBerry, but the support for multiple Exchange accounts, as well as a unified inbox, threaded conversations, and the ability to open attachments in an email and have them display in the relevant app, these are some major improvements.
Moving along, just this week, I thought to myself that the whole app management system on the iPhone leaves much room for improvement. I have 9 home screens filled with apps, to find an app I use infrequently takes up a good few minutes of my precious time. Well, Apple seems to have solved that issue too with the addition of app folders. I know what you’re thinking. “Folders? C’mon, what is this, 1980?” Yes, it is true that other devices have had the ability to create folders for years, but none of them do it as well as iPhone 4.0 does. Once again, implemented to perfection. By the way, in case you were wondering, this brings the number of apps you can have on your iPhone from a measly 180 to a whopping 2,160.
There are many more new features that deserve a mention, such as iBooks, Game Center, iAds, and 1500 other new APIs, but I will stop here…
However, the thing that upset me about the new iPhone OS is that it will not be backward compatible with the first gen iPhone and the iPhone 3G. C’mon Apple, you are not making enough money? You have to force your customers to go ahead and throw out their old iPhones to enjoy a little backgrounding action? Not cool! Unless… Apple’s claims that these phones are not capable of supporting these new features are in fact true. Their weak processors cannot handle the burden of multitasking, Apple claims… Let’s go ahead and verify that claim…
Of course since the announcement of iPhone 4.0, the hacker community have been drinking a whole lot of coffee trying to crack the thing (or is it called Jailbreak in the fanboy community?), and see how far they can push the new OS. Well, one very smart hacker has succeeded in getting the 4.0 OS onto an iPhone 3G and you will see in the video below that it seems to work flawlessly. I guess Apple underestimated their own device… Either that or they are being greedy. Whatever the case may be, to be fair, I will say that this hacker got multitasking working with Apple apps such as Settings and Clock, which are significantly lighter on the resources than apps like GPS or even Facebook.
To sum up, the iPhone 4.0 OS seems like a very exciting step in the right direction, and the features cited by iPhone haters across the world as reasons to use BlackBerry or Android, are starting to disappear. I am still undecided whether I will go over to the dark side, but the new OS definitely increased the chances… Right now, the only things stopping me are the BlackBerry overall email experience, which now leads by a lot less, and of course, all the hours and days I spent arguing with friends on Twitter that the iPhone is a toy and not a business device. Seems the hundreds of people on the other side have managed to get to me, and I have never been known to be one who handles peer pressure very well… So, stay tuned, June 22nd, meet you back here!
P.S Was that short enough? Would love to hear your feedback in the comments.